Willie Garson's exit from HBO Max's And Just Like That... has been explained.
Garson, who played fan-favorite Stanford Blatch on the Sex and the City revival, died earlier this year while filming the series.
The fourth episode of the revival dropped Thursday, and found Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) back in her old Upper East Side apartment following the death of Mr. Big (Chris Noth).
In a truly shocking scene, she found an envelope with her name on it.
Intrigued, Carrie opens it to learn that it's a goodbye letter from Stanford, who has left the country.
"Dearest Carrie, by the time you read this I'll be in Tokyo. I couldn't tell you — not without crying," a part of the letter read.
"And you have had enough crying."
Stanford's husband, Anthony (Mario Cantone) shed more light on the departure when he showed up at Carrie's apartment.
"You're smoking?" he asked, but Carrie chose to answer by asking a question:
"Stanford's in Japan?"
Anthony showed Carrie a dancer Stanford manages.
"That's Ashley," he shared.
"The 17-year-old Long Island TikTok star he manages. She's huge in Asia. She asked him to go on tour with her. I do not get her, but then I'm old, gay and not Japanese."
"Well fine, good, sayonara," Carrie said. "But why the dramatic note? 'By the time you read this, I'll be in Tokyo.' Who is he, the lost Bronte sister?"
"He said he couldn't bring himself to tell you he was leaving face-to-face after Big died," Anthony said.
"Right, and a note is so much more compassionate," she hit back.
"Oh you know Stanny, he hates to disappoint people ... in person," Anthony responded.
"Still, you know, if something good is happening in one of my friends' lives — and I'm assuming he considers this good — I want to know about it. No matter what is going on in mine. Good news or bad, I want to know," Carrie said.
Anthony then revealed that he also got a letter, asking for a divorce.
"I don't get it. We were so happy," he added.
Indeed, they were happy at one point, but their relationship seemingly fizzled out by the time the reboot started.
Garson was supposed to be seen on-screen say his goodbyes to the characters, but showrunner Michael Patrick King told Vulture that Garson's illness prevented a conclusion that included the late actor.
"My final interaction with Willie came when I spoke to him on the phone about a scene I had written for him to come in and do with Sarah Jessica – just Carrie and Stanford. It was a scene to explain his absence in the series."
"He was very realistic with me; he said, 'Please, don't think I don't want to do it — I can't.' When I remember my time with Willie, the first thing I’ll think of is his love of being an actor. Every part of it."
Parker revealed in the same interview that Garson wanted to give Stanford a bigger role.
"[Willie] intended and wanted to complete the entire season. He had a very significant story line, more so than ever, so it was my fervent hope that he would be able to do it all."
"And for Willie to have to leave, you knew that it was serious."
"If Willie could be there and do one more episode or one more scene, he would have done it."
"But he knew what he needed to do to take care of his son and of himself, and I am so glad that he did that because when he passed away, he wanted to do so in an environment and circumstance that made him feel safe and comfortable."
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.