As Carrie held Big in her arms as he slowly faded from the world in And Just Like That's opening episode, it was unquestionably the worst moment of her life to date. The writer was no stranger to heartbreak, but the death of her husband was a new kind of pain that jolted her into unchartered territory.
Nothing in her world had prepared her for that moment – or the days, weeks, months and years of adjusting to a world without Big.
But little did Carrie know that the most tragic development was yet to come.
The AJLT season 2 finale was abuzz with activity as showrunner, writer and director Michael Patrick King set the stage for the now confirmed third season. Miranda, whose career is once again on an upward trajectory, cleared the air with both Steve and Che, Charlotte is committed to making her re-entry into the art world work, and Carrie has finally bid adieu to her beloved apartment as she settles into her opulent townhouse with her new housemate.
But said housemate is not Aidan, the very reason she purchased the property in the first place. All that extra space – and there's a lot, far more than any one person could ever need – would be put to good use when his boys came to stay in New York.
Instead, Carrie will be living there alone with her kitten – who is a delight, we should add – and she'll be doing that for not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE WHOLE YEARS.
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It was an especially cruel blow considering Aidan had not long stepped inside her apartment after repeatedly refusing not to, suggesting their future together was about to begin.
Yes, Aidan has returned to Virginia and there he will stay for half a decade, apparently, following the antics of his son Wyatt. The 14-year-old was so distressed by his dad's absences during his visits to see Carrie that he had crashed Aidan's truck into a tree while high on magic mushrooms, breaking several bones in the process.
"Just give me some time," Aidan asked Carrie when he told her he was heading straight back to Norfolk following their conversation and staying firmly put for now. But giving someone time and essentially disappearing from their life for FIVE WHOLE YEARS (yes, I'm still on the all caps) are two wildly differing requests.
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To ease their collective heartache, Aidan attempted to reassure Carrie that their hiatus would fly by quicker than a snap of the fingers, just as the past decade had. And although she was bitterly disappointed, the cracks in her heart almost audible, Carrie took the news in her stride, which isn't something that could be said for most people.
She'd waited this long for him. What was another few years? After all, the course of true love never did run smooth.
The death of Big would also undoubtedly have bolstered her ability to shoulder life's great burdens.
But although this latest obstacle in Carrie's life seemingly pales in comparison to Big's demise, in some ways it's actually worse. As harrowing as that experience was, the door was firmly closed on that chapter and in time, Carrie was able to turn her gaze towards the future, because what other option was there? As painful, and at times impossible, as it was engaging with the world following his death, there was certainty, however heavy the weight of that was at the time.
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Carrie and Big's future, or lack thereof, was set in stone.
Plus, as we later learned, Carrie had apparently been married to the wrong man all along. They were not meant to be, despite what six seasons and two movies had led us to believe, which in time helped her to recalibrate her sense of self.
But Carrie and Aidan's future is cloaked in uncertainty.
This current predicament, by contrast, sees Carrie trapped in the worst kind of limbo. The couple almost had it. After previously being driven apart by circumstance or bad timing or whatever you want to call it, they were ready to step into the future together. But now, they must wait, and wait, and wait yet again, until the universe finally gives them the nod.
It's a horror show ending for both of them after suffering a death and a divorce respectively, and there is every chance that their waiting game will not pan out as they both hope.
As we saw with Big, who knows what destabilising events could be lurking around the corner?
And Just Like That is available to watch on Sky Comedy and NOW in the UK and on HBO Max in the US.
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