The shocking twist in the series premiere of the Sex And The City revival And Just Like That may have dealt fans a tough blow, but the surprising shift opens up plenty of opportunities for growth.
Warning: this story contains spoilers from the first and second episodes of the Sex And The City reboot, And Just Like That.
If you spent the entire weekend watching (and re-watching) the first two episodes of the new Sex And The City revival, And Just Like That, then you won’t be oblivious to the fact that the new reboot is about all Big Change. For starters, the beloved gang are now a trio. Miranda’s going back to school to get a Masters. Charlotte’s kids are all grown up. Carrie’s on Instagram and is co-hosting a podcast.
Then, of course, there’s the shocking twist at the end of the series premiere in which a classic character unexpectedly dies. If you’re as yet blissfully unaware of the moment we’re referring to, proceed with caution – there are major spoilers ahead.
After taking his 1,000th Peloton ride, John James Preston, aka Mr. Big (Chris Noth) suffers a fatal heart attack. Carrie arrives home as he lies dying on the floor of the shower, and cradles her one true love as the light fades from his eyes. Needless to say, fans were shook – how could the writers subject fans to this devastating loss in only the first episode?
Well, according to creator Michael Patrick King, the plot twist was entirely necessary. In an interview with Extra, King explained that in order to make the revival feel like a significantly new chapter, something drastic needed to happen.
“It was a story decision,” he began. “It was really about creating something that was bold that would shift the landscape for Carrie Bradshaw, and also I wanted to explore the idea: is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?”
King went on to acknowledge that while Big’s demise is understandably “sad and upsetting” for fans, the new storyline opens up interesting avenues for Carrie’s evolution.
“This is really about someone challenging themselves,” he continued. “What is the significant relationship you find with yourself? We want to give her a proper healing, a proper journey.
“I don’t want the audience to think I want them to feel bad… I’m not leading them into a dark forest and leaving them there — Carrie has a lamp, she’s gonna get us all out.”
In the second episode of the sequel, Little Black Dress, we see Carrie reeling the aftermath of Big’s death, and the wide ripple effect of grief as the community comes together to mourn at his funeral. And despite the dark tone of the episode, there are also beautiful messages of hope – just look to Miranda’s moving eulogy, or Charlotte’s chat with her daughters about the nature of grief.
For anyone wondering how the question of love might be tackled going forward, though, we can rest assured that Carrie’s love life is still very much in motion.
“There will be many obstacles along the way for Carrie to find love again, King added. “These characters live on… we’re just beginning something new.”
And even as the sequel departs from the idea of ‘happily every after’, the return to Carrie’s origins also reinforces the idea of finding peace with yourself.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, King also referenced Carrie’s final voiceover in the original show as his source of inspiration. In the last episode of Sex And The City, in which she’s seen walking down the street talking to Big on the phone, she says that the most important relationship in your life is actually the one with yourself.
“But what Carrie’s really saying in the voiceover is that the most significant, challenging, loving relationship you will ever have is the one you make with yourself,” King explained.
“And if you find somebody else who sees you, that’s fabulous. So this [show] is about the significant, challenging, loving relationship – we’re trying to prove the thesis and the theory that you’re enough.”
While the decision to “get up and keep going,” is on Carrie, King hinted that the possibilities for reinvention will come from her friendships – something that has always been at the heart of Sex And The City.
“With Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte, and then Kristin [Davis] and Cynthia [Nixon] and Sarah Jessica, it’s like, we could go anywhere,” he continued. “I wanted to make sure people knew it was a different show, because there’s a difference between 35 and 55.”
Different, yes, but no less exciting. And though her husband is gone, King reminded viewers that Carrie only had Big for “a minute or two” in the series, and that what we have in the revival is a new set of circumstances.
Consider us suitably intrigued…
The first two episodes of And Just Like That are available to watch now on Sky and NowTV. New episodes will be released every Thursday.
Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.