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'And Just Like That…' Episode 1 Recap: 'Hello It’s Me'

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Editor's Note

This is a recap for “And Just Like That…” Season 1, Episode 1. 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 2021… Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte are back on the town — still fashionable, but with a whole new set of challenges and supporting cast of characters.

• What is PTSD?

Before we continue, just another reminder that there will be spoilers beyond this point for “And Just Like That…” Season 1, Episode 1.

In a post-COVID-19 lockdown New York City, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) reconnect. Carrie and Big (Chris Noth) are still happily married. Miranda and Steve (David Eigenberg) are married and navigating being parents of a sexually active teenage son. Charlotte and Harry (Evan Handler) are married and raising their two precocious daughters Lily (Cathy Ang) and Rose (Alexa Swinton). Samantha (Kim Catrall) has moved to London to live and work, explaining her noticeable absence in the friend group. Carrie is now the cohost of a podcast that tackles sexuality and gender norms. Miranda has quit her law practice and is returning to school to get a master’s degree in human rights. The entire crew is invited to see Lily’s piano recital, where we catch up with a married but quarreling Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone). During the recital, Big, who remains at home to do his 1,000th Peleton ride, has a heart attack. Carrie arrives home just in time to witness him die.

All that being said… let’s break down some Mighty themes in this episode:

The trauma of death

Much has been made about Carrie’s response to arriving home to Big collapsed and clearly in distress. Should she have dialed 911 immediately? Would Big still be alive? Was the Peleton somehow to blame? All of these fail to recognize the trauma of witnessing someone you love dying. I don’t think any of us can say how we would react if the designer shoes were on the other foot, so to speak.

All of us tend to fancy ourselves to be strong enough and quick-witted enough to know exactly what to do and how when tragedy strikes; but the reality is, when that moment arrives, none of us can predict what our response will be. In Carrie’s case, her freeze response kicks in. As someone who has a strong freeze response to trauma, I can completely relate to that feeling of helplessness quite literally shutting down your body and mind. What’s most important and heartbreaking is the utter despair you can see her feel in that moment. The image of her blue heels (the ones she got married in) soaking in the shower while she clutches Big in her arms, barefoot and sobbing, is a powerful (and shocking) moment.


The scrutiny of age as it relates to this show began before the first episode even dropped. Sarah Jessica Parker vocally slammed the misogynist chatter in the December, 2021 issue of Vogue Magazine stating, “I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop aging? Disappear?” The first episode tackles this topic head-on with Charlotte fixating on Miranda letting her hair go gray instead of continuing to dye it her signature red.

There’s a definite focus on age and aging, with discussions of changes in bodies, hearing loss, and adjusting to the constantly changing media scene. Some of the conversations are cliche (older people don’t know how to use modern devices), while others are more nuanced (How does a returning student in her 50s integrate into a college classroom full of 20-somethings?). It‘ll be interesting to see how this topic evolves and influences the behavior of the characters in future episodes.

Social justice

Miranda’s desire to understand social justice by returning to college for a master’s degree in human rights is thus far proving to be cringeworthy television. In her desperate attempt at seeming “woke,” she continuously puts her foot in her mouth, reinforcing her white privilege. As painful as it is to watch, I actually welcome the storyline as part of the continuing dialogue regarding social justice.

I think many of us, myself included, are trying to learn to become better allies and are, in the process, overcorrecting. Gaining some perspective and humility is something even those of us with the best of intentions need to do. I look forward to seeing how Miranda evolves and hopefully provides a kind of roadmap for what it can look like to actually understand the nuances of social justice, particularly as a white cisgender woman of privilege.

Honorable mentions

Two other plot lines that stick out to me as being of likely importance in future episodes are the discussions about gender identity and sexuality, particularly as Carrie embraces her role on the podcast she’s cohosting, and navigating parenting in a world where what is considered socially acceptable may not align with what Miranda and Charlotte are accustomed to. We already see moments where these subjects seem to be points of friction and potential conflict. They are also subjects that are very much relevant in the world today.

But first… what does life without Big look like? Stay tuned.

Lead image via HBOMax’s Official “And Just Like That…” series page

Originally published: December 23, 2021
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