‘And Just Like That’ Episode 1 Ended with a Shock—But It Probably Just Saved the Series
*Warning: major spoilers ahead*
It's been more than ten years since the second (and oh-so-disappointing) Sex and the City movie was released in theaters. But the gals—minus Samantha—are finally back with a brand-new revival, And Just Like That..., on HBO Max.
And Just Like That episode one dropped during the wee hours of the morning, along with episode two. And for any fans like myself who were quick to stream the first installment before the start of the work day, you know your SATC world has been shooketh.
I'm of course talking about the almost unbelievable twist ending to episode one. You know, when Carrie's only voiceover of the episode announces, "And just like that, Big died." What, what, WHAT?!
The final scene obviously brought tears to my eyes as a stunned Carrie rushed across her bathroom to cradle a dying Big. But once the tears were dry and my morning coffee had kicked in (no, I don't keep mine in the freezer...), I realized something: Big's death was absolutely the best thing that could possibly happen to the series.
As my And Just Like That...a Sex and the City Reboot Podcast co-host Dara Katz and I discuss at length in our first episode of the pod dropping today, first episode here and below, please subscribe, you know you want to), it was actually pretty jarring to see Carrie and Big just so happy and so in love for the majority of the episode. They were singing, they were dancing, they were cooking together. Who were these two? Where was the indecisive and emotionally stunted Mr. Big? Where was the drama? (Well, we finally got that drama in the last few minutes...) But this entire take on their relationship seemed so counter to everything we knew about them from the original series. As anyone who saw the second movie knows, it's just not sustainable or interesting to watch them "happy." Is it what I want for them? Yes. Is it good TV? No.
As an alternative, HBO could have gone the opposite direction, immediately thrusting us back into their turbulent love affair that saw everything from Big showing up in Paris to Carrie beating Big with a bouquet after being stood up at her wedding. Better TV? Sure. But do we really want to rehash the same old story lines from the late '90s and early aughts?
The solution is quite clear (even if I didn't see it coming until about 30 seconds into that awkward montage of Lily playing the piano and Big riding his Peloton). Big had to go to clear the way for Carrie to have a new story and a new chapter.
After all, isn't that the whole point of the revival? These women speak repeatedly about having changed (or evolved) since their thirties. This (massively upsetting) loss now frees Carrie up to actually show us how she's changed, as a newly widowed woman in her fifties. Aside from this being a very real and very tragic thing that some spouses go through, this also gives Carrie the opportunity to live out another very real experience: trying to find love (again) in your fifties.
As a lover of love and a lover of happy endings, I never wanted Big to die. And I never wanted to see Carrie in such emotional pain at the loss of her true love. But as a lover of good TV and as someone who wants to see what's next for Carrie, this is honestly the best thing that could have happened.
Well played, HBO.