There’s a moment in this week’s And Just Like That where Carrie is standing in the hallway of her brownstone, and her new downstairs neighbor is standing in her own doorway, and the mirror on the wall is framing them both — Carrie Bradshaw and her 25-year-old shadow self, Ghost Of Hangovers Past, thin trendy curly-haired successful artists, one with her whole life ahead of her, and one with a dead husband and a mechanical hip. “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” wants to wrap itself around this moment and ask a bunch of questions about growing up and about growing old. Steve even says it out loud to Miranda as she’s blowing his entire world to smithereens: Miranda, we are old. She disagrees, but mostly because she is on a manic queer sex high. Carrie feels old because her new neighbor is loud and never sleeps, and it’s driving Carrie nuts. Charlotte feels old because she learns about finsta and also realizes she’s using her mom’s sexually repressed parenting strategies.
I said it last week and it’s true this week too: The thing about aging is you never really realize that you are aging; you just suddenly, for whatever reason, one day realize that you have aged. Nearly everyone is shocked by the realization, and nearly everyone has at least one small identity crisis about it, but I have to say — as a middle age lesbian who takes blood pressure medication — most people don’t GET ON A PLANE TO CLEVELAND TO CHASE DOWN SARA RAMIREZ ABOUT IT.
So Che’s in the park doing a Pride rally, yelling about how if you’re out and proud, you’re part of the revolution, the evolution, the constitution, the absolution, various other rhymes, etc. Miranda’s in the crowd, smiling up at the stage like one of those hyenas from The Lion King, all teeth and glowing eyes the size of the moon, a look that she wears every single time she’s near Che in this episode, like maybe she’s in love with them or maybe she’s going to literally cannibalize them, who’s to say! Che thanks the allies in the crowd for showing up and not hiding. Miranda peeps over and sees Brady and his girlfriend there, supporting their LGBTQ+ friends. Somehow, her eyes get EVEN BIGGER and she dips down and starts skulking away. Che clocks it and stumbles over their speech, circling back to “uh stop hiding” but Miranda runs off down the block.
She returns after the rally is over and offers Che an iced coffee, which she correctly heard is the gayest beverage, and an apology. Things go sideways real fast. Che’s like, “Your son doesn’t know about me? Wait, doesn’t know you’re in an open marriage? Wait, you are in an open marriage, right? Wait, are you… fucking kidding me right now?” It is very important to me that you understand that during this conversation, with Che getting angrier and angrier, Miranda does not stop showing her whole entire teeth! She has completely lost the plot! Her face is just locked into an unhinged grin! She tries to explain that this is all new, that it’s flipped her whole body and brain inside out, that her marriage was over anyway, that she didn’t want to ruin what she and Che have with, like, “facts” and “reality.” Che says they do not lie, they do not cheat, and most of all THEY DO NOT HOMEWRECK. They storm off and chuck Miranda’s iced coffee in the trash.
Miranda then takes a turn about town reiterating her claim that her marriage has already been done for like a decade! It’s over! Ovvveeerrr! She knows it’s over, her friends know it’s over, the whole thing is just a misery that occasionally includes nice desserts! Charlotte looks at Carrie like, “I handled the alcoholism thing, this one’s all you.” And so while Miranda just goes on and on and on about how the only thing that matters to her is being with Che, Carrie squeaks out, “Have you, um, asked Che if they want to be with you?” And so that is exactly what Miranda does. She gets in an Uber and goes to Che’s PLACE OF BUSINESS and asks if she is crazy. Che really has to clarify what, exactly, Miranda means, because: is she acting like a bonkers person right now? Yes, she is. What Miranda is actually asking, though, is if Che has feelings for her too. Che says yes, that they are in love with her. Which shocked both me and Miranda, if you want to know the truth. Che wanting to have sex with Miranda? Yeah, absolutely! Che falling in love with Miranda? I’m gonna need a little more proof than what I have seen on my screen to believe that one.
Not Miranda, though! She nearly combusts right there on the sidewalk and is already printing out divorce papers from the Staples mobile app to pick up on her way home. Che puts a hand on her and tries to calm her down so she can hear this important piece of information: Che can never give Miranda something traditional. Miranda, a top New York lawyer, does not clarify what in the vague hell that means. She’s still grinning to beat the band and spinning so many gay fairytales in her head she’s dizzy with them. Che heads off to Cleveland for a gig and Miranda heads off to Brooklyn to punch Steve’s heart out of his chest.
‘Cause guess who didn’t know their marriage was over? Her husband.
Miranda: Put in your hearing aids, you bumbling fool. And turn off the Yankees game. And hold my hands.
Steve: Um. Okay. Are you dying or something? Are we getting a divorce? Why do you look like a wolf right now?
Miranda: No to dying, I’M AS ALIVE AS THE WIND! AS ALIVE AS LIGHTING! I AM ETERNAL! But yes to the divorce.
