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‘And Just Like That’ Writers on Aidan and Carrie’s Reunion: “We Have Tricks Up Our Sleeves”

[This story contains spoilers from And Just Like That season two, episode eight: “February 14th.”]

And just like that… Aidan is back.

In the latest episode of And Just Like That, the Max sequel series has welcomed back Aidan (John Corbett) to the Sex and the City universe. The ex of protagonist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) was last seen in the Sex and the City movie sequel. After grieving the loss of her husband Mr. Big (Chris Noth) in the first season of And Just Like That, Carrie finds herself thinking about her old flame when returning to the dating scene in season two: Last episode, an email was sent and this week, a dinner ensues. But decades of baggage are then unpacked on Carrie’s famous West Village doorstep.

“The minute I knew we were doing a season two — before I even started writing — there was only one word in my mind for the season: Aidan,” Michael Patrick King told The Hollywood Reporter ahead of season two’s release. The And Just Like That showrunner said the first person he approached with the idea was Parker (who is also an executive producer); then he went to the studio and then the writers. “It felt like it would create excitement, which is great as a showrunner. And as a writer, it creates a very complicated past that we’re bringing into the present.”

Aidan’s And Just Like That debut comes at the very end of the (July 27) Valentine’s Day episode “February 14th,” written by Samantha Irby. And it’s a moment franchise fans have been waiting for ever since Corbett’s casting first leaked. The show’s second season trailer officially confirmed Aidan’s return after paparazzi photos (which Parker even addressed on her Instagram account) spoiled his comeback. “We knew Sarah Jessica and John Corbett were going to be seen on the street together filming, so we sort of said, ‘Well, it’s there in the world,’” King had told THR of rolling with the leak.

Parker herself also spoke about the reunion to THR, in an interview before the SAG-AFTRA strike. “I think they would project a hurdle and discover that there is less so,” she said of their shared history, which plays out in the episode-ending conversation. “They are mature adults. They’ve had a lot of experience; separate lives, children, the loss of a husband. Just everyday accumulation of life events that make you better equipped to deal with another person you love or value or have affection for. And so I think … you prepare yourself for an obstacle that may not exist.”

King and his writers made Sex and the City fans wait seven episodes before getting their Carrie and Aidan fix, and the reunion now raises questions about what And Just Like That will look like with Aidan back in the mix. “Aidan, in the original series, was Carrie’s best boyfriend. He is the one who should have won,” explained Irby on the show’s official And Just Like That… The Writers Room podcast. “Aidan is so hot. He’s so nice. He builds furniture with his hands. He and Carrie had such an insane chemistry, it was like jumping off the screen. They just looked so good and perfect.”

Joining Irby on the podcast were King and writers Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky. King echoed the chemistry as being an instigating factor in revisiting Aidan, and Rottenberg revealed that she initially wasn’t a fan of bringing Aidan back on Sex and the City after their first break-up. “She was worried about re-trod turf and wanted to say, ‘Haven’t we already done him?’” King revealed, also sharing Rottenberg’s notes about his style, which King then shared with Corbett, whom he said was a good sport (“He was eating fried chicken when I told him”).

“We gave John a makeover. We cut his hair, we took the turquoise jewelry away. We told him he had to be rock-hard when he came back,” said King. “It was a story choice: If we’re bringing somebody back, we have to find some way to bring him back in a new way.”

He continued, “So here we are now, bringing Aidan back, again, and we have tricks up our sleeves as to how he is new and what we can actually do with the storyline considering — and it’s a very big consider — all the water under the bridge, all the pain they’ve already been through, how much Carrie has hurt him in the past — according to fan boards… twice — and how badly he took the break up.”

The writing team again clarified they never thought about bringing Aidan back during season one (Corbett made comments as a joke that, well, got carried away at the time). “There was no way he would ever exist in Carrie’s mind,” said King of Carrie suffering the loss of Big. Rottenberg added, “I think if Big hadn’t died, I don’t think she ever would have reached out to [Aidan] again.”

King said next week’s eighth episode will bring about more details about Aidan’s life, and he stressed how nothing about Aidan is ever casual. “The tone immediately should be different to people. Carrie is like, ‘I want to go on a date with him.’ Right up front. She’s not downplaying it. She’s like, ‘I said yes to the date. I knew it was Valentine’s Day. I want to have a date with him,’” he said. “Carrie points out in the scene that it’s been 13 years since she’s even seen Aidan. Which is kind of shocking to think about the stuff we’re about to pull off, which is John Corbett, Sarah Jessica in a scene after 14 years of an absence. That never happens, because no one plays a character for 25 years. Sarah Jessica did.”

Here’s a look back on the Carrie-Aidan saga to help predict how it might unfold as the second season continues. Can they check their baggage? Four episodes remain…

Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie) and John Corbett (Aidan) act in a scene from the HBO television series

Aidan (John Corbett) and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) in their first Sex and the City episode. Paramount Pictures/Newsmakers/Getty Images

When Carrie Met Aidan

The third season of the HBO series introduced furniture-maker and all-around good guy Aidan Shaw into Carrie’s life. Carrie meets Aidan in the episode “No Ifs, Ands, or Butts,” when Stanford (Willie Garson) pushes her to approach him; his dog, Pete, memorably runs after her, instigating their meet-cute. The pair quickly begin their relationship, with Carrie even giving up her cigarettes (eventually) at his request. The role, which Corbett turned down initially over nudity concerns, was expanded after originally being written for three episodes.

