Carrie Diaries Finale Recap: California Dreamin'?

The Carrie Diaries finale recapShe may have thick blond hair and a closet full of half-shirts and flared skirts, but Carrie Bradshaw is no Malibu Barbie. (Just suggesting as much feels like blasphemy!)

Of course, it’s an 18-year-old’s prerogative to not have herself or her destiny entirely sorted out, which is why we’ll forgive our titular heroine for choosing a West Coast future after watching her life implode in the Season 2 (and quite possibly series) finale of The Carrie Diaries.

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But hey, just because you make it all the way to the fabulous TWA Terminal — to attend a wedding, of all things! — doesn’t mean you have to get on a plane. So let’s pithily recap the action from the final hour of utterly charming, pre-Sex and the City adventures.

Our core Castlebury, Conn. players — Mouse, Maggie and Walt (along with Mr. Bradshaw and Dorrit) — all scored happy endings, to one degree or another. Mouse, having been named co-valedictorian with ex-boyfriend West, engaged in a battle over their shared prize (a single encyclopedia sex set) that predictably wound up with a final sexual tryst, a sweet breakfast at the diner and a cordial farewell. Maggie, after finding a red herring phone number in Pete’s pocket, got a marriage proposal. And Walt (I’ll miss you most of all!) got accepted to Pratt, meaning continued future connections to Carrie and boyfriend Bennett. Back on the home front, Dorrit decided to be nice to her dad, even if it made both of ’em a little uncomfortable.

This left most of the hour to focus on Carrie, Sebastian and the NYC players. And under the heading of “father knows best,” Mr. Bradshaw’s worst fear came true on Carrie’s first day on the job at Interview. She got canned — or rather, swept into the can along with Larissa when the flighty editrix forgot to mention La Warhol in a New York Times piece — and paid the price. Not that Larissa minded, mind you: It just meant she had more time to focus on her impending nuptials with Harlan (which went down at the architecturally stunning TWA terminal at JFK). Oh Lord, those vows about Harlan introducing Larissa to the Mile High Club, and Larissa fondly recalling the couple’s christening of the first-class lounge, couldn’t have happened in a church, that’s for sure.

Samantha, meanwhile, kept finding Elliott (the married paramour she’d dumped when she’d discovered complications in his open marriage) outside the horse-race betting parlor she frequented as her “safe space.” (Side note: The unexpected convergence of one of my fave TV characters with my favorite sport makes me unspeakably giddy.) Chemistry drew them together for one more romp, but it also caused the professor to leave his wife — and propose a deeper relationship with our commitment-phobic sex kitten. We left them as they entered an OTB (not a euphemism) arm-in-arm. But trust me, based on my knowledge of what those places looked and smelled like before they shut down a few years back, let’s hope no, um, “christening” occurred.

And finally, we come to Carrie. With her job gone kablooey and the NYU admissions office telling her she’d missed her shot ’til the spring semester (at best), she agreed to head to Cali with Sebastian, a decision that turned her relationship with her dad from chilly to Polar Vortex-ian. But after heart-to-hearts with nomadic Samantha and dreamy ex Weaver (le sigh), we could see her doubts begin to percolate. When Sebastian approached her at the wedding and asked, “You’re not comin’, are you?” it was clear the end was near — for the star-crossed couple, anyhow. “Even though there’s nothing for me here — no job, no college — I have to stay here and fight for my life,” Carrie explained. Sebastian, heartbreakingly, told her he’d look for her byline in the future, and “know I was lucky enough to love that girl.” (No, I never really bought the epic-ness of Bradshaw-Kydd — of course, I didn’t want Carrie to end up with Big, either — but it sure was a moving finish.)

Run to YouAnd thus, it was Carrie who wound up subletting Larissa’s massive apartment (for a mere $550 a month — ahhh, the ’80s!). But in the episode’s best twist, our protagonist ended the episode with a phone call to an unseen individual, who quickly arrived at the apartment door. Who else could it be but Samantha Jones? And what else could happen but Carrie asking her to move in — as long as she promised not to borrow her underwear anymore. “I stopped wearing underwear,” Samantha shot back, “so it shouldn’t be a problem.” Cue the whole Castlebury and NYC gang at a quaint West Village eatery — being waited on by Carrie herself.

Yep, she’s gonna make it after all…

What did you think of the Carrie Diaries finale? If it’s a series finale, do you feel like your favorite characters got an appropriate sendoff? Grade the episode below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!