I've said it before and I will say it again: the way Amy B. Harris shaped and evolved Walt's coming out journey on The Carrie Diaries was a thing of beauty because, despite being set in 1984, the story unfolded with a complex and contemporary edge that made it deeply relatable and utterly heartfelt. Obviously a huge portion of that praise also goes to star Brendan Dooling, who infused Walt with just the right amount of fear and acceptance throughout this powerful character arc.
The end of season one introduced a love interest for Walt (in the charming shape of Jake Robinson's Bennet) and revealed the boys would be spending summer in the city, making their romantic status one of the biggest season two premiere questions! I caught up with Brendan Dooling to talk about Walt and Bennet in season two and how the show will continue to break new ground with this storyline.
ETonline: So, how was Walt's summer in the city?
Brendan Dooling: It was exactly what he needed. Everyone in Castlebury was spreading rumors, and word was getting around about his secret. Carrie offered him freedom from that persecution while they stayed in Larissa's loft and he was 100 percent for it. So the city life was just what the doctor ordered, but unfortunately for Walt, the awful confrontations he's going to have in Castlebury are still there.
ETonline: How would you describe Walt and Bennet's relationship when we return?
Dooling: I'd say it's still blossoming. We know that there's interest there, and Walt pursues it, but their age difference is still an issue, which is stressful and frustrating for Walt. But in terms of their relationship, it's not a real concern of Bennet's -- he's just trying to play it safe.
ETonline: What are you excited for the audience to see as Walt and Bennet's relationship evolves ... or devolves?
Dooling: [laughs] I think what's most exciting to see is the formation of a first love. Everybody, hopefully, experiences that first love and it's really special. Walt had Maggie, but as we discovered it wasn't something he felt wholeheartedly. This time, he actually gets to immerse himself in a relationship. Not only with the person he loves, but with a relationship he loves. I think that's going to be really endearing for a lot of people.
ETonline: If Walt learning to accept himself was the theme of season one, what's the theme of season two?
Dooling: It's getting other people to accept him now. I'd say that other people's opinions matter to Walt right now in his young adulthood, so now that he is getting comfortable in his own skin, it's finding a balance between flaunting it and just existing as he is and seeing how people will respond to that.
ETonline: Season one dealt with Walt losing his virginity to Maggie, will we see a similar conversation this season with Bennet?
Dooling: It's not HBO, we can't get too risque with it, there are only so many things we can show on-screen, so I’m sure some people will be disappointed [laughs] but the writers are not shying away from it in any way, shape or form. Relationships are comprised of so many parts and we will see all those parts throughout this season. I can promise we will do that relationship justice in every way.
The Carrie Diaries airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on The CW.