This post contains spoilers for And Just Like That Season 2, Episode 2.
When And Just Like That snapped its fingers and added a few non-white friends to Carrie and company’s crew in 2021, it felt a little sudden. After all, Sex and the City barely included any Black women during its entire run. The show’s most memorable Asian character was Sum, a live-in “servant” (Samantha’s words) who spoke in broken English and whose name appears to have been chosen solely to set up the racist pun, “She wasn’t so dim, that Sum.” And Just Like That seems intent on examining identity more closely than its predecessor did, even if the results are imperfect.
While Carrie spends this week fretting over how to advertise a vaginal suppository, and Miranda struggles to find her groove in California, Nicole Ari Parker’s documentarian character Lisa Todd Wexley braces for the arrival of her dreaded mother-in-law—a proud North Carolina woman who’s all about appearances. Lisa chafes at the demand that she braid her daughter’s hair so that she can look like a “proper” young lady, and she bites her tongue when Mommy Dearest insults her outfit. But then, in a surprise reversal, Lisa finds herself nodding in agreement with her mother-in-law’s scolding of her husband, Herbert, for slamming his fists on the hood of a taxi cab that refused to pick him up because of his race.
“You know the rules—when we go off, they win,” Lisa tells her husband. “So you have to keep it in check. Because if you pound on the wrong car, and they take you away… she’s gonna find a way to blame me.”
Parker lowers her voice at the end of the line, accentuating the punchline. Then the moment ends, and the show moves on… to a Che Diaz comedy show.
Although it’s easy to imagine why Lisa might not jump on the phone to talk through this experience with her lily-white friends, her isolation in this moment makes its broader significance hard to understand.
A hallmark of Sex and the City and And Just Like that is the postmortem phone call; these chats often bind episodes’ disparate story lines together, as characters process their experiences with one another. But Lisa has no such person to call in this series, which keeps her and her family in a bubble, with no real connections outside of Charlotte. She also has no Black friends of her own that we know of. The experience stays with her and her husband alone, while everyone else goes about their lives.
Miranda’s professor friend Nya, at least, gets the chance to vent about her rocky marriage, as she prepares to break things off with her estranged husband. But as it happens, Miranda’s partner, the seemingly inescapable comedian Che Diaz, is also dealing with some frustrations this week—and those, it seems, are harder for Miranda to hear. Che has finally gotten their own sitcom, but it’s getting way too “cute,” as the network sands their rougher edges. Tony Danza, of all people, is playing their Mexican father—until he backs out, because he’s “come too far to get canceled now,” resulting in more re-writes to TV “Che’s” identity. The show might be called ¿Che Pasa?, but the actual Che seems to feel more removed from it every day.
Like Lisa, however, Che seems to be dealing with their problems more or less in a vacuum. After uprooting her life to live with Che in California, Miranda is both supportive and insecure. She’s thrilled for her new partner’s success, but she’s also too preoccupied with her own fears about the relationship to really listen to Che’s frustrations about the idea of Tony Danza playing their father. Frankly, it’s hard to blame Miranda; the sex might’ve been good at first, but if we’re being honest, were these two ever really “good” for one another?
On the one hand, I’m thrilled that Miranda has found a life outside practicing law; every time I’ve watched that episode of Sex and the City where she tells her partners at the firm that she’d need to “cut down” to 50 to 55 hours a week, a part of my soul died for her. On the other, does the life she’s building with Che look particularly fulfilling? Do they spend any real time together? When Che interrupted Miranda mid-cunnilingus to rush to work on their TV pilot, I have to say, another part of my soul retreated from this world forever.
Miranda also resurrects her bucket hat era in this episode, by volunteering to clean up a beach—and then, because nothing can apparently go right for her, she loses her phone. And who does Che send to pick her up? Three words no one ever wants to hear: secret ex-husband.
Apparently, Che and their ex are both so lazy that they never bothered to get a divorce—and while the comedian might shrug the whole thing off as no big deal, Miranda is clearly (rightfully) questioning some of her choices. I’ll just say it: Did we really leave Steve behind for this!??!!?
Does Miranda have a real part to play in Che’s universe, or has she acted out her biggest fear and given away her power? I can’t help but wonder…
Like Miranda, Charlotte is also learning to deal with disappointment this week, as her daughter, Lily, sells off all her couture clothes to buy a keyboard and sing about her life in a gilded cage. (Cue the “Lillie Eilish” joke here.) Poor Char goes full-on Karen on an unfortunate, very apathetic cashier at the resale store “The Real Deal,” but eventually she figures out (with a little help from Carrie) that her kids are going to grow into whoever they want to be. All she can do is accept it, while treasuring the memories of Chanel dresses in her heart.
And as for Carrie? She’s also learning to let go—of her pride. She’s supposed to record an ad for a vaginal suppository, but she can’t seem to stomach the idea of talking about dry cooches on air. (How is this woman a sex columnist, again?) Then the problem solves itself with a shocking twist: Her podcast gets canceled. “Sex and the City” (the podcast, at least) might be gone forever.
We’ve been here before, of course. When Carrie moved to Paris in SATC Season 6 to live with “the Russian,” Aleksandr Petrovsky, she voluntarily chose to end her “Sex and the City” column. Now, like then, she’s asking herself whether it’s worth holding on to the brand she built for decades. But unlike last time, it appears she might be ready to let it go on her own terms. Carrie’s Paris move was foolish from the start—largely because, as Miranda pointed out, she was obviously doing it for a (shitty) guy. This time, however, when she says she’s “not sure if it’s me anymore,” you can tell she actually means it. And when she says goodbye to both her podcast and her hot producer in the end, she seems actually at peace with it. …And that is what we call growth.