AND JUST LIKE THAT… Something Went Wrong

The second season of “And Just Like That…” leaves the viewer, at best, with a sense of unfulfillment.

Agnieszka Stasiowska

27 August 2023

On HBO Max, you can already watch the entire second season of the “Sex and the City” spin-off – And Just Like That… Are the further fates of the iconic series’ heroines what fans have been waiting for?

Friends Not Forever

Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha – these four women once proved that a woman has the right to choose her own path. They were very close to each other, yet each sought a different kind of happiness in life. Carrie – a love that wouldn’t take away her freedom. Miranda – feelings that would complement her thriving career. Charlotte – the warmth of her own family home. Samantha – the freedom to give and receive affections.

Their paths have varied. Several seasons of SATC and two full-length movies led fans through the tumultuous journeys of the friends, always entertaining, often touching, sometimes shocking. When, after years, the three protagonists – as Kim Cattrall, who played Samantha, declined to participate in the project – decided to reunite in front of the camera, there seemed to be no end to the admiration.

 A Bit of Time Has Passed

But it didn’t last long. The absence of Samantha greatly affected the series’ quality. Although it seemed that Samantha was the one who most loosely approached life, she was evidently the most deeply rooted in it. Without her, the compass of common sense missing, the remaining three women struggle in futile attempts to piece their lives together.

Almost twenty years after the original series ended, the women find themselves in completely different places. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), widowed by Big, wonders if she can return to the times before her marriage. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), at the peak of her career, is so burnt out that she seeks new paths not only professionally, forming a relationship with a non-binary individual – Che Diaz (Sara Ramírez). Charlotte (Kristin Davis), a happy wife and mother of two, realizes that these two roles don’t fully fulfill her life. So, all of them are in that stereotypically feminine phase of “I don’t know what I want, but I want it very badly.” And without Samantha, who always knew what she wanted and showed such great empathy that she could guide her friends on the right track, something is missing. In an attempt to maintain their shaky balance, each heroine receives her own satellite. Thus, Carrie meets real estate agent Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury). Charlotte befriends one of her children’s school mothers, Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker), while Miranda shortens the distance with Prof. Nyą Wallace (Karen Pittman). Of course, each additional character comes aboard with her own set of problems.

Changes, changes, changes…

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. The new characters are painfully one-dimensional and seem unnecessary. They are artificial fillers meant to divert the viewer’s attention from the absent one. They don’t succeed. Even situations that theoretically should evoke the appropriate emotions, such as divorce, miscarriage, infertility – here, they’re just additional checkboxes in the plot. The audience doesn’t sit in front of the screen for these ladies, and their stories don’t interest them much.

As for what happened to the main characters, it’s disappointing at best. Carrie, who once cleverly and pointedly addressed even the most indiscreet topics in her columns, suddenly becomes a boring – yes, boring! – widow who roams the screen, first mourning her husband, then moving between apartments. She no longer writes, comments, pays attention to anything; she’s locked in an introverted world of her own needs. Even after finding love again, she can’t muster a hint of protest when Aidan (Chris Corbett), in a bizarre scene discussing how his 20-year-old, 17-year-old, and 14-year-old son need him very much, declares that he’s leaving and will be back in five years. Oh, no problem, where’s my drink with a straw…?

Miranda, as Che accurately summarized, picked up the LGBT+ menu card and is trying out various options. However, none of them seem to satisfy her longing stomach for change. Miranda stands at a crossroads – she abandons her old self but doesn’t find the new one, becoming her own caricature, devoid of character, paper-thin, almost pathetically gloomy.

And Charlotte. Charlotte, who always believed in the power of love and family, that understanding, beloved, sweet Charlotte, suddenly transforms into a disillusioned grandmother whose career ended before it truly began. Now, this frustrated woman drags her child to advertising agencies to fulfill her youthful dreams, and she takes rejection with the indignation of a three-year-old. She values her daughter’s dress more than her aspirations and plans. And her priority is to fit into a dress with a bow.

Penultimate Supper

The last episode of the second season, significantly titled “Penultimate Supper,” was probably intended to summarize the heroines’ journey, to show that not everything is lost, that they still have something to fight for. However, it’s hard to feel that on the other side of the glass. Around the elegant table in Carrie’s apartment, everyone who matters gathers. Profound slogans are uttered, and supposed emotion should tighten the throat – oh dear, how beautiful it all is.

And artificial. The forced smiles don’t resonate with the viewer; hypocrisy pours from elegant glasses. The final scenes involving all the characters confirm that what looked so nice at the aforementioned dinner table is just a play for the benefit of outsiders. At this table, there are no longer friends, not the kind who can be brutally honest with each other without fearing judgment. Those times have passed.

HBO Max announced that And Just Like That… will have a third season. It’s not yet known whether the action will jump five years ahead to when Aidan’s children will be able to manage without their dad or if we’ll faithfully wait for that moment while Carrie continues to arrange her apartments. The characters of the show seem to be stuck in a dead-end, and it will be very difficult to free them from it. Maybe they will succeed. Maybe.

Agnieszka Stasiowska

Agnieszka Stasiowska

She seeks different sensations in film, so she doesn't close herself off to any genre. She believes that every film has its own audience, and when it doesn't appeal to her, it is sure to strike a different, more inclined heart.

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