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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Adam White

And Just Like That review, season 2 episode 4: Gloria Steinem, aborted three ways and an elderly penis


Yes, I do still have marks on my temples from how often I held my head in my hands during this episode of And Just Like That. A mortifying clown car of an instalment that could only be the product of a gas leak in the writers’ room, this was 45 minutes of near-constant horror: Harry ejaculating dust! Candice Bergen gawping at an elderly man’s dick pic! An aborted three-way between Miranda, Che and Goldie Hawn’s son! Between the Billy Dee Williams guest spot and the extended cameo from Gloria Steinem (playing herself), I’m still not sure I didn’t hallucinate the whole thing.

First, though, a question: is the absence of Carrie’s Sex and the Cityvoiceover the reason this show is so erratic? Back in 2022, showrunner Michael Patrick King explained that taking it away was a deliberate choice to “[throw] the audience into the middle of the unknown”. And, admittedly, it’s not like it made the original series any less haphazard when it came to guiding us between the themes of each episode (remember “from Jewish to poo-ish”?). But it did add a certain narrative spine to each instalment, or a sense that the writers were at least trying to follow a map of some kind.

‘Do I present as a 75-year-old retiree?’

Enid Frick! Candice Bergen’s withering Vogue editor always seemed to be a bit of an audience surrogate on the original Sex and the City – specifically for everyone at home who finds Carrie completely unbearable. She’s back on form here, running into Carrie at a restaurant, admitting she’d ignored the emails she’s sent her lately, declining to promote her book in her popular newsletter, and then repeatedly referring to Carrie as one of her peers despite their likely 20-year age difference.

Carrie is slightly offended, even more so when Enid invites her to write for Vivant, a magazine she’s launching that’s aimed at “women our age”. Seema suggests that Carrie negotiate a deal with Enid: go to her “old lady” magazine launch in exchange for a mention of her book in her newsletter. Alas, it turns out that Carrie was confused all along: Enid didn’t want Carrie’s words in her magazine, just $100,000 of her investment. In the end, Carrie invests a smaller amount of money, and gets her newsletter mention.

At the same time, Carrie is being pestered by text messages from an elderly man named Marlon, who she assumes is contacting her in error. It transpires, though, that he’s a very well-hung lover of Bitsy von Muffling, who’s been pushing him in Carrie’s direction. Things go further awry from there: Bitsy texts Carrie a very graphic Marlon dick pic, which Enid spies on Carrie’s phone, before confirming that Marlon is her new lover, too.

Mixed in with all of this penis discourse, inexplicably, is American feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem, who manages to avoid all the nudity chat to have a heart-to-heart with Carrie at Enid’s party. It feels very And Just Like That to feature a Gloria Steinem cameo – at least to make amends for that early Sex and the City episode in which our heroes seemed proudly uninterested in politics of any sort – but also completely unhinged.

Gloria Steinem, Sarah Jessica Parker and Candice Bergen in ‘And Just Like That'
— (Sky/Max)

‘Steve’s not allowed to punch me in the face, and I’m not allowed to take up any more space than the couch’

Miranda is back in New York, sleeping on the sofa while Steve (sweet, inexplicably ripped Steve) remains peeved upstairs with an increasingly distant Brady. It turns out that they’re all in family therapy, where the focus tends to be on Brady rather than… well, Miranda running off with an unfunny stand-up comic and losing her marbles. Their therapist suggests that the make-up of the house doesn’t seem to be working, so Steve volunteers to move out. Brady, meanwhile, announces that he has no plans to go to college. Miranda is upset, but who cares about that when Che Diaz is here?!

As that plot is swiftly abandoned, Miranda and Carrie head to a housewarming party for Che, who has finished filming her sitcom pilot in Los Angeles and returned to the city. Also here… their ex-husband Lyle, who picked Miranda up from the beach in the season premiere and has apparently driven Che back to Manhattan. Lyle provides a little Che back-story: they were married for two years, Che wanted to push their “sexual boundaries”, and they remain friendly to this day. Oh, and married.

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Carrie departs, uncomfortable with all the pegging chat, leaving Miranda, Che and Lyle to sit in a sexually ambiguous stupor. A spot of group sex is initiated, which Miranda seems slightly into… until she isn’t. “This just isn’t me, but you should carry on – I’m good with it!” Miranda pleads, before hobbling off to sleep on Che’s sofa. Sweet mercy.

‘As the sole ejaculator in the group, can you shed any light on this particular phenomenon?’

Okay, so this is a lot. With their kids packed off to summer camp, Charlotte and Harry embark on their annual freak-fest in the bedroom, complete with… um… a big finish onto Charlotte’s breasts. In the throes of passion, however, Harry climaxes but does not… produce any evidence of it. (Sorry, mum.) A bit of post-sex discourse at brunch between Charlotte, Carrie, Miranda and Anthony asks Sarah Jessica Parker to say the word “jizz” far too many times, with Anthony suggesting Harry is afflicted with “dust balls”. A doctor goes further: Harry is experiencing dry orgasms, which a few kegel exercises will fix. Charlotte and Harry embark on a fitness plan, but who cares about that when Lisa and her husband are having an anniversary party?!

Billy Dee Williams, Nicole Ari Parker, Christopher Jackson, Kristin Davis and Victor Garber in ‘And Just Like That’
— (Max/Sky)

I’m still not sure about Lisa Todd Wexley, who remains more of an idea in search of a personality. Nicole Ari Parker is great in the role, but the show has struggled to make us care about Lisa’s documentary project, or her husband Herbert’s plans to run for city comptroller. (That’s someone who looks after a city’s fiscal health, by the way – thank you, Google.)

At a dinner to celebrate their wedding anniversary, Billy Dee Williams shows up as Lisa’s artist father, who isn’t particularly happy with his son-in-law’s capitalist . Meanwhile, Herbert’s mother continues to be inexplicably evil. It’s about as involving as that surreal racial profiling subplot that came and went in a blur earlier this season.

Meanwhile, Charlotte bonds at the party with Marcus Sabian, an art gallery magnate played by kindly Titanic and Alias star Victor Garber. Charlotte is very impressed by his presence, which is a nice call-back to her gallerist career in the early days of Sex and the City. He also offers her a job working for him, something that Charlotte finds flattering enough to potentially entertain. “It’s been so long, and my kids need me even more these days,” she says – but the thought seems to linger. As much as I liked Charlotte as an Upper East Side wife and mother, I also liked her in the art world. (Remember when she posed nude for that vagina painter?) I’m here for it. I’m not here for the dust balls. But, considering how swiftly the show abandoned that subplot here, I’m not sure the writers were, either.

‘And Just Like That’ is available on Sky and Now from 8am on Thursdays

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