Throughout the entire episode, Carrie’s confidence is palpable for a change. She seems like she’s getting her mojo back and—unlike Charlotte and Samantha for their own reasons—presents as if she’s truly comfortable being in her 30s. When the other women gripe about the world validating the existence of twenty-somethings, Carrie is the one with the perspective. “The only thing worse than being single in your 30s is being single your 20s.”
The point is highlighted further by the younger women featured in the episode—the 25-year-old fangirl Carrie meets in the Hamptons, Laurel, and Samantha’s entitled assistant, also 25, are written as clueless half-wits, and a cocky 26-year-old dude gives Charlotte crabs. It’s driven home at a book party where Carrie gets approached by a handsome doctor and banters with him like a sexy grown-up, leaving Laurel in awe of her magnetism. “Did you just meet him when I was at the bar? Lady, you’ve got it going on,” she says.
But then that final scene comes along and reverses the episode’s entire stance in one frame. There’s Big, apparently back from Paris at a Hamptons party, holding hands with Natasha, his new and obviously young girlfriend. It’s a startling scene and a sad one, as Carrie shakily asks Big how old Natasha is. “26, 27,” he says vaguely, igniting an insecurity she lacked so visibly during the episode.
The irony is that, much later, a 50-something woman echoes that same insecurity to a 38-year-old Carrie, who is involved with a much older man, but more on that later.
Season 3, episode 9: “Easy Come, Easy Go” (2000)
The clichéd idea of wanting what you can’t have is played up in this episode, and—even if you’re a Mr. Big apologist—it’s probably hard to classify his behavior during this episode as anything other than reprehensible. Big is now married to Natasha and Carrie is with Aidan, although she’s torn about his constant availability and general affability, i.e., she doesn’t understand how to exist in a healthy relationship after two years of adrenaline-fueled push-and-pull with Big. But she does seem happy at the top of the episode, joking around with Aidan at a furniture showcase until—yup, we’re here again—Big shows up with Natasha.