As The Carrie Diaries signs off for the season Monday (The CW, 8/7c) — the titular writer’s secretly gay pal, Walt, will find himself pushed out of the closet.
With everything out in the open, will Walt be emboldened to take his friendship with Bennet to the next level?
Below, Brendan Dooling talks about his character’s feelings for his pal, the blowout with Maggie and how Sex and the City comes into play in the finale.
TVLINE | Walt’s storyline has really stood out, both because of your performance and the thoughtful writing. What response have you been getting?
From the people that I meet face-to-face, family and friends, to the fans on Twitter, everyone really, really loves Walt’s storyline, how the arc has progressed and how it’s not a typical gay character in primetime television. The response has been really heartwarming. It’s not just the silly stuff like, “Oh my God, Walt is so hot.” It’s like, “Oh my God, Walt’s story, I’m actually connecting with it.” And it’s really nice. I won’t say that it’s surprising because, obviously, I’d hoped for something like this. But to the degree that I’ve gotten [feedback] throughout the entire season, I couldn’t have expected it.
TVLINE | There’s clearly a lot of care put into it.
Yes. [Executive producer] Amy Harris always said from the very beginning that she feels near and dear to Walt. And I do, too. It’s sort of fitting that I would play this role, because I grew up with friends in the same position. Now I’m trying to do them proud.
TVLINE | What’s next for Walt on this journey of self-discovery in the finale?
He finally asserts himself. He puts his foot down, and he says, “All right, I am in control of this.” I think everyone’s going to be excited to see that. I certainly was when I first read the script. There’s a bit of a leap of faith for him in the season finale because things don’t really go his way or according to plan. So he needs to improvise. He puts himself out there on the chopping block, which is very brave.
TVLINE | He’s been lucky so far in that the people he’s opened up to, like Carrie and Donna, have reacted nicely and accepted him. But how is Maggie dealing with all of this?
The last two years that they’ve been together, as far as she knows, they’ve just been a big lie. So she does take it to heart. She obviously feels a sense of betrayal, understandably so. It’s not as if Walt was actively hiding something from her. It was just the development of his sexuality, and it, unfortunately, equaled hurting somebody, which of course he never wanted. But them’s the breaks, I guess. That’s life. I hate to use those clichés, but that’s just how it worked out. But you can’t really blame Maggie for her knee-jerk reaction.
TVLINE | I imagine his family won’t be so understanding, either. Has Amy given you any hints that that’s something they’ll explore if there’s a Season 2?
No hints yet. But obviously, in the books, Walt lives in a tent in his backyard because his dad doesn’t want him in the house. I do not know where Amy and the writers are going to take it, because I don’t know what the setting of a beginning of a Season 2 would be. I don’t know if it would be just the city or if it would include Castlebury. I’m sure Walt does not want it to include Castlebury. But [there will] definitely [be] more adversity.
TVLINE | Now that he’s revealing his true self to people, what does that mean for his relationship with Bennet?
It certainly fortifies the relationship. It’s tough for me to answer that question because I think the season finale does such a good job of it.
TVLINE | Do you think Walt genuinely likes Bennet? Or is it because this is the first guy who’s accepted him and seen him for who he is?
What I’ve been saying from the beginning is, as attractive as Bennet may be, he’s also the first person that Walt has experienced who is entirely himself, and people love him for it. That has to do with the environment he’s in and, of course, the type of person he is. But [Walt has] never seen it before. So it’s also the novelty of Bennet that Walt is attracted to. It’s that whole atmosphere that Bennet surrounds himself with. And of course, he’s a very supportive, compassionate guy, so who wouldn’t like him?
TVLINE | How does the world of Sex and the City enter into the finale?
It’s pretty gradual. It’s just the implication that Sex and the City does exist. It’s a really good way to end the first season, to make it known that there is a connection there. You can only hope that it drives the Sex and the City fans crazy enough that they want a second season because everybody will be like, “Oh my God, it is Sex and the City! This is crazy! I want to see young Carrie and young Samantha and young Charlotte.”
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