Turns Out It’s Pretty Good: The Final Season of SATC

Photo-Illustration: The Cut; Photo: HBO/Everett Collection

Why are we so skeptical of the things right in front of us? “Turns Out It’s Pretty Good” is a series that examines the path from resisting the well-known to wholeheartedly endorsing it.

Right as Los Angeles began entering the long winter we’ve just started to crawl out of, my boyfriend began rewatching Sex and the City from the beginning for the first time in a decade. I joined in somewhere in the middle of season two. The world felt like it was ending and SATC saved my goddamned life. But each evening, when I escaped the dreads of daylight and planted myself across the country, in the city I used to live in, I felt another dread. A familiar dread. The last season of SATC. But I am here to tell you I am a changed person. Turns out the last season of Sex and the City is good.

I always loathed the SATC 6A and 6B seasons. They were a burden. Watching Carrie navigate Berger and then Petrovsky was a nightmare. It was like a strange reenactment of Sex and the City. Carrie was the main imposter. Aside from the standout “Splat!” episode, where Patron Saint of New York and bonafide soothsayer Lexi Featherston falls to her death after prophesying the end of the city. I always like to imagine Lexi never actually hit the pavement and is falling forever — not down, but up — just above the skyline.

Maybe it’s the way everything was at the time. No human contact outside of my apartment, the nights coming sooner and sooner, but in this rewatch, I went into the final season with the urgency of a monster truck show. Final Season Carrie became my hero. “Hell yeah,” I said when Carrie tells Berger off for driving too fast on his stupid motorcycle. “That’s me,” I said when Carrie flees to Paris with the Russian. Bonjour! I am Carrie, and I am in Paris, I thought, wearing my retainer as an LAPD helicopter roared above my apartment.

Opening my heart to Final Season Carrie allowed me to appreciate the other ladies’ final plotlines even more. Samantha’s cancer battle: her lovely odd-couple banter with Julia Sweeney (as a nun!!!) in the oncologist’s waiting room, letting herself love and be loved by Smith. Miranda’s testing the limits of her own love, like when she finds her senile mother-in-law (peerless Anne Meara) eating pizza in the garbage and bathes her back at home. Charlotte realizing she didn’t need to become a mom to find herself, she’d already done it. The richness was always there, I just focused too much on being annoyed with Carrie. The joke was on me.

And just like that, after years of rewatching the SATC movies on planes and rumors about a third movie — mostly surrounding Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker’s real-life feud — it was announced in January that the show will be rebooted on HBO Max. It also took me more time than it should have to understand that the reboot is literally called And Just Like That. Yes, the show will return, and like many, I am not sure what to make of it. I trust the writers, I trust the actors, I trust the magic, but as we’ve known since it was first announced, there will be no Samantha. No Samantha Jones. No Proxy Samantha Jones. Just an empty seat at the coffee shop table. Cattrall, who’s remained steadfast in her near-supernatural unwillingness to resurrect Sam, basically says she’s conjured all she can from the character of Samantha. Fair!

There was much speculation over what would become of her character, but we were soon given our answer: Samantha has simply faded from the lives of Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte. No big falling outs, no dreaded death plots. Samantha just lost touch. Maybe she moved to Miami, or Europe, or, even worse, stayed in New York and made new friends. Maybe it’ll be a little recurring thing. Samantha sightings.

“I saw Samantha when I was at Chipotle,” Miranda announces at lunch.

“Samantha eats at Chipotle?” Charlotte asks, her eyes wide in judgy shock.

“No,” Miranda says, defensively, “I was eating at Chipotle. I saw Samantha walk by outside.”

“Did you wave?” Carrie asks.

“No,” Miranda says. “She never looked over.”

But in reality, it’ll probably be mentioned once and then never again.

Now we know Mr. Big and Steve might not come back either. A post-pandemic SATC where these three characters are just gone. I’m going to tell myself they were raptured. Vanished in an instant. That makes the most sense to me.

I’m not sure what I learned about Carrie as a person in this homestretch rewatch that I didn’t know already. The most important thing being that Carrie always shows up, even if it takes her a minute. She moves to Paris to walk around in the rain and make calls on pay phones. Someday, when all the pay phones in the world are totally gone, Carrie will be able to find the last one and tongue-act her way through finding a stray coin after the call drops. Good for her! But even before she ran away to Paris, Carrie always knew Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte, and (of course) New York were the best parts of her. Thank God for that. Because during this very long and bad year, the very end of the series finale hit me differently. Remember it? The Source and Candi Staton’s immortal “You’ve Got the Love” plays as Carrie shows up at the coffee shop back in New York, where her friends are waiting. Watching it now, it feels like a post-pandemic dream.

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Turns Out It’s Pretty Good: The Final Season of SATC