Jon Tenney and Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of <i>And Just Like That</i>
Jon Tenney and Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of And Just Like That (Photo: James Devaney/GC Images)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 9 of And Just Like That…

Carrie Bradshaw is dating again. Well, in theory she is, anyway. Since the death of her husband in the series premiere—somewhere between three months and a year and a half ago—she’s had a few less-than-ideal run-ins with Peter (Jon Tenney). No last name; just Peter. Of course, Carrie is understandably hesitant to put herself out there again. But And Just Like That seems to be positioning the handsome, seemingly sweet natured Peter as a potentially significant love interest. (Never mind that with only one episode left and no Season 2 pick-up announced, it’s hard to see where this nascent relationship might be going.)

But what do we know, really, about this “Peter” character? The show hasn’t given us much to work with so far, but here are the basics: he’s 53, he’s a widower and he’s a teacher—possibly at Charlotte’s kids’ school?

We gleaned most of the info above from our first glimpse of ol’ Pete on Carrie’s phone. In Episode 7, “Sex and the Widow,” Carrie’s publisher has been pressuring her to go on a date so that she can write about it, adding a glimmer of hope to her new memoir about grieving Big’s death. Luckily, Seema (Sarita Choudhury) has already signed her up for a dating app, and whilst swiping, Carrie matches with Peter. Interestingly, she initially swipes right past him, but then goes back—obviously Seema sprung for the premium membership—possibly because he included “widower” in his profile description? Or could it be because he resembles a certain novelist from her past? More on that later.

Jon Tenney in <i>And Just Like That</i>
Jon Tenney in And Just Like That (Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max)

So, their first date starts out awkwardly. We learn that it is also Peter’s first date since losing his wife to ovarian cancer. Carrie suggests that they order drinks to ease the tension, and then we smash cut to the two of them leaving the restaurant laughing hysterically—and then vomiting on the sidewalk. Ugh. Now, beyond this being an embarrassingly juvenile ploy for cheap laughs that strains credibility, I think the show made a huge mistake here not giving us more of their interaction on this date. We have no idea how or if they connected or what they both found so hilarious. We’re missing all of the details whereby we, as an audience, can understand why Carrie might give this guy a second chance.

Which she does, after he bids $1,050 of his teacher salary on her at an auction benefiting Charlotte and LTW’s kids’ exclusive private school—where he presumably works! Honestly, I’m not even sure what to make of any of that. Like, maybe he likes her so much he’s willing to take what amounts to a pay cut for a month or something? Because if I’ve learned anything from Gossip Girl 2.0, it’s that Manhattan private school teachers are underpaid as well as traumatized by their monstrously privileged students. Anyway, from their brief, post-auction interaction, we finally get a little hint at their chemistry. They’ve got good banter! Also, for whatever it’s worth, we learn that Peter teaches math. So, there’s that.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Jon Tenney in And Just Like That
Sarah Jessica Parker and Jon Tenney in And Just Like That (Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max)

That’s the last we see of Peter for a couple weeks, only for him to reappear in the show’s most recent episode “No Strings Attached,” for his belated do-over date with Carrie. Except the date never happens. Carrie shows up early to the restaurant where they’re meeting just to tell Peter in person that she’s not ready. See, she had a little freak-out when she tried to take off her wedding ring and ended up putting Big’s on instead. To his credit, Peter is super understanding. He’s still mourning too—he admits that he still listens to the last voicemail he received from his wife—and wonders if he and Carrie both aren’t trying to gloss over their pain by forcing themselves back onto the dating market.

Sidebar: I’m confused about Peter arriving for their date in a cab. Not an Uber, an actual yellow taxi. This suggests several puzzling things about his income. Like, apparently he can not only afford to just take a cab for no reason, but he can also afford to live in Manhattan, as I’m pretty sure yellow cabs exist basically nowhere else in New York City these days. I mean, I guess taking a cab every now and then isn’t going to bankrupt a single 53-year-old professional. But I’m still just very unclear about the socio-economic status of Manhattan private school teachers, and of this show’s understanding of the same. Because it’s not like this hasn’t been an issue in Carrie’s dating life before.

Ron Livingston and Sara Jessica Parker in <i>Sex and the City</i>
Ron Livingston and Sara Jessica Parker in Sex and the City (Photo: HBO)

Which brings me to my Berger theory. Peter looks suspiciously like Carrie’s old flame (played by Ron Livingston), who infamously dumped her via a Post-It note because he couldn’t handle the fact that she was more successful than he was. Now, if I’ve learned anything from Agatha Christie mysteries, it’s that people can become fully unrecognizable to people who know them simply with the aid of a wig and a wad of cotton stuffed in their mouth. Is it possible that Peter is in fact Berger in disguise??? Like, maybe Berger’s writing career never bounced back from the failure of his first novel and now he’s after Carrie’s millions!

Seriously though, Tenney’s passing resemblance to Livingston as well as his character’s comparatively modest profession does invite comparisons to the Berger fiasco. But Peter doesn’t seem like the type of man who would be threatened by his girlfriend’s success. And judging by the way he throws money around at auctions and on cabs, maybe his wife left him as well off as Big left Carrie! He’s also not a fellow writer. He and Carrie are in different fields entirely, so it’s unlikely that he would constantly compare his career status to hers.

The picture of Peter that’s beginning to emerge here is of a kind, patient man with a good sense of humor and plenty of inexplicable disposable income. He’s good on paper, as Carrie used to say, and she does seem to be developing an affectionate fondness for him, as evidenced by the hug she gives him before heading home after their aborted date in this week’s episode. By the end, she’s texted him to schedule yet another do-over. But is he the guy for her? Who even knows! As noted above, next week is the finale, and we still don’t know whether And Just Like That will return for a second season, so there’s only so much runway left for this blossoming relationship. But, actually, maybe that’s not the point. Maybe it doesn’t matter whether Carrie and Peter fall in love. What matters is that they like each other, that there’s potential. If the series ends on the couple’s first kiss, that would signal a new beginning for Carrie, leaving fans of the show with, as her publisher put it, a glimmer of hope.