In that vein, Miranda’s sexual fluidity is an audacious story to tell. That’s not only because a sexual awakening in midlife is a big thing but also because we rarely see a story line in which a mature woman has to face the fact that she’s gotten everything she ever asked for, and she doesn’t want any of it.
Cynthia Nixon is uniquely positioned to tell this story. Like her character, she was once married to a man with whom she had kids, but she later came out as queer. Sara Ramirez, who plays Che, was also in a heterosexual marriage and came out as bisexual, and later, as nonbinary, identifying as neither exclusively female or male. Ramirez, who uses nonbinary pronouns, split from their husband earlier this year.
Perhaps it’s Nixon’s and Ramirez’s ability to identify so closely with their characters’ experiences that makes for such a convincing love scene between them. It’s exciting and erotic, especially considering this is the first time in this series that we’re seeing any of these characters have any actual sex. It feels essential to include that in a show that promises to portray well-rounded accounts of older women. As a viewer, I got caught up in the thrill of where it all could be going until Carrie brings Miranda back down to earth, reminding her that she is married.
At that point, we find out that Miranda is struggling with more than just an attraction to Che. “I’m unhappy,” she says through chokes. She hates her marriage, hates her life and feels trapped.
This is a story made all the more compelling because of the character’s age. By this point, Miranda has been married for going on two decades, and the toll that comes from having suppressed so much of herself for so long — in particular, lately, through the boozing — is palpable Miranda finally sees the drinking as the Band-Aid that it is and dumps her stash down the drain.
But there is an antidote to all this belated grief, which we see through the lens of Rose. Charlotte and Harry’s daughter, at age 12, isn’t wasting years. She doesn’t identify as a girl (or at least solely as a girl), and in this episode, she begins going by the name Rock and using they/them pronouns.