The Aidan and Carrie photos are a ruse! And other harebrained ‘And Just Like That’ theories
Fans of “Sex and the City” have had to weather a lot of twists and turns since their beloved show was revived as “And Just Like That” in late 2021.
First there was the demise, via stationary bike, of a certain cigar-loving steak enthusiast — and the scandal surrounding the actor who played him. Then there was Miranda’s transformation from pragmatic career woman to lovesick dingbat, and the glaring absence of Samantha, a character who now exists solely via text message, like a saucy phantom trapped inside Carrie’s phone. And, lest we forget, there was the whole Che Diaz thing.
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Now, just in time for Valentine’s Day, another bombshell has rocked the “Sex”-iverse: Based on photos from Season 2, currently in production in New York City, Carrie and her long-suffering ex-fiancé Aidan are back together.
Or, at the very least, sucking face in public.
The news first broke last month, when Sarah Jessica Parker shared pictures on Instagram of her and actor John Corbett walking hand-in-hand down the middle of a New York City street. (A nearly identical post appeared on the show’s Instagram account.)
In the weeks since, on-location paparazzi shots have shown Aidan and Carrie engaged in various forms of PDA: at brunch with the girls, flirtatiously wandering the aisles of a kitchen store, canoodling outside her brownstone.
Then in another photo dump Thursday night, Parker upped the ante with images of Carrie and Aidan making out in the middle of traffic at night. (Seriously, you two, try the sidewalk.)
She included a caption that read “This. Is. Not. A. Drill,” as if to reassure fans that Aidan was really, truly coming back to the show, and not just in a dream sequence or some sneaky B.S. like that.
The images have sent fans — including this one — into a speculative frenzy. Could Aidan really be stupid enough to get back together with Carrie? Wasn’t he married? Why does Aidan’s jacket have that belt on it? Does he smoke now?
Perhaps the most pressing question of all: Why would HBO Max reveal such a massive spoiler — via official channels, no less — months before the show is likely to return for Season 2? (No premiere date has been announced.)
I couldn’t help but wonder … Was it all just a well-orchestrated publicity stunt, designed to gin up interest in Season 2 — and perhaps distract us from an even bigger plot twist ahead?
Join me as I consider the most viable theories in The Case of Aidan and Carrie.
Theory No. 1: It’s all a dream
When the photos of Parker and Corbett first landed last month, many fans brushed them off, figuring Aidan probably shows up in a dream sequence, flashback or other nonliteral context.
This would explain why Parker and HBO Max breezily divulged what ought to have been protected like a state secret and suggested that Aidan isn’t really back in Carrie’s life. He’s just living rent-free in her head.
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It would also explain one especially baffling photo of Aidan, who famously hated Carrie’s smoking habit, with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, while at brunch with the gang. Because it’s not actually Aidan but rather a surreal version of him manifested by Carrie’s subconscious. Duh!
Another bit of evidence that might support the dream theory: The last time we saw Carrie in “And Just Like That,” she was embarking on a romance with Cute Podcast Guy, a.k.a. Franklyn (Ivan Hernandez). Photos from Season 2 show Carrie and Franklyn locked in a tender embrace, suggesting she’s taking her new relationship seriously and merely fantasizing about her furniture-making ex.
Besides, would the “AJLT” writers, having killed off Big via Peloton in Season 1, really be so lazy as to resurrect the other real love of Carrie’s life in Season 2?
OK, maybe don’t answer that.
Theory No. 2: Aidan and Carrie actually are back together
The dream theory falls apart when you consider the quantity and the quality of the scenes Corbett has appeared in over the last few weeks. In late January, he and Parker were seen browsing appliances at a midtown kitchen store — just the sort of thing an engaged or soon-to-be-cohabitating couple might do. This week, photographers captured the actors as they filmed a romantic kissing scene on Carrie’s stoop.
Even Smoking Aidan can be explained away in this theory: He’s hamming it up in an attempt to charm Carrie’s wary gal pals — not actually smoking, merely impersonating someone who does. (James Dean? Jean-Paul Belmondo? Ethan Hawke in “Reality Bites”? Your guess is as good as mine.)
A rekindled romance also makes sense when you consider the show’s overall willingness to rehash the same love interests over and over again and the circumstances of Carrie and Aidan’s last meeting.
Perhaps you’ve forgotten — or tried to repress all memories of — the movie “Sex and the City 2,” in which Carrie ran into Aidan, now a dad of three, at a souk in Abu Dhabi. (What are the chances?!), caught up with him over dinner, then kissed him spontaneously, which she later confessed to Big. These two definitely have unresolved feelings.
Still, we are left with questions: How did they wind up crossing paths again? Did Aidan get divorced? And is Carrie prepared to be a stepmom?
Theory No. 3: It’s all an elaborate bait-and-switch
If you’re anything like me, you can’t quite quell a nagging suspicion that there is more to the story.
The original photo of Carrie and Aidan was posted to Instagram last month, reportedly just a few hours after the New York Post reached out to HBO Max for comment regarding a tip about Corbett’s return to the show.
Perhaps the show’s producers and publicists figure the cat was already out of the bag, so they might as well leak the news themselves, on their own terms, and drum up excitement about the new season.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s an even more complicated ruse.
While promoting Season 1, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon told Stephen Colbert they’d filmed fake scenes in view of the paparazzi in order to throw off fans.
Corbett also is known for playfully fibbing to the media: In 2021, he claimed he was going to appear in “quite a few” episodes in Season 1 of “And Just Like That.” So it seems like he’d be game for an even grander misdirection.
It seems possible, even likely, that Aidan will return in a limited capacity and some of the scenes Corbett filmed are fake — decoys to distract the press and the public from an even more shocking plot twist that will eventually be revealed.
So what kind of twist could compare with Big’s death? The possibilities are endless: Carrie discovers that Big faked his demise to run off with “Allegra,” his favorite Peloton instructor. Or perhaps Che, bored with Miranda, pursues an illicit romance with Charlotte. Or maybe Samantha triumphantly returns from London but is now played by Jennifer Coolidge.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to adjust my tinfoil hat.
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