And Just Like That is certainly a show that knows how to put its audience through the wringer. While the show started as a confounding continuation to Sex and the City, rife with too many new characters, unrelatable plot lines, and cringey dialogue, it has begun to show signs of life that make it almost feel like it might be able to capture the spark of the original series! Season two has definitely shown some improvement over the void of charisma that was season one, and certainly seemed to be trying to incorporate fan feedback to improve things, but there were still some places the show continued to fall flat. Now that the show has been confirmed for a third season, we know that this finale isn’t the end for these characters but a chance for another new beginning. So here’s our take on And Just Like That’s season two finale, what worked and what missed the mark, and that Samantha Jones cameo.
Chapter 1: The Good, The Bad, And The Cringey
Watching And Just Like That has been a bit of a rollercoaster, going from trudging along and feeling nothing like the show we loved, to hitting great highs that really felt like they were getting back the magic that made the original show special, and then right back down into cringey mess. There absolutely have been attempts to improve season two that have worked very well: the new characters actually getting storylines so that we actually get to know them and they don’t just feel like accessories for the main cast; bringing some levity and, y’know, sex back into the city; and, most importantly, finally getting our main trio back on track to feeling like the characters we know know and love. There are situations that feel earned, cathartic, and true to the original series, like Charlotte going back to work, rejecting her husband and children’s neediness for her, and being unafraid to finally focus on herself. And then there are the headscratchers, like Anthony comparing a sexual problem to Stanford… becoming a Shinto monk.
The series does still manage to feel surprisingly stilted and awkward at times. Many of the attempts to add diversity still feel like the writers are checking off boxes instead of really trying to incorporate these characters and ideas into the world of the show. And the dialogue sometimes feels more like it was written by ChatGPT by way of Twitter than actual adult humans having a conversation. And while the characters of the original show certainly enjoyed nice things, in And Just Like That the characters are so immensely wealthy as to feel unrelatable, and there seems to be a concerning assumption that something being expensive or fancy automatically means it’s good. While much of the original show was about dating and love, for much of And Just Like That’s run it unfortunately seemed like the show felt that no woman could ever be happy without a man. Like Nya, who is generally confident and has a great career, feels deflated because she… doesn’t have a man to share a career win with, and only later becomes excited when she finally does find a new guy. Though the very end of the finale did finally seem to see the show moving away from this lame trope.
One of the most disappointing let downs at the end of this season was how the show decided to handle a sensitive topic like abortion. When Lisa Todd Wexley has an unplanned pregnancy while her career is taking off and her husband is running for office, she considers getting an abortion. But in an incredibly regressive move, she and her husband don’t even say the word out loud and then glibly make reference to the abortion rights movement. Then the writers have Lisa have a miscarriage that conveniently gets rid of the pregnancy without her having to actually make a decision about whether or not to get an abortion. This feels odd when contrasted with a Sex and the City episode that aired over twenty years ago, where getting an abortion like Miranda was considering, back when she and Steve were not in a solid relationship and she was focused on her career, wasn’t spoken about in hushed, disappointed tones. On the contrary, it was discussed at brunch, with jokes. Miranda ends up keeping the baby, her son Brady, but not before she goes to her doctor and makes her own choice, rather than a deus ex machina miscarriage like Lisa. A miscarriage storyline isn’t in and of itself a problem – it’s something that many women go through and that isn’t talked about nearly enough – but having it happen seemingly only so that the writers don’t have to have the character seriously consider an abortion feels like a cop out. While show creator Michael Patrick King thinks that due to Lisa and Herbert’s upbringings that they personally might not want to say the word “abortion” according to his interview in Variety, it feels like cowardice on the show’s part at a time where the right to have an abortion is being stripped away as we speak, to not even utter the word. Importantly, though, in the season finale Lisa does grapple with something that many women feel when they lose a pregnancy but that often isn’t spoken about: guilt. The scene sees her coming to terms with the loss, with her husband assuring her that she has nothing to feel guilty about.
Chapter 2: A Journey Towards Stability
Though the show is certainly still filled with inconsistencies and weird moments, as it’s continued to find its way we have seen an increase in situations that feel grounded in reality and fun. The show will likely never fully recapture the magic of Sex and the City, but it is finding ways to create its own spark. The finale saw the main trio at last returning to some semblance of the characters we know and love and the new characters continuing to grow into their own individual beings, no longer trapped just being accessories to Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte.
Miranda is finally out of her Che Diaz-induced stupor and feeling like Miranda again. She comes to realize that she shouldn’t automatically shut every ex out of her life and makes amends with Steve, something viewers (and Brady!) have been waiting for since the beginning of And Just Like That. She even has a heart to heart with Che at Carrie’s dinner, where they agree to remain cordial since they’ll still be seeing one another around. But most Miranda of all, her drive for her career is back – she gets to appear on the BBC in place of her boss, and after seasons of Miranda feeling listless and lost, it seems like we might finally be getting confident and focused Miranda back on our screens next season. Charlotte is owning her work life and standing up to her family. And while her character has certainly had some changes from the original show (now being much more open about sex, for example,) she does still feel like the same Park Ave princess she always was but that has been changed by time and experiences and not necessarily just by writers trying to shoehorn in modern “updates” to the show. Both Miranda and Charlotte returning to the careers they love also feels like a return to form for the show, since finding empowerment through your career was an important part of Sex and the City.
The finale also sees the other characters finding their own paths to happiness, or at least some kind of stability. Nya the foodie has potentially found love with a Michelin chef and Seema, Che, and Anthony, are all exploring new ways to love themselves, whether it be by taking their relationships to the next level, or learning more about themselves. As the show has found its own type of stability, so too have the characters– and the majority of the characters end the season in much calmer places than when we found them.
