Thursday saw the release of the first episode of And Just Like That..., the HBO Max reboot of Sex and the City, and fans were in for a, well, Big surprise.
(Stop reading now if you don't want to know what happens.)
When Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is pressured into attending the piano recital of one of Charlotte's (Kristin Davis) children, she leaves her husband Big/John (Chris Noth) at home for a night exercising on his Peloton, the exercise bike that became wildly popular during the pandemic. He even has a favorite instructor, a Barcelona-born woman named Allegra (played by real Peloton instructor Jess King).
"Tell that whore Allegra I said bye," Carrie jokes as she leaves the apartment.
Those turn out to be her final words to her husband.
Yes, Big suffers a heart attack after a particularly intense workout. Carrie comes home from the concert to find him collapsed in the bathroom with the shower running. He dies in her arms.
The twist, which will ostensibly allow this new show to explore a whole new chapter in Carrie's dating life, stunned viewers.
Vulture even called it "the worst Peloton ad ever."
But the news seems to also have caught Peloton by surprise.
When pushed for details by BuzzFeed News on how the product placement came to be, Peloton spokesperson Denise Kelly said the company approved King's appearance but indicated that it didn't know about the plotline.
"HBO procured the Peloton Bike on their own," Kelly said. "Peloton was aware that a Bike would be used in the episode and that Jess King would be portraying a fictional Peloton instructor."
"Due to confidentiality reasons, HBO did not disclose the larger context surrounding the scene to Peloton in advance," Kelly said.
Representatives for HBO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
When first contacted by BuzzFeed News, Kelly initially emailed through a statement from Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist and member of their health and wellness advisory council.
In the statement, Steinbaum blamed the character's "extravagant lifestyle" and history of heart disease for his demise — and defended the bike.
"I'm sure SATC fans, like me, are saddened by the news that Mr. Big dies of a heart attack. Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle — including cocktails, cigars, and big steaks — and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in Season 6. 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."
Shares in Peloton, already on the decline as people head back to gyms, took a Big dive on Thursday.
They ended trading down almost $5, closing at $40.70.
This story has been updated with a revised comment from Peloton. Spokesperson Denise Kelly originally said Peloton provided HBO with a bike for the episode. She emailed after this story was published to say she was incorrect and that HBO procured its own bike.