‘And Just Like That …’ Season 2, Episodes 1 and 2 Recap: Relationship Place

0
A man and a woman sit in bed at night in the glow of a laptop

And just like that … everybody’s getting laid. We’ve got casual Thursday sex. We’ve got hot married sex. We’ve got queer sex. We’ve got “things are going so great it’s time to meet your family” sex.

From the jump, Season 2 of the “Sex and the City” sequel “And Just Like That …,” the first two episodes of which arrived Thursday on MAX, makes no bones about the boning. The racy montage that serves as its opening scene is clear on one thing: This will not be another sullen season. The bereaved Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) of Season 1, who was unexpectedly widowed in the series premiere, is moving on by way of “exit out of grief” sex, and she is taking along her now-expanded friend group on what is being set up to be a more feel-good, frolicsome season.

Unless, of course, Carrie has to say the word “vagina,” in which case all bets are off. More on that later.

Season 2 greets the audience with a more authentically ensemble cast. The core crew — Carrie, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) — remain key players, but screen time is more evenly divided between them and the newer friends: Che (Sara Ramirez), Seema, (Sarita Choudhury), Nya (Karen Pittman) and Lisa (Nicole Ari Parker). The first two episodes set the stage for more robust story lines for all of these characters, as well as a deepening of the friendships among them.

Case in point: Carrie barely bats an eye when she calls Che for advice about her new situationship, only to learn that her old pal Miranda is fumbling around with a strap-on in the background. If those three have that level of comfort among them, there’s closeness.

Carrie isn’t as interested in input on her dating life from her old standbys Charlotte and Miranda because she already knows what they’ll say. Che, however, is in a unique position to advise Carrie because they (Che is nonbinary and uses plural pronouns) are familiar with Carrie’s new bedfellow, who is also her podcast producer, Franklyn (Ivan Hernandez).

If you wondered whether the producer Carrie kissed in the elevator at the very end of Season 1 might stick around, he did! At least he did for three weeks, which is, we’re told, how much time has elapsed since the series left off.

In Episode 1, Carrie has taken a shine to Franklyn enough to sleep with him and watch cooking shows every Thursday after they record her podcast, but not enough to invite him to the “Met Ball” (which is obviously the Met Gala in disguise for some reason), for which plus ones are batted around like pingpong balls for the whole 45 minutes.

Carrie also isn’t sure that she is ready to move her romance with Franklyn to the “relationship place.” He invites her to meet his friends on a Tuesday, and she agrees but immediately wavers, hence the call to Che. Che knows Franklyn but doesn’t know what’s going on inside his “man head,” as Che puts it. Alas, Che is little help.

Meanwhile, Seema actually gives up her Met Ball ticket in order to meet the son of her beau, Zed (William Abadie). This step forward with Zed is important enough to her, apparently, to also be OK with meeting his ex-wife, Victoire (Rachel Kylian), who informs her that Zed still lives in her house.

This isn’t the only love interest we come to find still has a problematic tie to a former spouse. Over on the West Coast, Miranda finds herself stranded in Malibu without a phone to call an Uber. Che sends Lyle (Oliver Hudson) to pick up Miranda, and whoops! Has Che never mentioned being still legally married to that guy?

What might be most wild about this story line is that Miranda is talked out of being miffed by it in a matter of minutes. Che shrugs it off as no biggie, and all it takes is a few kisses for Miranda to forget the whole thing. This is the same woman who walked out on a man at a comedy club in the original series when she found out her date was separated, but not divorced, from his wife.

Which brings me to an argument I made throughout Season 1, which most people disagreed with me on. But I’m sticking to it: So much of who Miranda is now and what she does seem out of character because she has never been hit this hard by love. Che is the “core shaker” none of her other partners — including her ex-husband, Steve Brady (David Eigenberg) — ever were, which has softened Miranda in a way many of us never thought we would see. Our self-sufficient queen never worried before that she couldn’t make it on her own. But for the first time, she has something to lose. It shows.

