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On Living Authentically and the LGBTQIA Community in 'And Just Like That…' Episode 5

Editor's Note

This is a recap for “And Just Like That…” Season 1 Episode 5. 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 sex has finally come back to the city and it’s not exactly what you expect.

Before we continue, just another reminder that there will be spoilers beyond this point for “And Just Like That…” Season 1 Episode 5. Not up to date? Read Season 1 Episode 4’s recap.

Carrie has been experiencing excruciating back pain, so Seema arranges for her to see her orthopedist cousin. The verdict…a congenital birth defect of the hip, which will require surgery. Charlotte springs into action, arranging for all of Carries friends to rotate caring for her in quintessential Charlotte fashion — an excel spreadsheet.

Meanwhile, Rose has decided to change their name to Rock, and Charlotte doesn’t know until the other moms on her school event committee mention it. When she confronts Rock, Rock casually says they posted a video about it on Tik Tok. During a meeting with school staff, Harry and Charlotte are encouraged to seek therapy, support groups and counseling to help them navigate Rock’s self-discovery. They are left feeling very unsure and confused.

Miranda randomly receives a book from Amazon about quitting drinking which she thinks is Charlottes doing and complains to Carrie that Charlotte is being passive aggressive and judgmental.

Carrie has her surgery and her recovery begins. While recording an episode of her podcast virtually (high as a kite on pain meds) she tells the “diaphragm story” about Samantha rescuing her in her time of need. Charlotte suggests she reach out to let Samantha know, which Carrie does. She and Samantha share a pleasant exchange that ends with Carrie telling her she misses Samantha and Samantha not responding after the dreaded three dots.

During one of Miranda’s shifts watching Carrie, Che stops by to bring Carrie a microphone and some tequila. While Carrie sleeps, Che and Miranda get drunk doing tequila shots and have sex in the kitchen while Carrie wakes up just in time to hear/see what’s happening. Carrie needs to pee and can’t get Miranda’s attention so she pees into a Snapple bottle and spills it all over the bed. This ends up in an argument between a frustrated Carrie who feels let down by Miranda for not being there for her and a drunk Miranda who feels embarrassed. By the end of the argument Miranda admits that she’s miserable and has been forever. Carrie suggests she take a look at her drinking and when she asks about what happened with Che, Miranda admits that she’s never felt like that before and isn’t sure she wants to give that up.

Later, while Miranda is listening to Carrie’s podcast and fixing herself a cocktail, she gets an Amazon review alert for the book about quitting drinking that she received and realizes she drunk ordered it. This was the wake up call she needed to throw away all of the booze in her house and give up drinking.

Charlotte confesses to Carrie that she’s concerned she’s not handling the situation with her child well and says she isn’t sure what to do or believe, but she just wants to make sure they do it right. She also shares a moment of sorrow at the idea of losing her daughter. Carrie reassures her that no matter what she’s a good parent and will do the right thing.

Carrie begins her six weeks of PT, “and just like that…three months later (she’s) back in heels.”

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

Sex in the kitchen

If Twitter and LGBTQIA Facebook Pages are of any indication as to how important this episode was in the arc of both Miranda’s character, who has thus far behaved somewhat like a shell of her original feisty self, and in the representation of the LGBTQIA community — things kind of blew up. There was no denying the chemistry Che and Miranda, aka “Rambo” as she was affectionately nicknamed by Che, have had since their first encounter. We have known that Miranda has been in a sexless marriage since the last episode and of course actress Cynthia Nixon herself has been married to her partner Christina Marinoni since 2012. So to say that there was some anticipation regarding Miranda exploring her sexuality would be an understatement.

The scene itself was indeed rapturous. But…it was also cringeworthy because of how it happened. The circumstances of it being in Carries kitchen while Miranda was supposed to be caring for her friend was kind of anti-climactic and dampened by the fact that Miranda is in fact still married to Steve and has now cheated on him. It left me with mixed feelings, and I think that’s what the writers intended. I do hope that for Miranda’s sake she continues to explore her sexuality and I think the actors themselves (Sara Ramirez and Cynthia Nixon) have amazing chemistry together on camera.

Alcoholism

This plot line was not surprising. It’s been building and I’m not shocked it blew up in Miranda’s face the way it did. I do hope that as the story evolves they focus more on the why rather than on the drinking behavior itself. The scene between she and Carrie after the kitchen sex scene was powerful. You can feel the shame, discomfort and self-loathing Miranda is experiencing. Her pain is palpable. When Carrie asks her why she never said anything, Miranda replies “What would I say? That I don’t want to be this person anymore? That this isn’t enough? That I want more?” to which Carrie replies “That’s exactly what you should say.”

And even in that moment as Carrie suggests she take a look at her drinking, Miranda blows it off, trying to justify it as just something that got a little out of hand during COVID. It isn’t until that moment in her kitchen when she realizes she ordered the book about quitting drinking that she truly understands this is a problem. It will be interesting to see how Miranda faces the challenge of being sober while trying to address the underlying struggles that she’s been dealing with.

Navigating parenting an LGBTQIA child

I admit that at first I had a negative reaction to the way Charlotte and Harry respond to Rose wanting to be Rock and change their pronouns to they/them. I thought they weren’t taking it seriously and were overly concerned with it just being a phase. Having known numerous friends whose children have come out as transgender, gender fluid or gender non-binary, I guess I have a biased template for what I perceive that transition to look like for both parents and children.

However, after re-watching the episode and discussing it with my husband, I think perhaps I was being a little harsh on them. I don’t think that they are unwilling to be supportive. I just think they are grappling with what the best way to support their child is. I also think that perhaps their mourning the idea of having a daughter isn’t as uncommon as I’ve seen. As Charlotte says toward the end of the episode, they should just listen to them and follow their lead. Hopefully as Rock continues to solidify their identity to themselves, Charlotte and Harry will become more comfortable and confident and ultimately be their biggest advocates.

Honorable Mentions

In the lunch scene at the hospital between Miranda and Che, there’s a brilliant discussion about how the body responds to trauma that was straight out of Bessel Van Der Kolks The Body Keeps the Score. Che describes how she had horrendous diverticulitis before she came out but once she started living authentically her symptoms disappeared. She says that shame made her “physically and emotionally constipated.” It was refreshing to hear this described as so few people seem to understand how intricately the body and mind are interconnected and how when we are experiencing any kind of trauma it will ultimately find its way into our bodies on a cellular level.

How will Charlotte and Harry navigate Rocks self-discovery? What’s going to happen to Miranda? Will she and Steve stay together or is there a future for her with Che? Stay tuned.

Image from Entertainment Tonight’s official YouTube page

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