Death and the City: How And Just Like That delivered a shocking twist in its first 2 episodes
Sex and the City began with Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) meeting her one and only Mr. Big (Chris Noth) in its pilot episode. Now, HBO Max's And Just Like That begins with her losing him — not for the first time, but for the very last.
The premiere episode of the revival series ends with a Big heartbreak, as Carrie's husband — real name John James Preston — dies by heart attack, recalling the heart health issues he struggled with in the original series. Carrie finds him having collapsed on the floor, the shower beside him running, when she gets home from Charlotte's daughter's piano recital. Trying to help him up, she loses her shoes — the blue Manolo Blahniks she wore to their wedding. "And just like that… Big died," Carrie says in her iconic voiceover. And our heroine is single once again.
The shocking death came as a surprise to those who had followed the teases leading up to the revival's premiere, as showrunner and executive producer Michael Patrick King had stated that "nobody's dead" on And Just Like That. Presumably, he was talking through the loophole that nobody's dead at the beginning of the new series, not that nobody dies on it.
The second episode, "Little Black Dress," chronicles the aftermath of the devastating loss. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is inconsolable throughout, in part because she feels responsible for having convinced Carrie to attend Lily's piano recital, thus preventing her from being there when Big had the heart attack. Charlotte and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) take turns spending the night at Carrie's apartment, but even with her friends by her side, Carrie can never seem to fall asleep.
Much of the runtime is dedicated to Big's funeral, and Carrie struggles to find a venue worthy of a legendary rom-dramedy hero, though she does eventually manage to secure a minimalist space that she deems chic enough. "I'm so proud of her," Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson) tells Anthony Marentino (Mario Cantone). "With all she's going through, pulling it together and giving us a look today."
New faces (like Sara Ramirez's podcaster Che) and some old ones (Susan Sharon!) are on hand for the somber occasion, but the main players take up the front row of the clean space. And though Miranda doesn't return the favor from her mother's funeral and walk Carrie down the aisle (chic minimalist funeral venues have no aisle), she does give a speech, written by Carrie.
And then there's Kim Cattrall's absent Samantha, who has a presence on the sad day despite having fallen out with Carrie and moved away to London. Carrie had asked that there be no flowers, but arrives to find an enormous, gorgeous arrangement spread across the casket. The funeral home directors show Carrie the card that arrived with them, which reads simply, "Love, Samantha." Carrie tells them the flowers can stay.
That night, as Charlotte sleeps soundly, Carrie sits up, awake. Looking at her phone, she opens her texts with Samantha — the last outgoing few of which have gone unacknowledged, including "Walked past La Perla today. I miss you" — and texts her, "Thank you."
New episodes of And Just Like That drop every Thursday on HBO Max.
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