“That night, Charlotte performed a more traditional wifely duty,” Carrie shares. In a red-and-white dress that evokes the 1950s and its social strata, Charlotte wanders out of the kitchen with a big platter of food and invites everyone to dig in -- she’s serving dinner to Tricia, Cliff, and their three children in the shit-stained dining room. Tricia compliments the meal. “Tricia is amazed that anyone cooks,” mutters her husband. “Well, Tricia has three kids, which keeps her kinda busy,” Tricia snipes back, smiling through gritted teeth. Kids scream. One son complains about sitting next to Charlotte and slides under the table. The other brandishes his ruby-slipper-clad feet, and his sister announces that he wears her shoes. Basically, the scene is one of a marriage crumbling because having kids ruined everything. Charlotte and Trey look frightened. Cut to them sleeping back-to-back, with space between them. Sometimes, “inaction speaks louder than words,” Carrie offers in voice-over.
For her part, Carrie is “full of words” at her dinner with CIM, Steve, and Miranda. She’s telling a not-very-interesting story about pests in her apartment, and she’s doing it with all the gloss and finesse of someone who’s terrified that silence will betray the façade of normalcy, and who therefore clogs the air with meaningless words. Everyone willingly participates, Miranda even offering the “oh me, oh my!” gesture of clapping her hands to her cheeks as an expression of surprise at the twist in Carrie’s story-with-no-twists. As the laughter decrescendos, CIM touches Carrie’s hand and smiles almost imperceptibly at her, which stops her in her tracks. Steve and CIM then riff about men going to the bathroom in pairs, agreeing to break with convention and go together. Carrie, practically licking her lips, tells Miranda that she can go now, back to banal anal subplot hell. And she should take Steve with her, because he’s outlived his usefulness.
Four blocks away, Carrie has walked CIM to his front stoop. It’s like this: CIM is hot, and there’s no getting around it, although he’s certainly trying by wearing that weird flimsy cotton shirt. It’s like a pirate shirt cross-bred with a season of Miami Vice. CIM says it was great to see her, and Carrie takes this as the cue to admit she wants him back. “Fuck, I…was afraid you were going to say something like that,” CIM stammers. Apparently, he was game to try a friendship, but nothing else. She is stunned. “You…put your hand on my hand,” she chokes. CIM is adorably confused. She repeats herself, and looks up at him imploringly. “I was trying to make you comfortable,” he says. “You seemed so nervous,” what with that nightmarish bug story and all. “Then I guess…” Carrie turns around, winces, and breathes something like, “fuck,” then turns around and says goodnight. She starts to walk away just as he leans in to kiss her, and it ends up that he catches her around the waist and kisses the side of her mouth. It’s a nicely done awkward moment, and it really is unclear just why CIM would choose to kiss her at all, even a platonic peck, after rejecting her. Carrie is equally confused by this, but continues walking away, with just the merest touch of the spot on her mouth that his lips grazed. That was a pretty good scene; SJP and CIM do seem to have nice on-screen heat.