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Samantha Came for 74 Seconds

Kim Cattrall, recovering from 74 seconds of pretending to talk to Carrie. Photo: Max

Well, it finally happened. One minute and 40 seconds into the season-two finale of And Just Like That …, Samantha Jones returned. Kim Cattrall’s brief cameo came after years of semi-public sniping with her former castmates, making it clear that she had no desire to reprise Samantha despite their repeated and ostensibly pretty desperate requests. Something (a giant check, maybe?) changed her mind, though, and in AJLT episode 11, she spent an entire 74 seconds gabbing on the phone — without making one sex pun. Samantha, is that really you?

Still, the brevity of our prodigal horndog’s return feels appropriate, both for the actor and her character. Cattrall famously dislikes being in an unpleasant situation for “even an hour,” and reportedly managed to film her segment without seeing or speaking to any of her old colleagues, including SATC showrunner Michael Patrick King and lead actor Sarah Jessica Parker. One “Page Six” source claimed HBO paid Cattrall a “shitload of money” for one afternoon’s work, which she says she capped off with a martini. Knowing your worth? Sophisticated mixed drinks? Sounds like Samantha to me.

As for the actual contents of her scene, Cattrall quite literally phoned it in. She “calls” Carrie from the back of a “car” in “London,” the city where Samantha “lives,” and does her best impression of utter dismay. She was supposed to fly to New York for one night only to surprise Carrie at her last-night-in-my-old-apartment party, Samantha explains, but because of a three-hour delay, she shan’t be making it. Bugger! She bids adieu to Carrie’s “fucking fabulous, fabulous flat” on speakerphone before signing off as Annabelle Bronstein, the Sussex lady she once impersonated to get into the Soho House rooftop pool, with a breezy “Ta, cheerio!” She then spends one (1) nostalgic second getting misty-eyed with her phone clutched to her chest.

There is but one true-to-character element in this fictional scenario: Sam’s styling. Cattrall’s big return was partially contingent upon SATC’s original costumer, Patricia Field, styling the outfit. Though we only saw Samantha’s upper half, Fields gave us a superb one-fifth of an ensemble, which included a metallic jacket and lime-green clutch befitting this cameo of the century. Pigeon purses? Honey, no!

Otherwise, the substance of the scene feels implausible, even for a show that has given Carrie a fourth shot at love with Aidan and a kitten that does not age. Would the Samantha we know and love let a subpar British flight crew mess with her trip to see her best friend off to Gramercy Park? Absolutely not. Would she hesitate for even a second to rifle through the trove of wealthy ex-flings in her iPhone’s Rolodex to charter her a private jet ASAP? She would not! I am having trouble even believing that the miscellaneous urban background whizzing by her is in fact London, let alone the route back from Heathrow. One British reviewer ID’d the green-screened background as Embankment, which, contrary to her claim that she “just left Heathrow,” is an hour’s drive from the airport.

The only viable conclusion here is that this new, post-friend-breakup Samantha has enough healthy boundaries to know she does not want to spend time or money on Carrie’s biblical good-bye party. But, in classic Samantha fashion, she has the good sense to lie about it and avoid a scene. To which I say: Good for her. She loves Carrie, but she loves herself more.

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Samantha Came for 74 Seconds