Why Didn’t They End Up Together?

Once Carrie put his engagement ring on her necklace, it was all over. But long before that, Carrie could never quite commit to Aidan. Whether running from meeting his parents or pushing back on moving in together, Carrie’s heart, ultimately, belonged with Big — whom she had an episodes-long affair with while dating Aidan the first time around, in season three.

Once Carrie came clean to Aidan, he called off their relationship outside of Charlotte’s (Kristin Davis) wedding to Trey (Kyle MacLachlan). Carrie begged for his forgiveness, but he told her it’s not so simple and kissed her on the forehead: “I really loved you.”

In the fourth season, after Carrie officially ended things with Mr. Big, she and Aidan reconciled. But it was bumpy from the start. Who could forget Aidan screaming outside her doorstep, “You broke my heart!” Her commitment issues and his trust issues over her affair (she recoiled when returning home, and he would ask, “What’s up? Where you been? Who’d you see?”) ultimately prove too big to get over. He gave her an unfair ultimatum to go through with the wedding and when she couldn’t do it, they called it quits for good.

John Corbett and Sarah Jessica Parker in SEX AND THE CITY 2.

Aidan (John Corbett) and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) in Sex and the City 2. Craig Blankenhorn/©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

His Little and Big Screen Returns

Carrie would go on to bump into Aidan at two later points in the Sex and the City universe. First came in the premiere of the sixth and final season of the original series (“To Market, to Market”) when Carrie runs into into a married Aidan, wearing his son in a baby carrier, on the street.

“[The show was] ready to move on and so, they came up with this idea, ‘How can we just put a nail in this coffin?’ And it was: Stick him on the street with a baby and the audience will see that he moved on, and that’ll be that,” Corbett revealed in an interview at the time about his Sex and the City cameo targeting the fans who couldn’t let go of Carrie and Aidan (viewers created a campaign where they sent popsicle-stick furniture to HBO). “I think they just wanted to stop people asking for Aidan again and concentrate on getting on with the show.”

As Sex and the City viewers know, Carrie ends up with Big. And while Corbett has said he agreed with that choice, he still made an appearance in Sex and the City 2. When Carrie, on vacation with the girls in Abu Dhabi, bumps into Aidan again, the pair have dinner and kiss despite both of them being in other relationships.

Carrie and Big’s relationship survives the Aidan hiccup but, of course, their love story is cut short when he dies suddenly of a heart attack in the opener of And Just Like That. Now, more than one year later in the show’s world, the Sex and the City widow finds herself thinking about Aidan while dating again. So she fires off a note to the last email address she had for Aidan: “Hey Stranger … Remember me? IF this is still your email, it’s me — Carrie. Was just thinking about you the other day … and I wondered how you were doing. So, how ya doing?”

And Just Like That

Carrie (Parker) and Aidan (Corbett) in And Just Like That. Courtesy of Max

What Happens on And Just Like That?

Aidan responds quickly; so quickly, in fact, that Carrie’s first response is to slam her computer shut in surprise. In his email, he asks Carrie out for dinner, and it just happens to be Valentine’s Day. Carrie meets Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) for lunch and, in a scene that feels like a callback to the original series, the three friends debate Aidan’s intentions. “Full disclosure: I knew it was Valentine’s Day when I wrote back ‘yes’ to his email,” Carrie admits.

Carrie goes to meet Aidan at the restaurant. But there’s a mix-up and she sits alone for most of the night. Her phone dies and she thinks she may have been stood up (the storyline, King said on the podcast, was actually taken from a similar mix-up he had when trying to meet Noth for dinner to talk about And Just Like That season one). When Carrie and Aidan finally set eyes on each other, the relieved exes settle into a dinner scene like no time has passed. They talk about his weight loss (“I lost 40 pounds… since I emailed you last week,” he jokes) and he gives his condolences over Big, sharing that he read her book.

But when he takes her home and she invites him upstairs, the familiar apartment they once shared triggers him about their past. “At the restaurant I just thought, how great, this feels really great. We’re back where we started. But this is where we ended. With the fuckin’ wall I couldn’t break through and those floors… remember the floors I redid? That’s all bad. It’s just— it’s all in there,” he tells her. She tries to convince him “it wasn’t all bad,” but he tells her he still can’t bring himself to ever go back in that apartment. “I guess time doesn’t heal everything,” she says.

But just when viewers might think Aidan is actually walking away, he turns around and suggests they find a hotel instead. “And just like that… Aidan and I were back on the same page,” says Carrie in voiceover as they kiss on her street.

If looking for more clues, when THR asked whether or not King is now Team Aidan, the writer and showrunner clarified he remains Team Carrie but “everybody smells a good thing here.”

And Just Like That streams new episodes Thursdays on Max.



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