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The Major Social Issues 'And Just Like That...' Tackles in Episode 3

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Editor's Note

This is a recap for “And Just Like That…” Season 1 Episode 3. There will be spoilers beyond this point. Please proceed with caution (because we don’t want to be the ones who spoil you!).

Well, it’s been a few weeks since Big passed away and Carrie is slowly adjusting to life without him… or is she?

Before we continue, just another reminder there will be spoilers beyond this point for “And Just Like That…” Season 1 Episode 3. Not up to date? Read Season 1 Episode 2’s recap here.

This was a jam-packed episode, so buckle up.

Carrie seems to be adjusting to life without Big, returning to work, feeling somewhat back to “normal.” That is, until she and Miranda go to get Big’s will read. In it, Big leaves $1,000,000 to his ex-wife Natasha (Bridget Moynahan), which sends Carrie into a tailspin, questioning everything she thought she knew about her relationship with Big. In her angst, she begins stalking Natasha and rummaging through Big’s computer, phone, wallet, and clothes trying to figure out what “unfinished business” they had together.

When she tries to confront Natasha at her job and is told she’s in Rome, which Carrie knows is a lie, Carrie gets completely derailed. She can’t sleep or eat. All she does is walk the city, all night. Meanwhile Charlotte has a powerful moment with her daughter Rose in which Rose confesses she never feels like a girl, which leaves Charlotte wondering what that means and how to handle it.

On one of her walks, Carrie accidentally runs into Natasha at a coffee shop where she discovers Natasha hasn’t seen Big since their divorce and tells her Big was always in love with her. Carrie finally seems relieved and is able to make peace with the situation. The gals then attend Che’s comedy special where Miranda is seemingly blown away by the idea that maybe she can “change.” She remains behind at the after-party where she and Che share an intimate moment.

On the way home, Charlotte confronts Carrie with her concern over Miranda’s alcohol use. Carrie deflects, seemingly unwilling to engage in the conversation. She decides she cannot go back to the apartment she and Big share, and ends up going home to her old apartment.

Let’s break down some major themes in this episode:

Grief is not linear

Grief comes in waves and can move through many stages in any order as time passes and as circumstances trigger someone. For Carrie, the reading of the will and subsequent questioning of what (if any) kind of relationship Big and Natasha had propels her back into anger and despair. She jokingly says “the sixth stage of grief is stalking” as she spins somewhat out of control.

It’s a funny line, but it truly speaks to how fragile the wound of grief is and how easily it can open right back up. It can send ones thoughts spiraling and one’s behavior into potentially detrimental coping strategies. And yet… nobody could blame Carrie for how she reacts. I think what we all recognize is how much pain she is in and how she just wants some kind of closure. Ultimately, there is some solace found when she is able to confront Natasha, but it’s clear that there’s no predictable end to grief nor should we expect there to be.

Substance abuse

Charlotte is now quite concerned with Miranda after observing her drinking more and discovering three empty single-serve Tito’s bottles in her backpack. When she is somewhat rebuffed by Carrie, Carrie does hint at the fact a lot of people are drinking more and that there’s a lot that we all have to drink about. This is a legitimate discussion many are having since, according to a study by the Rand Corp., alcohol consumption has risen by 14% during the pandemic with women citing a 41% increase in heavy drinking days.

But is the increase solely a byproduct of the stress we have all endured since the beginning of COVID-19 or is it something else? Miranda tells Charlotte she and Steve haven’t had sex in years and questions if they are really married or “just roommates with ice cream and a kid.” Perhaps she’s trying to numb the feelings of isolation and loneliness she’s feeling instead of addressing it head-on.

Gender identity and parenting

After Rose announces to Charlotte she never feels like a girl, Charlotte turns to Anthony for support of how to best handle it. Surprisingly, he somewhat minimizes the issue, suggesting that it’s just a phase she will grow out of. Having a husband who identifies as bisexual, I know that often the most pushback he got about his sexuality was from within the LGBTQIA+ community. “You just haven’t committed to being gay yet.” It is dismissive and frustrating.

So, when Charlotte hears Che’s inspiring message about how supportive her family was about her coming out and how it’s “better to be confused than sure” because that means we can change, you can see the spark in her eyes. She instantly calls Rose to tell her she loves her no matter what and that’s a great sign that Charlotte will be a supportive advocate and mom as Rose navigates her identity and sexuality.

Honorable mentions

There were so many major plot points in this episode that I don’t have a lot by way of honorable mentions except to note how Miranda approaches Carries grief versus how Charlotte does. At one point, Carrie thanks Miranda for not trying to make her feel better while later chastising Charlotte for trying to talk her out of her feelings. As Carrie notes, “Nobody can make me feel better. I have to get there myself.” That’s a great reminder when trying to support someone we love through grief… sometimes just being present and letting someone express how they are feeling without comment is the best gift you can give.

Will Carrie keep the apartment she had with Big? Will Rose come out as queer, gender nonbinary or transgender? Will the relationship between Che and Miranda evolve into something more romantic? Stay tuned.

Lead image via ‘And Just Like That…’ Official Facebook Page

Originally published: January 3, 2022
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