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And Just Like That Dredges Up the Old Big Vs. Aidan Rivalry… Again

Big is gone, so why is Carrie still pitting him against Aidan?
  • Chris Noth and John Corbett in Sex and the City and And Just Like That... (Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection;  Craig Blankenhorn/Max)
    Chris Noth and John Corbett in Sex and the City and And Just Like That... (Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection; Craig Blankenhorn/Max)

    Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Aidan (John Corbett) are back in their love bubble. Their reunion is reminiscent of when the pair first got together in Sex and the City Season 3, before Big (Chris Noth) and the weight of real commitment ruined everything. In And Just Like That… Season 2, Episode 8, “A Hundred Years Ago,” Carrie and Aidan rarely leave bed, and when they do, it’s to cook together with a big blue pot in Che’s (Sara Ramírez) kitchen, the kind of cute things that couples do together when things are still fresh.

    But the problem still is, things aren’t fresh — as shown in the previous episode, so many of the same problems that plagued this couple before are just as relevant all these years later. And all those days in bed take place anywhere but Carrie’s apartment because Aidan can’t bear to stand on the building’s stoop, let alone step inside. And now, to make matters worse, Carrie has to go and bring up Big again.

    “I’ve been asking myself, ‘Was Big a big mistake?’” Carrie says to Miranda (Cynthia Nixon). It’s proof that Carrie can’t help but live in the past — her husband of 15 years is dead and buried and still she’s creating competition between him and Aidan. Later in the episode, she even brings up the former rivalry to Aidan, ensuring that neither of them forgets how things ended last time. Again in that moment, she refers to Big as a “mistake,” implying that Aidan would have been the “correct” choice. Maybe they were both mistakes.

    There’s no good vs. evil or right vs. wrong when it comes to Big and Aidan. Throughout all of Sex and the City, both showed time and time again that they weren’t necessarily the best match for Carrie, let alone faultless human beings. Big was always egotistical, materialistic, stubborn, and bad at communicating. He cheated on multiple partners — with Carrie, a reminder that she herself is no angel. He made Carrie rethink her stance on marriage only to leave her at the altar. And Aidan, well, we’ve gone on enough about that dirtbag. Carrie had moments of joy with both men, but neither was the perfect partner. In pitting these two against each other, Carrie is closing her mind to the possibility that there are other, better options out there for her.

    Reviving the Sex and the City storyline for And Just Like That… also just makes the series itself seem dated. The DNA of the previous show should always be evident in the spin-off, of course — “A Hundred Years Ago” in particular proves that the series is at its best when it maintains the original spirit of the core characters. Miranda once again becoming the voice of reason, Charlotte (Kristin Davis) going on her own side quest to fit into a particular dress, and Carrie openly talking about her sex life are details that are essential to who these people are, even if we have seen them before. But the very specific and seemingly unwinnable battle between Carrie’s two big loves? Been there, done that. It’s time to move on.

    This season, AJLT and Carrie have shown that neither needs to be bogged down by either man. Pairing Carrie with people like Franklyn (Ivan Hernandez) and George (Peter Hermann) has brought back the fun of single Carrie from the original series while still exploring something new. What does dating as a successful fiftysomething in New York City look like? Former sex columnist and woman-about-town Carrie Bradshaw seems like the perfect person to find out. She just needs to leave the baggage of lackluster men behind.

    New episodes of And Just Like That… drop Thursdays on Max. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R. 

    TOPICS: And Just Like That, Max, Chris Noth, Cynthia Nixon, John Corbett, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sara Ramirez