This And Just Like That recap contains mild spoilers for season two, episode two, “The Real Deal.”
I feel like I should kick off this recap by talking about the major queer bombshell of the episode, but I don’t want to because it’s stupid and also because I’d much rather talk about my favorite part of “The Real Deal,” which is that Lily Goldenblatt has decided to give up classical piano and become an emo balladeer. Honestly, Lily would be an absolute star on TikTok; she’s beautiful and her voice is angelic. But! Her songwriting could use a little work. Take, for example, her debut bop, “The Power of Privilege,” which features lyrics such as “darkness comes, hollow dreams / empty mirrors, I’m unseen” and “Park Avenue streets, where do they lead / stuck in the deep, goddamn.”
It’s the “goddamn” that really sends Charlotte; she’s already upset that Lily sold her clothes — including her pink Chanel piano recital dress from when she was like twelve — and this music catapults her into the secondhand fancy clothing boutique called The Real Deal, where she demands that the clerk give back the pink Chanel dress because Lily is A MINOR. The youth behind the counter goes, “Uh, this isn’t a bar? We don’t card?”
Charlotte’s problem this week is Carrie’s problem, too: Neither of them know when to let go. (Also, frankly, my problem, but at least I have a therapist!) Lily needs a chance to grow up, and that includes putting purple streaks in her hair and singing sadly about the patriarchy on a dying planet. It’s not that she’s rejecting Charlotte; she’s just a teenager! I think it’s actually a very cool juxtaposition with Rock’s story from last season. It’s not just trans kids who have to figure out who they are. All kids have to figure out who they are. Or, at least all kids should have a chance to do that. Rock, by the way, has become a fashion icon with their bucket hats and backwards baseball caps and short-sleeve button-ups, and they’re supporting Lily begrudgingly, due to sibling bonding, and not due to thinking Lily is the next Billie Eilish, like me and Anthony do.
What Carrie’s having a hard time letting go off is the concept of Sex and the City. The podcast has sold some ad spots for a vaginal wellness brand and Carrie just can’t bring herself to read the copy into a microphone. Franklin offers to brainstorm some ideas for selling vaginal dryness products, after their Thursday sexing, but Carrie’s not into that either. Ultimately, her reluctance to get on board with the vulva branding forces this podcast production company to sell to Apple overnight, which is just about the most realistic glimpse at actual New York media this series has ever aimed for. Fortunately for Carrie, she’s still rich as hell and was only doing this for fun and Thursday sex, so she takes her thousand-dollar pigeon purse and hits the road, minus one Franklin. (He wants an actual relationship. How the turntables!)
Thematically, Miranda’s storyline doesn’t quit fit with her pals because Miranda’s storyline is the same as it was every episode last year: She’s making the most un-Miranda decisions in the history of decision-making! Decisions that would have her screeching at Carrie at the top of her lawyer lungs if her best friend were making them! Behold, she’s going down on Che, doing some of her best work, in fact, when Che’s showrunner — who I forgot to tell you is played by Abby McEnany with a blue stripe in her hair — calls and tells Che to come to set. AND CHE DOES. Just answers the phone, dislodges Miranda’s head from between their legs and hops up to take a shower. Miranda giggles like it’s nbd, and that’s not even the alien-snatching I’m talking about.
While Che meets with Tony Danza, who’s planning to play their dad on their show, Miranda attends an AA meeting where she meets a very clearly queer person, as evidenced by: being covered in tattoos, husky voice, chewing on all the letters in her words, and she runs an environmental charity that cleans up beaches. She mentions her husband in the way that people who will ultimately be seeking a threesome mention their husbands. Miranda is charmed and attends a beach clean-up, where she loses her phone in a bucket of kelp (classic Miranda!) and has to borrow the phone of a random surfer to call Carrie to get Che’s number so Che can get her a ride home. I love this middle age plot line! No one knows anyone’s phone numbers unless you used to call them on a landline!
Instead of sending an Uber, Che sends…. their husband… who they are still married to… to pick up their girlfriend??? This information, plus the realization that she doesn’t even know how to call Che in an emergency, freaks Miranda right the fuck out. AS IT SHOULD. However, when she tries to talk to Che about it when Che gets home from their disastrous Tony Danza dinner, Che blows it off. They’re tired, okay? And it’s not even a big deal, all right? Them and their husband, they’re just slackers who haven’t bothered to file the paperwork on their divorce. That explanation also does not recommend you as a partner, Che Diaz!
Miranda, our lawyerly pal Miranda Hobbes, queen of the cross-examination, has exactly zero follow-up questions.
And I couldn’t help but wonder: does equality look like a… nonbinary Big???? Che doesn’t even entertain Miranda’s panic! Not even an: “Ah yes, I can see why blowing up your life and moving across the country for a stand-up comedian who bounces during cunnilingus and IS STILL MARRIED to a man who drives a purple pickup truck might be alarming to you. Allow me to alleviate your fears with compassion and logic.” No! Just: “What’s the problem? We’re simply 47-year-old SLACKERS.” Big would’ve never called himself a slacker, obviously, but he was just as emotionally unavailable and dismissive and I cannot believe Michael Patrick King has got me comparing a Sara Ramirez character to Mr. Big! CHE, STOP IT! LET ME AND MIRANDA LOVE YOU!
And Just Like That also tries to squeeze in some storylines for the new characters, but none of them really land, despite that fact that Lisa Todd Wexley’s is about the compounded historical trauma and intergenerational effects of racism. I can never decide if it’s good this series is trying to talk about this, or if they should just leave it alone. Herbert’s mom comes to visit, which has LTW in an anxiety spiral because Herbert’s mom is the kind of woman who sees a zebra print skirt and is immediately inspired with the most gloriously vicious comment about how you’ve obviously just arrived home from the matinee of The Lion King. She also wants her granddaughter’s hair done in neat braids and she doesn’t want to hear her son yelling at a racist cab driver — which, you know, in terms of his personal safety, that’s not an unreasonable request for a mother to make. On the other hand, cab drivers and NYers screaming at each other on the sidewalk is the official sport of this city, so.
Seema gets a recycled plot from Samantha Jones, about feuding with her gay hairdresser. And Dr. Nya decides to “bonfire of the beanies” all of Andre Rashad’s belongings because he tells her, over the phone, that he hasn’t cheated on her… yet.
Stuck in the deep, goddamn, indeed!