Conversely, we discover that Nya has perhaps been holding onto something she should have lost a long time ago. She catches her husband, Andre Rashad (LeRoy McClain), writing songs in a hotel room with a hat-wearing ingénue, but he tells Nya he hasn’t cheated on her “yet.” If that’s not vomit-inducing enough, he says that Nya has one last shot to prevent it by using a surrogate to have his baby.

Nya wastes absolutely no time exorcising him from their apartment.

And it’s not the only swift pack-up we see within these episodes.

Carrie is asked to read an ad for a vaginal wellness company, and she just can’t stomach it. She hates all the icky language and simply can’t bring herself to talk about issues “down there.” She insists on reworking the copy.

The clownery that ensues around this plot point cannot be overstated. First of all, a vaginal wellness product as a sponsor for her podcast is entirely on brand. The idea that Carrie would be so thrown by the pairing is absurd.

That she and Franklyn task themselves with rewriting the copy instead of simply asking some lackey on the marketing team to request a less geriatric word for “suppository” is a colossal waste of their time. That Carrie, you know, the sex writer, has to call multiple sources to ask what words they use for “vagina” — and that Franklyn feels it necessary to download Final freaking Draft to punch up a few lines of text that could easily have been edited on a napkin — brings this whole sequence to a level of buffoonery we’ve not seen since Kim Cattrall’s Samantha graced us with “Lawrence of my labia.”

The most ridiculous thing the audience is asked to believe, though, is that Carrie’s refusal simply to read this copy out loud is the final straw that collapses the entire podcast empire. That’s it. That one ad didn’t pan out, and the whole company crumbles. The Sex and the City podcast is no more, and with it, the Thursday night sessions with Franklyn die off as well.

Maybe it’s for the best, though, for us, as viewers. Carrie has a blank slate now, both personally and professionally. No job, no man, but plenty of financial stability and freedom to do whatever she wants. It’s exciting to think about where that might take her with no chance of running back to the late Mr. Big (Chris Noth). Especially for the Aidan stans among us.

  • I’m a little worried about Seema and her apparent willingness to run back to men who are so mean to her. It took a mere five texts from Zed to convince her to give him another chance after lying by omission about his home life. And after one bad blowout at another salon, she returns to her emotionally abusive hair stylist with a bottle of tequila and a mea culpa. Please talk to your therapist, Seema! There’s a troubling pattern here.
  • The occasional hot eight minutes aside, could trouble be brewing for Lisa and her husband, Herbert (Chris Jackson)? Herbert seems to find his wife’s career ambitions inconvenient, which is likely to annoy her pretty quickly.
  • Season 2 seems to be taking particular care to be inclusive on more than just a surface level. The first season introduced principal characters of color to the franchise for the first time but took heavy fire for what critics perceived as racial and queer tokenism. This season, it appears that at least some of the Black characters’ story lines are being written with a bit more awareness about the challenges specific to many Black Americans. In one example, Herbert and Lisa frantically fix their daughter’s hair in hopes of meeting the antiquated ideals of Herbert’s mother; in another, Herbert is ignored by successive taxis and is reprimanded by his mother for playing into an “angry Black man” stereotype. It remains to be seen how thoughtfully the show will navigate these issues in future episodes, but the shift so far signals at least an attempt to course-correct after the missteps of Season 1.
  • Here I am, at the last bullet point, finally talking about Charlotte. Once again, her character is kind of an afterthought. Charlotte has fulfilled an important role over the years, representing a population of women who prioritize children and family above career. But to me, that role has outlived its usefulness. It has been years since we’ve seen Charlotte consider the world outside of her immediate family; sadly, the biggest conflict she faces in these first two episodes is whether or not she can get some kid-size Chanel dress back. Let’s not forget that Charlotte was once a boss in the art world. I keep waiting for that dormant side of her to awaken.

read more…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *