Aiden in 'And Just Like That'

Was Big a “Big Mistake?” ‘And Just Like That…’ Season 2, Episode 8 Reflection

Season 2, Episode 8 of And Just Like That sees Carrie and Aidan fall into a happy homemaker ritual seemingly overnight. The sparks are flying once again, but there’s just as much comfort as there is erotic attraction. It’s placidity meets passion. It’s sex plus snuggles, and it’s downright adorable.

Spoiler Warning for ‘And Just Like That’ Season 2, Episode 8 

In the latest And Just Like That episode, Miranda is back to her rational ways. In a satisfying reprieve from the lovestruck naivete that has defined her post-Sex and the City persona, she questions Carrie about Aidan from an informed and analytical mindset (oh how we’ve missed this Miranda). She wants to ensure that Carrie isn’t getting swept up in the rose-tinted memories of her past, forgetting the darker periods in their relationship. And this is where Carrie makes a big statement (pun intended). 

Carrie tells Miranda that she’s been having the best orgasms of her life — in splendid Sex and the City, TMI fashion — and she thinks it’s because she’s finally allowing herself to be totally present with Aidan. She believes that before she was holding herself back — as if keeping her total pleasure reserved for Mr. Big. 

Carrie tells Miranda that she’s been contemplating whether Big was just a big mistake. And, Miranda, unable to find the appropriate reply in that big brain of hers is struck silent…eventually verbalizing that she doesn’t know what to say. All those years with Big. All the false promises. All the betrayals. All the breakups and the passionate makeups. The question is: Is Carrie erasing Big at this moment, or merely coming to a realization that fans of the original series made decades prior? 

So, was Mr. Big a “big mistake?” 

It goes without saying that Big put Carrie through the seven circles of hell before becoming a man worthy of her devotion. His lack of emotional availability was a destabilizing force in their romance. He struggled with vulnerability, retaining a stern and stoic expression as Carrie’s face contorted with rage and anguish during their fights. He dismissed her or failed to convey the depth and complexity of his emotions, often leaving Carrie at a loss —  confused and frustrated. She spilled it all, as he bottled it up. 

Big also had major commitment issues. Throughout Sex and the City, he would pull away — only to reappear later to sweep Carrie off her feet with his undeniable charm and sauve skills of seduction. However, this push-and-pull cycle only furthered the instability that defined their on-again / off-again romance. 

Those butterflies in Carrie’s stomach may have been love, but it’s oh-so-probable that they were anxiety: a desire to be with him despite the knowledge that he could — and surely would — slip away once again. 

Big even gets cold feet before their wedding, leaving Carrie humiliated and crying in the middle of the street in a Viviene Westwood wedding gown. Her best friends are there to console her once again — thanks to Mr. Big transitioning to the big jerk he always managed to rediscover. She rightfully slams him with her bouquet — over and over again — beautiful flowers flying through the air and falling to the ground — just as gorgeous and defeated as he left her. Big was, to say the least, a handful. He never earned Carrie; she simply couldn’t relinquish her aching need for him. Their relationship was for the most part — dare we utter the big bad t word — toxic. 

When looking back on Sex and the City, this is not an unfounded realization for Carrie to come to later in life. When the naivete and wonder tied to young love is gone, she can look back and see that she walked away from a man who would never treat her the way Big did. She walked away from stability and kindness. 

Aidan serves as a foil to Mr.Big. He’s open and honest in his communication. He’s supportive of Carrie — never mocking or minimizing her career and ambitions (can we say the same about Big?). And, maybe most importantly, he’s humble and down to earth; humility is not something that ever defined the ego-driven John James Preston — with a name so waspy it screams Amex Centurion Card. 

There’s just one reason Mr. Big had to happen 

At the end of the day, Mr. Big was the excitement Carrie craved. She was so terrified of settling into a humdrum, predictable Leave It to Beaver marriage. And, unfortunately, Aidan’s stability was both his greatest asset and downfall. Big was excitement. Big was thrill. And, in that unpredictability was always a rush of passion and adrenaline. 

Carrie had to choose Big for, if she didn’t, she would have always wondered what could have been. However, now that she knows what was, she is able to look back on her relationship with a more objective lens — unclouded by her pounding heart. She can see that he was often the source of her struggles. The source of her pain.

As much as Big brought Carrie so much joy, he arguably brought her more heartache. He may have been a mistake, but he was a mistake Carrie would have always made — over and over again. Carrie does not erase Big in this And Just Like That moment, nor does she deny the importance he had in her life. Rather, she, at last, places him in a box labeled “realism” not “fantasy.” She only sees him as a possible mistake, for she has the benefit of hindsight now. And, with that, comes an epiphany regarding Aidan. So, maybe we should thank Big for dying, and finally setting Carrie free — free to see the truth she has for so long kept sequestered. (Is that too dark?) 

About the author

Josh Lezmi

Josh is an entertainment writer and editor at Thought Catalog.