Steve: Oh Jesus here we go again.
Miranda: Don’t act so shocked. Are your hearing aids in? STEVE! ARE YOUR HEARING AIDS IN? Don’t you want more than this shit? More than pies and brownies and Netflix and laundry and dishes and going to work and coming home and our idiot son and working and paying bills and going to bed at a decent hour and this… just… couch.
Steve: No. This is exactly what I want. This is life. I’m happier than I ever have been, mostly because you’ve stopped telling me I’m not good enough for you every ten minutes, but I’ve rallied for us too many times to do it again. I’m old. I’m tired. So. If you’re not happy, sure. Let’s get divorced.
Miranda: Okay good because I’ve been fucking Carrie’s boss, Che Diaz, and they won’t be with me if I’m with you. Do you want me to turn the game back on? I’m going to Cleveland.
Listen, I’m no fan of men — but that was hard to watch! I wanted to see Miranda come out! I wanted to see her have the gay sex of her dreams! I wanted to watch Sara Ramirez swagger around in a suit! I am pleased with all of that! But come on, Miranda, you were married for 15 years to a pretty decent guy, even if he bored you. He’s been a good partner and a good dad, even if you didn’t want to have sex with him. Surely there was a better, more compassionate way to end things.
Well and Miranda is out the door and off to the airport. She calls Carrie and yells, “I’M IN A ROM-COM!” And Carrie’s like, “Safe travels, whoever you are!”
Does anyone want to bet five American dollars that Miranda is not going to like what she finds in Cleveland and that she’s going to wish she had clarified, even just slightly, what “something traditional” means? ‘Cause Miranda keeps saying “be together” “be with Che” “me and Che together” and I’m not sure that means the same thing to Che as it means to her. It is seriously causing me physical distress that Miranda does not have access to Autostraddle’s You Need Help archives! The energy she is giving in this scene — and, in fact, in this entire episode — is that little pig named Wallace from the Geico commercials who hangs out of the car window holding a pinwheel and screaming.
In less dramatic aging news, Lily walks in on Charlotte giving Harry a pre-breakfast BJ, and instead of explaining it, she slams the door in her child’s face and then tells her she was checking her dad’s penis for cancer. Lily shrieks, “WHAT?!” and Charlotte realizes she actually made the situation much worse. So she invites Lily out to lunch to have a nice, open, grown-up chat about sex in the city, only to find that Lily has a finsta where she posts photos of herself in yoga clothes in suggestive poses. Charlotte completely Charlottes it, getting louder and gesticulating more wildly, until Lily ultimately walks out of the restaurant as Charlotte yells, “WE DON’T WALK OUT ON EACH OTHER!!!”
Lily goes to Aunt Carrie’s house, to try on some more of her clothes and help her inventory them, before Carrie sends them off to storage. Carrie tries to talk down Charlotte on the phone, but Charlotte is at a Charlotte-11 (a normal person’s 25) and she cannot be consoled. Carrie invites Lily to sleep over, and she gladly takes her up on that. This is a very sweet dynamic and I’m glad we’re getting to see it.
When Lily comes home, Charlotte apologizes. Lily says the finsta is just for like eight of her friends anyway, and that does make Charlotte feel better. Charlotte asks Lily if she has any questions about what was going on with her and Harry in the bathroom the other day, and Lily only has one: Did Charlotte find any cancer on her dad’s penis?
Carrie’s feud with her downstairs neighbor sends her into one of her little spirals. First she’s mad about the noise. Then she’s mad at herself for being mad about the noise. Then she’s mad at herself for being mad at herself for being mad about the noise. She doesn’t want to feel old! She wants to feel young and cool like on her original series, with the tutu in the middle of Manhattan! She also wants her neighbor to think she’s cool! That dream is crushed when her neighbor passes her walking around the block in her Daily Cigarette Suit, which consists of sunglasses, multiple head scarves, and a pair of giant rubber gloves. Because of the cigarette smell. Carrie tires to explain that she wouldn’t even need the quiet if it weren’t for the fact that she’s a writer. Of books. She is a BOOK WRITER. Her neighbor is a very popular jewelry designer, though, so.
In the end, Carrie’s neighbor’s does think she’s cool, not because she’s young or likes noise or drinks too much, but because she clocks the boyfriend as a prick, and commiserates. She’s dated her share of pricks too. Like six seasons worth. She gets it.
Carrie puts on the dress she wore in that Paris episode of the original series, the giant blue peacock one, and she sits by the window, and she eats popcorn.
Did you know the Golden Girls — Dorothy and Rose and Blanche — were younger than Miranda and Carrie and Charlotte are right now? Blanche was FIVE YEARS YOUNGER than Miranda. Aging is so weird. But the way we think about aging is even weirder. Like how I am suddenly identifying more with Carrie than with Miranda?! The afternoon truly does know what the morning never suspected.