If you were hot on the And Just Like That... rumor circuit ahead of the show’s big premiere on Thursday, the tragic twist at the end of the show’s first episode shouldn’t have surprised you. Rumors were circulating for weeks that Chris Noth’s Mr. Big would be killed off in the front-end of the series, we could never guess, though, how the end of such a long-standing character would go down.
To the sound of Lily Goldenblatt’s masterful piano playing, Big enjoys one last ride on his beloved Peloton as Allegra (played by actual Peloton instructor, Jess King) cheers him on from the screen. It’s an intense workout, which leads to Big collapsing in pain, and dying of a heart attack almost immediately after unclipping. With the bike still in sight, we watch Big come to the realization that this is the end, undoubtedly the worst product placement since the crockpot that killed Jack in season two of This Is Us. The tragic and shocking death left many surprised, including Peloton. According to the company’s Senior Communications Lead Denise Kelly, the company did not know how their product would be incorporated into the show’s storyline.
“HBO procured the Peloton Bike on their own,” Kelly told Buzzfeed, though she did reveal that “Peloton was aware that a bike would be used in the episode and that Jess King would be portraying a fictional Peloton instructor.” HBO kept both episodes and storylines of the new show very under wraps ahead of the premiere, meaning they didn’t even tell Peloton about the scene.
Now, Peloton is in PR mode, sending around a statement from cardiologist Suzanne Steinbaum that it was Big’s “extravagant lifestyle” and not the intense Peloton workout, that led to his death. Steinbaum references Big’s love for “cocktails, cigars, and big steaks” and his “previous cardiac event in Season 6” of the original series as possible reasons for his heart attack. “These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death. Riding his Peloton Bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event,” the statement reads.
And Just Like That...does try to downplay Peloton’s culpability later on, having Miranda express her opinion to Steve that Big’s death wasn’t the bike’s fault. “He got the OK from his cardiologist,” she says. “Exercise is good for the heart.” It seems, though, like the damage has already been done, as Peloton’s stock price dropped more than 11% on Thursday and continues to decline on Friday.