This is one goodbye we wish never had happened.
The fourth episode of the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That…, premiered on Thursday, and with it came the answer to a very sad question: how was late actor Willie Garson written off the franchise after his death earlier this year?
As Perezcious readers know, the actor who played Carrie Bradshaw’s gay bestie, Stanford Blatch, in the franchise passed away in late September after privately battling pancreatic cancer. He was halfway through filming the HBO Max reboot at the time, in which his character was supposed to have a significant storyline. Unfortunately, that never came to be after he chose to stop filming once his death declined to be with his family.
Related: SATC‘s Mario Cantone Talks Grieving On-Screen Husband Willie Garson
In the latest episode of the new series, the show tackles Garson’s absence — even though his final appearance in the show was episode three. In it, the 57-year-old’s character leaves Carrie (AKA Sarah Jessica Parker) a note to inform her of some major life changes. It reads:
“Dearest Carrie, By the time you read this I’ll be in Tokyo. I couldn’t tell you — not without crying. And you have had enough crying.”
As viewers know, Carrie’s husband Mr. Big (played by the now-controversial Chris Noth) was killed off the show in the first episode after suffering a Peloton-induced heart attack. She’s since been leaning on her friends to get through the trauma. And, yes, there’s been a lot of crying! So we get why it would be too challenging for Stanford to part ways in person.
According to Blatch’s husband, Anthony Marentino (Mario Cantone), Garson flew to Tokyo to manage a teenage TikTok star who is “huge” in Asia. An exciting career opportunity! But, as to be expected with this ever-dramatic show, the writers couldn’t send him off without creating some problems in his wake. As Anthony chats about his husband’s sudden departure from NYC, he drops another bomb: Stanford left him a note as well, in which he asked for a DIVORCE!
Whoa, whoa, whoa!!
We didn’t see that coming! While the separation came out of the blue, it’s not a complete 180 from what fans have witnessed on screen. After all, Stanford and Anthony hated each other when they first met in season 4! But a New Year’s Eve kiss in the 2008 movie changed everything, leading to a glamorous 2010 wedding. Even as their love blossomed though, they could never help argue.
Related: Cynthia Nixon DISSED By Famed Former SATC Costume Designer!
Processing the news, Marentino teased:
“I don’t get it — we were so happy.”
Despite the life-changing twist, the moment was kept as light as possible because of how devastating Willie’s death has been to process for the performers in real life. Speaking to Vanity Fair, showrunner Michael Patrick King explained:
“I thought, ‘I’m not gonna really lean into this [death as a storyline].’ It’s too sad. And it’s too tragic. It’s not a fictional death. It’s a real death. So I just kind of put a little patch of thin ice that Anthony and Carrie had to skate over to get to the other side. I just sort of made it as light and as silly as possible and we went forward.”
Especially considering the stars had just filmed a funeral scene for one of the franchise’s biggest characters, it’s nice that this goodbye to Tokyo was humorous and quick. No matter how heart-wrenching the actor’s passing still is, at least his character was given as happy an ending as possible.
Thoughts, Perezcious readers? How do you feel about this send-off? Let us know in the comments (below)!