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Navigating Friendship and Trauma in 'And Just Like That…' Episode 4

Editor's Note

This is a recap for “And Just Like That…” Season 1 Episode 4. There will be spoilers beyond this point. Please proceed with caution (because we don’t want to be the ones who spoil you!).

Well, the friend circle is expanding exponentially and the ladies are learning how to navigate these new relationships… and it’s both constructive and instructive.

Before we continue, just another reminder that there will be spoilers beyond this point for “And Just Like That…” Season 1 Episode 4. Not up to date? Read Season 1 Episode 3’s recap.

Carrie has finally managed to get some sleep and with a fresh perspective on things realizes that she can no longer live in the apartment she shared with Big. She decides to list it and hires Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury) to be her real estate agent. Seema suggests some major changes to the staging of the apartment prior to putting it on the market. Carrie agrees.

Meanwhile, Charlotte and LTW-Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker), who bonded over their kids’ school events committee, are working on developing their relationship from “mom friends” to “real friends.” Initially Charlotte plans a dinner party at her house where she frets about having a guest list that is diverse enough. This event gets cancelled and instead Charlotte and Harry are invited to a dinner at LTW’s home where… they are the only white couple. Charlotte wins everyone over when she stops trying so hard and simply relies on what she does best-be herself… in this case her knowledge of art. The women end up bonding over their shared desire to become closer and their shared anxiety about wanting to make the other comfortable with their racial diversity.

Miranda is on her own friend making mission when she and her professor Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman) meet for dinner. Their conversation quickly turns toward Nya’s struggles with IVF and her questions about motherhood. The two share an intimate conversation about the reality of being a mother and about how even on the hard days it can be worth it.

Carrie and Seema begin to bond over fashion and design. During a lunch Seema discloses that she’s never been married but has dated extensively using every online dating platform imaginable. Carrie tries to show her enthusiasm by telling her it’s “great that you’re still putting yourself out there” in a rather flippant statement. Later back at her newly staged apartment Seema discloses that she accidentally broke a frame that had a photo of Carrie and Big in it. Carrie is very upset and feels that Seema is being insensitive. Seema apologizes and both women realize that sometimes what you say and how it is intended isn’t how it is heard by the other person. They apologize to one another “and just like that…(they) began (their) real friendship.”

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

Making friends as an adult is challenging

I admit that I had a personal reaction to the primary theme of this episode…making real friends is hard to do. It’s been the subject of so many therapy sessions that I can’t even tell you. In this world of social media, it’s even harder to move beyond the acquaintance stage and find people who you truly connect with, can trust and genuinely enjoy being around. Throw in a healthy dose of trauma and the idea of trying feels downright impossible.

Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte are fortunate in that they already have a template for what “real” friends are in one another. But even they struggle to move beyond surface level chit chat to more substantive meaningful interactions. What this episode shows is that ultimately our own insecurities are the thing that most often sabotage us in terms of connecting to others. In our attempt at not wanting to mess up or be rejected, we often do or say things that are not in line with who we truly are or our values.

The pressure of motherhood

This is another subject that I had a very personal and visceral reaction to. I have written extensively about my own choice to not procreate and how I’ve had to navigate the pressure that society and everyone around me constantly puts on me regarding my choice. Nya articulates this  beautifully in her discussion with Miranda. The constant questions about when and how many children, comments about how you’re going to regret it if you don’t have them and judgments about how you aren’t getting any younger are all intrusive at best and abusive at worst.

It’s none of anyone’s business if you do or don’t have children and motherhood neither defines you or makes you more whole. Nya notes having felt relieved when the first round of IVF failed and having some misgivings about doing it again but feeling like she had to. Becoming a parent should never be something you feel pressured to do. It’s very well possible that Nya will become an amazing mom and won’t regret her choice if/when she does have a child, but the premise that she’d put her body and soul through that for someone else is something that doesn’t sit well with me at all, not just as a feminist—but as the adult child of parents who weren’t equipped to be and (in the case of my father) didn’t want to be parents.

Rupture and repair

We discuss the idea of “rupture and repair” as it pertains to relationships constantly in therapy. It’s a primary theme in couples counseling, but ultimately it’s an important skill to learn in any relationship. The idea is often novel to those of us who came from neglectful or abusive homes where our feelings and voices were often silenced into compliance. For many of us the first time we heard the phrase and actually got the opportunity to implement it is in the context of the therapeutic relationship.

That’s why I appreciated the scene between Carrie and Seema where each of them felt misunderstood and hurt by something the other said. They could have let this end their relationship, but instead they discuss it. Seema beautifully articulated how she might have a tiny bit of resentment because Carrie did find the love of her life even if it ended tragically, while she is still searching. That’s a valid feeling of both/and… the paradox of having compassion for Carrie and some envy toward her. They make her human and I think her ability to express this allowed Carrie to really connect with her in a more intimate way.

Honorable Mentions

Disability representation: Ali Stroker, who won the 2019 Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for playing Ado Annie in Oklahoma, makes an appearance in this episode as the spitfire social media content manager of Carrie’s podcast.

The disappearance of Stanford Blatch: Willie Garson, who played the beloved character of Stanford Blatch, passed away in September after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. There was much speculation as to how they would handle his absence on the show since he had appeared prominently in the first three episodes of the reboot. They unceremoniously wrote him off the show with a completely forced plot line of him running off to Japan to represent some Tik Tok star. It was clunky and it felt disrespectful to the character, the fans and to Garson’s legacy.

Will Carries apartment get sold? How will all of these new friendships evolve? Stay tuned.

Header image via “And Just Like That…” Official Instagram Page

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