Carrie and Company Down for the Count

01/05/2004 5:31PM

"It's too early to tell." That's what artist Aleksandr Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov) told Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) about his new sculpture at the conclusion of Sunday night's episode of "Sex and the City," as the show began its eight-episode countdown to the series finale.

Of course, it didn't take a Harvard degree to figure out that Petrovsky was really talking about their relationship, as Carrie had just told him that she didn't think she would fit into his jet-set, womanizing life. But he said he was just into jetting -- and making pancakes for her.

Whatever happens between the two, it had better happen fast. The HBO sitcom, which first debuted in 1998, only has seven more episodes to go before it gets sanitized and sent into syndication. "Sex and the City" first-runs end forever on Feb. 22. (HBO, like PEOPLE, is part of Time Warner.)

TV critics, while carping that Sunday night's show was a bit of a stiff, are saying for the most part that next week's episode will make up for it. One of the characters will face a crisis, though no one is revealing just what it is or who is involved.

As for Sunday's episode, Carrie initially declares she's about to become Aleksandr's "lovah," but she gets cold feet, which he then warms up. Meanwhile, Kim Cattrall's Samantha thinks she's too old for her studly young lover Smith (Jason Lewis) -- though there's evidence that she, too, is about to have a change of heart.

Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), while welcoming well-meaning boyfriend Steve Brady (David Eigenberg) into her life, had to face her vengeful neighbor Robert, who was none too pleased that she dumped him to return to Steve.

And then there was Charlotte (Kristin Davis), who has two weeks to go before she again ovulates, so she decided to become a volunteer for the blind. To get into it, she blindfolds herself (with a Burberry print blindfold) for a silly, slapstick little spin around Barney's department store.

Well, there's always next week.

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