The second season of “And Just Like That …” is no masterpiece — but you’ll cringe a lot less than you did in Season 1, which followed the core “Sex and the City” ladies (sans Kim Cattrall’s Samantha Jones) as they navigated life in their 50s.
For Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), this included moving into the podcasting space and suddenly becoming a widow when Mr. Big died of a heart attack. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) started seeing a queer nonbinary podcasting comedian, Che (Sara Ramirez), while Charlotte (Kristin Davis) dealt with her precocious teen kids.
They also added several new ladies to their friends group, including Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker), Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury) and Dr. Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman).
Season 2, streaming on Max (new episodes drop weekly on Thursdays), picks up shortly after last season’s final episode.
Lisa, Seema, and Nya are more integrated into the story as regular characters with their own plotlines that intersect with Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte. Seema is dating a European man who doesn’t seem quite as separated from his ex-wife as she thought. She bemoans this at lunch with Carrie, who mulls over whether her new man, Franklyn, is a “booty call.”
Che is still a nonbinary podcaster comedian. But, Che and Miranda’s relationship also starts feeling more like standard “Sex and the City” fare, as the two have a misunderstanding: Miranda thinks that Che is pulling away because Miranda wants a relationship, while Che wants a more casual arrangement.
In reality, it turns out that Che has some insecurities about their body and dieting that the couple works through.
It’s not a riveting story arc, but it’s relatable, and Che is more of a real person than a caricature (as they were in Season 1).
The series still suffers from Cattrall’s absence, a byproduct of her much-discussed alleged feud with her fellow cast members. (She returns for a brief cameo this season, but that’s not the same as having Samantha fully back.)
The energy that Samantha brought to the story simply can’t be replicated — and, at times, the show feels like it’s trying too hard.
For instance, when Charlotte asks her teenager, Rock (Alexa Swinton) to help tighten her corset, the teen responds, “I won’t be party to upholding the patriarchy and the heteronormative standards of beauty.”
That feels like an out-of-touch writer’s skewed idea of what a “modern teen” sounds like, rather than a line that would ever be uttered by any young person.
“And Just Like That …” is still no classic, but there’s now a lot more to like — or at least tolerate.
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