HBO Max’s ‘And Just Like That…’ — the much-awaited reboot of ‘Sex and the City’ — explores a post-pandemic New York City wherein the trio, comprising Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte York-Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis), and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), tackles the highs and lows of being in their 50s. With Michael Parker King and others holding the reins, the limited revival series re-explores the raunchy conversations, hard truths, and messy personal and professional affairs that make the original series so popular.
As we delve into Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda’s middle-aged lives, we discover their new relationships, ventures, and opinions. The glaring absence of Samantha is almost immediately touched upon; however, the biggest shock comes towards the end of the episode, wherein one of the most important characters in the show meets with an unfortunate and untimely death. If you are in need of a recap and ending explainer for ‘And Just Like That…’ episode 1, then you’ve come to the right place. SPOILERS AHEAD.
And Just Like That…Episode 1 Recap
The episode opens with Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda waiting for a table at a restaurant. They run into Bitsy von Muffling, who inquires about the “fourth musketeer,” Samantha. The trio explains Samantha’s whereabouts. During their meal, the women update each other about their lives and ruminate over their age — Miranda is all set to begin school, Carrie is guest-starring in a podcast, and Charlotte is busy establishing a friendship with Lisa Todd Wexley, a documentarian and the mother of Lily’s classmate, Henry. Then, Charlotte convinces Carrie to postpone her plans to go to the Hamptons with Mr. Big in favor of attending Lily’s piano recital.
Afterward, Charlotte goes home with the Oscar de la Renta dresses she bought for her daughters, Lily and Rose. Whilst Lily is ready to wear a gown for her recital, the tomboyish Rose throws a tantrum over her dress. Carrie returns home to Mr. Big; they put his favorite song on the record player, a ritual they established during the lockdown, and happily prepare dinner together.
On Miranda’s first day at school, she makes a faux pas in front of her professor, a Black woman named Dr. Nya Wallace, by mistaking her as a student due to her long braids. She makes the situation worse by rambling about her misjudgment and insisting that she isn’t trying to target Dr. Nya’s race. Later, we see Carrie conversing with Che Diaz, her boss and a nonbinary stand-up comedian, and Jackie Nee, another comedian, for the “X, Y, and Me” podcast. However, Carrie’s inability to openly talk about masturbation forces Che to tell her to loosen up if she wishes to continue with the podcast.
Miranda comes across Dr. Nya in the subway and tries to again explain her efforts to be more sensitive about race. Meanwhile, Carrie, determined to follow Che’s advice, asks Mr. Big to masturbate in front of her. The next day, Carrie decides to wear her wedding shoes to Lily’s recital. At the Manhattan School for Music, Carrie meets the rest of her gang as well as their families. Steve is seen with a hearing aid and Rose has layered her dress with boyish items of clothing. Meanwhile, Anthony is mad at Stanford for being late.
And Just Like That…Episode 1 Ending: Is Mr. Big Dead?
Henry performs badly during the recital, much to the horror of Lisa and her mother-in-law, Eunice. We cut to Mr. Big, who is enthusiastically exercising on his Peloton bike at home. Back at the recital, Miranda and Steve get annoyed when Brady starts making out with his girlfriend Luisa. Afterward, Lily plays the piano splendidly. Then, Carrie receives a text from Mr. Big informing her that they can go to the beach at night. However, we see how Mr. Big, still at home, collapses in the shower after sending the text, suffering from a massive heart attack.
Carrie returns home and finds Mr. Big on the floor. As she holds him in her arms, she realizes that her husband has passed away. Carrie’s voice-over states, “And just like that, Big died.” Thus, Mr. Big, known to have heart problems in the past, dies after over-exerting himself on the Peloton bike, leaving Carrie a widow.
Where is Samantha? Why is She Not With Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda?
Right at the beginning of the episode, Bitsy questions Samantha’s absence. Charlotte says “she’s no longer with us” but Miranda quickly clarifies that their fourth friend isn’t dead. Then, Carrie reveals that Samantha has moved to London for work.
Later, Carrie and Miranda talk about Samantha and how she refuses to stay in touch. “You know, it is kind of like she’s [Samantha] dead. We never even talk about her,” Miranda confesses. Carrie, who is a writer, explains how the changing book business resulted in her dropping Samantha as her publicist. “She [Samantha] said fine and dropped me as a friend,” sighs Carrie, whilst Miranda blames Samantha’s pride.
Thus, Kim Cattrall’s absence in the show is explained using Samantha’s flighty nature and hurt ego, brought about by her best friend’s decision to stop employing her services as a publicist. Thus, the trio continues to live in New York City whilst Samantha decides to live out the rest of her life in the UK.
What Happens To Carrie During Che’s Podcast?
During Che’s podcast, Carrie grows uncomfortable at how casually the host and Jackie talk about private and public masturbation. Although she tries to keep up by making a raunchy joke, it is obvious that she’s out of her element since she almost derails Che and Jackie’s easy banter. Later, Che approaches Carrie and says that she needs to “step her pussy up.”
Emphasizing how Carrie used to write a sex column in the 1990s, Che asks her to surprise her own self and engage in more dialogue during the podcast. Thus, we see that Carrie is exploring modern avenues to put her writing talents to use but is unable to keep up with the casualness with which sex and related activities are talked about. Although she is easily able to flesh out relationship advice, sex-related opinions, and mature jokes on paper, Carrie finds it hard to actually talk about them in real-time to a large audience. However, she loves her podcast job and so begins to change her perspective about and behavior pertaining to the graphic yet familiar topics covered by Che and their guests.
Why is Miranda Going to School? How Does Miranda Mess Up During Dr. Nya’s Class?
Miranda decides to go to school in order to pursue a Master’s degree in Human Rights which complements her law degree. Having been in corporate law for 30 years, Miranda now wants to contribute to society and work for minorities who are discriminated against every single day. Although she is nervous about being an older lady in a room full of youngsters, she is determined to use her existing skills and learn new ones for the betterment of others.
However, it is apparent that Miranda belongs to a different generation, one that isn’t familiar with the intricacies of microaggressions, cultural appropriation, political correctness, and casual racism. When she mistakenly assumes that Dr. Nya, a Black law professor, is a student, she immediately cites her braided hair as the reason for her misjudgment. Then, she rambles on about how she’s not attacking her race but is simply pointing out that Dr. Nya’s photo on the university website features her with short hair.
Eventually, Miranda shuts up, aware that she is being seen as a clueless white lady blind to the troubles faced by those not as privileged as her. However, Dr. Nya, mildly annoyed, brushes past the issue, acknowledging that she indeed is rocking a Halle Berry haircut in her university photo. It is obvious that Miranda needs to, and also is trying to, acknowledge her own privilege and find better ways to communicate with diverse individuals; Dr. Nya recognizes her effort to change and lets the faux pas slide. Clearly, if Miranda wishes to work in the field of human rights then she needs to be more in tune with the times. It is a good sign that she has already begun the process of changing her worldviews.