March 04, 2013 9:00pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Carrie Diaries' Postmortem: EP on Carrie's Secrets Exposed and a Shocking Romance
[Warning: If you have not watched Monday's episode, "Hush Hush," do not proceed. Spoilers ahead.]
How does The Carrie Diaries boss Amy B. Harris characterize the aftermath of Monday's episode? "We're calling this the game-changer."
And a game-changer it is. With young Carrie Bradshaw's (AnnaSophia Robb) Manhattan life squashed -- for the time being, at least -- and her father discovering her secrets (bye, law firm! bye, Interview!), with the bad comes some good. That's where Sebastian Kydd (Austin Butler) comes back into the picture. There's also Walt (Brendan Dooling) and Maggie's (Katie Findlay) break-up (it sticks this time around), and Walt and Donna's (Chloe Bridges) new romance (who saw that coming?!).
Following Monday's action-packed hour, "Hush Hush," Harris spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about what lies ahead for Carrie and her friends and just how long it'll be until she returns to the Big Apple.
The Hollywood Reporter: This episode focused on a lot of the group's secrets coming out and them now having to deal with that.
Amy B. Harris: I always felt like as much as Carrie's secret life was a big part of how we were telling the story throughout the first eight episodes, I never envisioned the premise for the show as what would Carrie's secret life look like. This was really fun for me the minute she took the Interview job. It was like, good luck you foolish girl! Because you're not going to be able to keep that secret for long. The fun for me was playing the idea that Limelight would be this amazing experience, and she and Sebastian would end up kissing in this grand gesture of the moment, which obviously implodes when she sees her dad with the white-man overbite grinding up against his date.
THR: it was fun to see Tom (Matt Letscher) stepping out of his fatherly role, at least temporarily, and dating again -- though not by choice. What was that like to craft?
Harris: This is a family that lost their mom, and a lot of what he's struggling with is being a single dad but also figuring out when to date, how to date; he's been out of the dating world for 20 years. What does that look like when it's the '80s and people are partying and going to clubs instead of the Mad Men era? We'll be exploring that a lot more as the season goes on.
THR: The moment when Tom sees Carrie at the club and realizes that she's been lying to him all this time, how does this affect their father-daughter relationship moving forward?
Harris: This season their dynamic was always about how do you define yourself in both direct reference to your parents and in opposition to your parents. This is where Carrie took a stand and said, "I'm not going to be you. There's a version of myself that I could see that would make me happy and that I believe in, and I don't care if you believe in it or not, you can't take it from me." There's a journey for Tom to go on, with what kind of parent he wants to be. Do you want to be stubborn and say, "I don't care, and you're going to be the version of you I want," or is she being unrealistic at 16 years old that that's a realistic thought to move on in that world? We're going to see a lot of Tom's worries for her in wanting that kind of life.
THR: Tom bans her from New York City, but we know she'll make her way back. What's this waiting period like for her?
Harris: One good thing she has is the burgeoning relationship with Sebastian to keep her warm as she's losing Manhattan. New York comes back sooner rather than later. I like to call Larissa (Freema Agyeman) the id role model. Larissa has a lot to say about what she thinks Carrie can be, and I think we're going to be exploring that. Manhattan returns, but how it returns is a surprising twist.
THR: Larissa's reaction to the truth about Carrie's actual age certainly falls in line with how she is as a person. How did you settle on that moment?
Harris: We really talked about what would happen in that moment. We saw Larissa and Harlan (Scott Cohen) dancing in the corner when Tom was dancing with his date, so that's a weird thing that might come back. We knew Tom would be freaking out and it would be confusing, so we thought about what Larissa would really think. In the pilot, she says, "People in New York are either dead or living in the suburbs. By the time you're 25, the city is all about you." We're going to play with this a little bit. It was a period of youth owning the universe of literature and culture, so of course Larissa would love it. She thinks young is fantastic, and it's a feather in her cap to have this sparkly, passionate 16-year-old in her universe.
THR: Will she play an integral part of Carrie getting back into the world again?
Harris: Yeah, she'll be a very big piece of it. [A lot of Carrie standing up to her father] has to do with Larissa and how much Larissa believed in her.
THR: The Harlan-Larissa thing will come back in a more significant way?
Harris: It will! [Laughs] It very well might. They might have enjoyed their encounter together.
THR: Now that Walt and Maggie are broken up, where does Maggie stand in her life?
Harris: For Maggie, she's going to take some time to lick her wounds. She's the type of person who hides when she's most damaged. She has to figure out how to pick up the pieces. Katie [Findlay], who plays Maggie, said to me early on that she's a girl carrying a hundred trays with a hundred things on them, and saying, "Look how great I am, I'm so in charge!" And when it explodes all around her and crashes to the ground, it's devastating, but she picks everything back up again and starts over again. The saddest thing about Maggie, and I had a lot of friends in high school who I think are Maggie, is she doesn't have good self-esteem and really wants love and intimacy and she makes sex equal that. That's a troubling place to go.
THR: When Walt says, "We don't exist anymore, ever," is he also talking about them as friends?
Harris: How our group will ever come back together again is a big question-mark, and that will be something we play out in the next few episodes. What I love about Carrie is she understood that neither Walt nor Maggie were very happy in that relationship, so I don't think there is so much choosing sides as how do you manage both those friendships when those two people are not talking -- at all.
THR: Donna and Walt is an interesting duo. Why did you want to pair them up together?
Harris: I love pairing people who are sort of surprising. Donna and Walt are sort of a surprisingly nice match. It'll give us a chance to get to know Donna and get to see inside Donna's universe. Walt's been able to hide behind Maggie for a long time, and I don't know if he'll be able to do the same with Donna.
THR: In that Donna's more upfront about her observations?
Harris: Maggie always felt the reason Walt didn't want to have sex with her is because of her, and Donna will certainly not think that.
THR: The episode had a fun storyline with Sebastian and Mouse (Ellen Wong) trying to get to New York City. Will there be more shenanigans in the future?
Harris: Mouse is a big supporter and proponent of Sebastian as the person for Carrie, so she's there for Carrie to lean on. Mouse is going to be busy with a new guy in her life who ends up being big competition for her on the academic universe. That B+ she got with Seth is going to come back to haunt her in a big way. She's going to be very busy in competition with this new character who arrives in [episode] 109.
THR: Sebastian and Carrie flirted with the idea of a romance early on, but never truly defined it. This time around, are they more seriously considering a real relationship?
Harris: Similar to the way we did on Sex and the City, this is exploring her first real relationship and how those dysfunctions play out in a relationship. That'll be the fun of these episodes, watching that relationship grow and take steps forward and backward, and how she'll be in a relationship. We take her on a realistic journey. She's a complicated person, so being in a relationship isn't going to make her any less complicated.
THR: Aside from all the plot development, we also see Carrie's first cosmo and her first pair of Manolo Blahniks.
Harris: It was a big episode in many ways. We had some Easter eggs, the idea that Carrie can't pronounce Manolo Blahnik when she first sees them. Amy Heckerling, who directed this episode, is an '80s icon, and she wanted to make that cosmo crossing the bar [significant]. That drink has to have its moment, its big entrance. This was a fun episode, not only because relationships end, but also opening up Carrie to maybe her two biggest loves of her life: cosmos and Manolos.
What are your thoughts on Monday's episode?
The Carrie Diaries airs at 8 p.m. Mondays on The CW.