Throwback Thursday Recap! Sex and the City: Carrie Breaks Aidan's Heart (for the First Time)

We look back on the cult favorite series' season three episode "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

By Tierney Bricker Apr 19, 2013 1:00 AMTags
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To celebrate the Internet's obsession with Throwback Thursday, we will be recapping our favorite past episodes of television every week. Got a suggestion for what to recap next? Hit us up in the comments!

Today's recap: It's Sex and City's third-season episode, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Finally, after weeks of cheating and lies, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) came clean to Aidan (John Corbett) about her affair with Big (Chris Noth). Her timing wasn't great; she blurted it out right before she and Aidan were supposed to leave for Charlotte's (Kristen Davis) wedding. What followed next was one of the most realistic and painful couple breakups in television history. But let's back up a bit.

We are only a week away from Charlotte's perfect wedding to Trey (Kyle MacLachlan), and our gals are all having issues. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) doesn't want to be a dateless bridesmaid, Samantha (Kim Cattrall) wants to bed Trey's Scottish relative and Carrie is debating between keeping her Big affair a secret from her wonderful loving boyfriend or coming clean. Oh, and Charlotte hasn't had sex with Trey yet, because she wanted to save herself for the wedding night. What could go wrong with any of these situations? Oh, that's right. Everything.

Miranda tries her hand at speed dating and ends up meeting handsome Harris, who later joins S.H.I.E.L.D. and sacrifices his life in order to rally the Avengers and save the world. That's right, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) plays the ER doctor that Miranda lies to about her occupation. Suddenly stewardess! The morning of Charlotte's wedding, Miranda cuts herself while slicing a bagel, and when she asks Harris if she should get stitches, he freaks out. Turns out, he was lying about being an ER doc to impress Miranda. Instead of coming clean, Miranda tells him to get out and that she hopes she never has him on one of her flights. She lost a date, but she kept her dignity…? Discuss.

Samantha is successful in seducing the Scottish groomsman, Caleb (Ritchie Coster). His dirty talk is hard to understand with his thick accent. The end.

Charlotte gets drunk the night before her wedding and slinks over to Trey's apartment for some nookie. Trey puts the "no" in "nookie" when he's not able to perform sexually for his soon-to-be-wife, and that's when he drops the bombshell that he often has this problem. And what's worse: he doesn't think it's a big deal. Charlotte clearly feels otherwise, but she says nothing until literally the moment before she is supposed to walk down the aisle. She tells her maid of honor Carrie that Trey "can't get it up," and she's worried she's about to make a big mistake. Carrie tries to soothe her, even offering up the old excuse: "Maybe he jerked off before you got there, and he was too embarrassed to tell you." Charlotte still looks hesitant, so Carrie tells her that they can run away together, and everyone else can "get over it." But she's in a super expensive Vera Wang gown, and she does love Trey, so she's going through with it. Yay for marriages that start with denial!

Which brings us to our sweet, curly-haired Carrie. She can't take the secret anymore, so when Aidan comes to pick her up for Charlotte's wedding, she comes clean. Aidan is stunned and leaves almost immediately. The episode is titled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but Carrie does tell: "I cheated." And she does ask: "Can we stay together despite this?"

We find out later after the ceremony that Aidan cannot stay with Carrie after what she did to him. Outside the church where two people were joined together, another twosome was falling apart. Carrie resorted to just above begging to try and keep Aidan, who gave the simplest (yet most profound) reason why they couldn't stay together:

"I just know myself. This isn't the kind of thing I can get over."

So Carrie had to watch Aidan walk out of her life. And while she's dissolving into tears, Miranda calls her over for wedding photos. Because who doesn't want their pain documented for life? But it's there, standing beside her best friends on the church steps, where she comes to at least one happy revelation:

"It's hard to find people who will love you no matter what. I was lucky enough to find three of them."

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'Twas the end of Carrie and Aidan, at least for the first time. On a scale of one to ten, how badly did your heartbreak for Carrie during the breakup? Or were you more heartbroken for Aidan?&