One thing that fans had missed from the original show was Carrie’s voice overs that provided context to the happenings of each episode and some insight into what was really going on in Carrie’s head. And in the finale, she finally does deliver a very Sex and the City voiceover-esque monologue on letting go of expectations. Hopefully this is a sign that the writers have heard fan’s complaints about missing Carrie’s spiels and that we’ll be getting them back in season three!
One stabilizing force this season has been Aidan’s return. It’s not just that John Corbett is a familiar face and a fan favorite boyfriend from Sex and the City, it’s also that Carrie seems so at ease with him, and ready to redo their relationship in the right way. It was great seeing Carrie actually happy about Aidan’s kids liking her, since in the original series, she often acted like a cat being thrown in a bath every time Aidan wanted to take a step forward. When, after a traumatic event Adian decides that he needs to stay in Virginia permanently for five entire years to parent one of his sons, instead of freaking out, Carrie is supportive. Cynically, this does kind of feel like the show finding a way to get rid of Aidan for a while so Carrie can date around again now that they know they’re getting more seasons, just to have him come back again for the eventual series finale. But being more charitable, it does feel like growth for the woman who was so afraid of commitment that she wouldn’t wear his engagement ring on her finger to be willing to commit to waiting for him for as long as he needs because this time she knows that he’s the one for her.
One of the things that made Sex and the City so great, and has long felt like it was missing from And Just Like That, is having the central focus be on female friendships. Watching Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte always be there for one another no matter what was the core of the show. So the fact that And Just Like That often kept them apart, and didn’t flesh out their new friends, was a point of contention for many viewers. And it seems like the writers are finally responding to this by bringing the core women back together more often, but also, crucially, by focusing more on all of their friendships over their relationships with men. When the season ends with Carrie and Seema on a beach, choosing friendship while both of their men are off on their own adventures, it seems like Carrie’s just as happy ordering a Cosmo in Greece with a friend as she is with Aidan.
Chapter 3: Samantha Returns, And Nothing Changes
One of the most anticipated events of And Just Like That’s second season was the return of icon Samantha Jones. With her essentially completely absent from the first two seasons aside from sending flowers to Big’s funeral and a few quick texts, the lack of Samantha definitely left a hole in the show. But in the season two finale, Samantha finally made her long-awaited on screen appearance. However, the way it manifests is odd, to say the least. Much has been said about the rumored feud between Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, and AJLT show creator, Michael Patrick King. And Cattrall had put her foot down about appearing on screen, saying to Piers Morgan in 2017 that she made “an empowered decision in my life to end one chapter and start another.” But as Cattrall noted in her appearance on The View, some very powerful friends jumped in to persuade her to return. And she had one condition: that Patricia Field, legendary Sex and the City costume designer, dress her for the scene. Well, that and that she wouldn’t actually have to shoot the scene in the same place as Sarah Jessica Parker. And due to that constraint, the scene ends up being an awkward minute long phone call between Carrie in her apartment and Samantha in an Uber in London. Samantha calls Carrie to let her know she won’t make it to Carrie’s dinner (which she wasn’t even actually invited to, and had to find out about from Miranda and Charlotte…)
While it is exciting to see Samantha on our screens again for the first time in over a decade, and making a throwback reference to the time in season six when she tried to steal someone’s identity to sneak into SoHo House, the scene as a whole feels a bit hollow. It does feel nice to know that the characters are still in contact and don’t seem to hate one another, but the fact that Samantha was now willing to fly back overnight just to say goodbye to Carrie’s old apartment (again) makes the fact that she hasn’t show up at any point previously feel even more odd. The beef between Cattrall and pretty much everyone else involved in the show makes it feel like she definitely won’t decide to return in any major way next season. When The Today Show asked her about whether she was going to expand the role, she had this to say: This is as far as I’m going to go…I don’t think I’ll ever say goodbye to Samantha. She’s like a lot of other characters that I’ve done over the years. I get very emotionally attached and protective of my characters. She gave me so much, and I’m so appreciative of her.”
The lack of Samantha certainly dragged the show down, but as we discussed in our recent video, they have been trying to use new characters to reignite that spark. And one bright spot in the finale does indeed come from the character the show is clearly positioning as the “new Samantha,” Seema. When Seema balks at saying I love you to her new boyfriend and tries to make the relationship implode with her self-destructive behavior, Carrie actually steps in and points out what she’s doing. Carrie didn’t often give great advice on Sex and the City because she had a hard time focusing on anything outside of herself, but this did feel like a touching heart to heart she might have had with Samantha in one of her more self-aware moments. Given the fact that new characters like Seema are finding their own places in the spotlight, and Cattrall likely doesn’t want anything to do with the show long term, we have to wonder… maybe it would be better if we all just let Samantha live her fabulous London life in peace and move forward focusing on these new friendships?
Conclusion: Where Do We Go From Here?
This season finale of And Just Like That in many ways felt like a series finale, which makes sense since the show’s renewal wasn’t confirmed until just before the final episode dropped. With every character in a pretty good place in their relationships, career, and emotional development, it’s hard to guess exactly where And Just Like That will go from here. The show has made great improvements by listening to fan feedback, so hopefully moving forward it can continue to bring in these elements that people enjoy while also working to improve the many problems with its perspective and writing. With the new characters all becoming more fleshed out, hopefully season three will allow them to all spread their wings and have their own important storylines on a regular basis. Most importantly, Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte all feel like they might finally be back on track to being the characters we loved from Sex and the City, so season three could see the show at last returning to form. Whether season three proves to be another hate-watch, a guilty pleasure, or a genuinely good show, we’ll be there, cosmos in hand, to see what happens next!