Is there a word for continuing to watch a show even though it’s absolutely ridiculous? If there is, it has never better described a TV series than And Just Like That, the modern-day spin-off of Sex and the City, which wraps its second season today. While the sophomore edition of the show has been notably better than the first, it’s hard to walk away from these 11 episodes without sighing.
After a turbulent season, which involved Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) reuniting with her long-time ex Aidan (John Corbett) and a lot of other secondary storylines that would be difficult to unpack in one review, And Just Like That came to a close with a mix of thoughtful, emotionally-satisfying scenes and several WTF moments. The finale opened with the highly-anticipated return of Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), who has been absent from the reboot due to a conflict between the actors. Her massive omission has been written off to the character’s relocation to London, which was finally addressed as Samantha calls Carrie from a car to say she won’t be able to make it to Carrie’s “last supper” in her old apartment.
The scene, which was clearly filmed without Parker and Cattrall actually interacting, came across with a nostalgic comfort, especially when Samantha invoked a line from Sex and the City’s “Boy, Interrupted” when she pretended to be Annabelle Bronstein to get into Soho House. Samantha, sadly, couldn’t make it New York thanks to flight delays, but she did get to say farewell to the apartment over speakerphone.
The rest of the episode felt like filler as we waited to find out what was going to happen between Carrie and Aiden, who reunited a few episodes back but have had their resumed relationship disrupted by his teenage son’s antics back home in Virginia. The dinner party, which makes Carrie’s apartment suddenly seem a lot more spacious than it ever was before, lets a few characters resolve conflicts. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Che (Sara Ramirez) find some closure in the kitchen after Che told horrific jokes about Miranda onstage following their breakup. Anthony (Mario Cantone) decides to let his hot new boyfriend into his life—and, as we see later, his ass. Seema (Sarita Choudhury), the show’s best new character, finally gets her new beau to put his phone down. It’s all such requisite bow tying that almost makes this feel like the series finale (it’s not).
Finally Aidan appears, without his luggage. He tells Carrie he has to focus on his kids and asks her to wait for him for five years (!). It’s truly bizarre. Doesn’t Carrie have millions of dollars of Big’s money that allow her to go anywhere anytime? Why would you put your love life on hold for five years for a guy who can’t balance his teenage son and his relationship? Did John Corbett only sign a contract for a few episodes and this is how the show will write him out? But wait—it gets worse. After Aidan tells Carrie he’ll see her in five years (or something like that), we get a cringe-inducing montage of every character having sex or getting paired off. If you’ve been waiting two seasons to see Anthony get nailed by his Italian lover, well, here you go. If you care whether Che will hook up with a random character we met last week, this is your moment.
Despite its reliance on ridiculous storylines, And Just Like That has been a reasonably enjoyable watch this season. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) got some juicy scenes as she stepped away from motherhood and returned to her career in the New York City art world. Seeing her stand up to her family and reclaim her personhood was cathartic and satisfying. Detaching Miranda from Che and having her face the consequences of her actions was a step forward from the insane, disrespectful way she broke up her marriage in season one. Seeing Carrie go on dates again was genuinely fun. The fashion and real estate are forever compelling. For a lot of reasons And Just Like That has viewers addicted. But its effect is like pounding cosmopolitans: they taste delicious and get you buzzed, but they also can be too saccharine and leave you with a thumping hangover. Of course, we’ll all keep watching in spite of that. Especially if we can get more Samantha in season three.