How I Identified With the Portrayal of Perfectionism in 'And Just Like That…' Episode 10
This is a recap for “And Just Like That…” Episode 10. There will be spoilers beyond this point. Please proceed with caution (because we don’t want to be the ones who spoil you!)
Well… just like that…it’s Over. Ten episodes and a year in the life of Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte later — a lot has changed.
Carrie and Peter have their date and Peter politely asks if he can kiss her at the end of the night. Afterward the lamp on Carrie’s nightstand starts randomly turning on and off, which she thinks is a sign from Big from the afterlife that he’s upset with her for kissing another man. When she mentions this to the other ladies, Miranda, an atheist, thinks it’s nonsense, while Charlotte, who is a believer, doesn’t think Big would want Carrie to be alone. This prompts Carrie to take the lamp to a repair shop to determine if there’s something wrong with it.
Meanwhile, Che invites Miranda to meet her family, which ends up being a special announcement that Che got a pilot and is going to LA. Initially Miranda is upset until Che tells her they want her to come to LA with them. After much consideration, including deciding to pass on a prestigious internship Nya put her up for, Miranda decides to follow her heart and go with Che.
Charlotte is having trouble getting Rock to learn their prayers for their “They-mitzvah” after having two rabbis quit on her only to find a delightful trans rabbi to officiate the event who pronounced Rock not ready for their big event. Charlotte is increasingly frustrated while Anthony lends a supportive hand by offering to make the challah for the event.
When Big’s brother invites Carrie to lunch to offer her the family burial plot to lay Bigs ashes to rest, because it has been a year since his death, Carrie realizes she should probably figure out what where Big would want to have his ashes scattered. After bringing the broken lamp home, which had faulty wiring, the lamp still continues to haunt her by flickering on and off and Carrie has a dream about she and Big in Paris. She takes this as an omen that she needs to go to Paris to scatter his ashes in the Seine.
Carrie announces her plan to the ladies at Rock’s “They-mitzvah” and when Miranda states she has to check her schedule, Carrie gets upset. Miranda explains that she’s decided to follow Che to LA for their pilot taping and a shocked Carrie gives Miranda some grief over it. Miranda notes Carries judgment and says “Am I not allowed to change?…Do I have to follow my own rigid rules until the day I die?” This sobers Carrie up and she realizes that not only should Miranda follow her heart, she needs to scatter Bigs ashes herself, without the ladies.
The episode comes to a climax when Rock refuses to do their “They-mitzvah” because they don’t believe in it and don’t want to be stuck with any kind of label be it “girl, boy, non binary, Jew, Christian, Muslim or New Yorker.” Charlotte and Harry are beside themselves, so Charlotte decides to get Batmitzvad herself instead of Rock
By the end of the episode we see that Seema and her new beau are really hitting it off, Nya and her husband are taking a break from one another to see if they can come to some peace with their relationship without the idea of having children, Brady and Louise head off to Europe to go backpacking and Miranda dyes her hair red again in preparation for leaving for LA. After Carrie goes to Paris to scatter Big’s ashes, she returns to New York to start a solo pilot called “Sex in the City” which Franklin, the producer of her pilot with Che, decides to take on and the season closes with she and Franklin sharing a passionate kiss on the elevator after her first episode.
Let’s break down some major themes in this episode:
The shackles of perfectionism
I confess, I did not see things between Che and Miranda working out. I thought for sure that the unconventional parameters of their relationship would be too loose for Miranda or that Che would want to maintain less of a committed relationship than what Miranda could be comfortable with. But they do seem very much in love and hearing Miranda say to both Nya and Carrie that for once in her life she wants to follow her heart instead of her head was…well…something I needed to hear.
Miranda has always been a rule follower, an overachiever, a people pleaser and a perfectionist. She had a vision of what she wanted her life to be and she pursued it no matter what, relying on her intelligence and work ethic—perhaps to her detriment—as we saw her struggle with feelings of unhappiness and of just not having enough in life in spite of her many achievements. I identify very strongly with this kind of success over personal satisfaction mentality. It’s very easy for me to ignore my own needs and desires in lieu of those of others. I think it’s common with parentified children who learn to succeed, perform and put others ahead of themselves. So hearing Miranda finally put herself first was inspiring and eye opening.
The danger of labels
Rock became very much an emblem for where I think many younger generations find themselves. In a world that seems hell bent upon dividing people into stereotypes and labeling them as this or that, many millennials I know are rejecting these stereotypes and opting instead to allow themselves the time and opportunity to discover who they truly are outside of the confines of societal norms.
I’ve heard many older individuals grumble about how confusing and foreign all of these new fangled gender and sexual orientation titles are and how “it just didn’t exist back then.” I’d argue that it existed, but it was squelched and a lot of individuals suffered because of it. The current environment, particularly within this country, seeks to polarize us into camps of us versus them and to force people to choose their allegiances as a way of reinforcing that there’s only one right way to live and that we all must choose where and to whom we belong. This is dangerous and it leads to xenophobia, racism, homophobia and all other forms of dehumanization. Rock’s instinct to not claim any kind of membership to any particular label is a really powerful message to those for whom belonging to themselves is what is truly important.
Grief and spirituality
The conversation between Charlotte, Miranda and Carrie about the lamp and it somehow signifying Big’s communication from the afterlife was…well…illuminating. Charlotte has always been the more traditional one who had a strong sense of a belief in faith and a higher power, even when she converted to Judaism. For her it always seemed central to her family, traditions and a kind of guiding force. Miranda has always been a staunch atheist and no surprise that hasn’t changed. Carrie has never really said one way or another, but Miranda insinuates that atheism was something they used to share. Carrie remarks that she’s now undecided, but notes that after Big passed away, the idea of an afterlife became more appealing to her, a kind of comfort in the idea that at some point they could be reunited. This is actually fairly common. A lot of people turn to faith and spirituality after experiencing traumatic loss as a means of helping them reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable and of giving them a sense of peace where they may just feel hopeless or empty. It was a short but thought-provoking conversation that was illustrative of an important aspect of grief.
Nya and her husband opt to take some time away from one another to sort through their angst regarding whether or not to have children. She states “We need to feel what we might be throwing away for some baby we never met.” It’s hard to say what will happen, but perhaps the old adage of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” will bring them back together again.
Rabbi Jen: Hari Nef, the first transgender woman to be signed to modeling agency IMG Worldwide, made an unforgettable appearance as the rabbi officiating Rock’s “They-mitzvah.” Besides being a delightful character who really knew their Jewish prayers, I applaud the transgender representation.
And I’d be remiss in not commenting on Steve’s glaring absence from this episode. All of the characters appear to have some kind of resolution to their lives, a kind of closure to the end of the season. Even if they don’t make another one you can easily imagine where the characters will find themselves down the line and there’s a lot to be hopeful for. Except Steve. He’s the lone character who was basically left behind without any kind of resolution or anything to look forward to. I feel sad for him. They did him dirty to a certain extent. I know that’s realistic in life, but for those of us who have been rooting for him since the original show, I think we would have liked to have gotten some kind of closure knowing that he’d be OK in the end.
Anyhow, thank you for allowing me the pleasure of being my very own Mighty version of Carrie Bradshaw. And just like that…I’m signing off.