The Carrie Diaries Season 2 Review “Date Expectations”

Date Expectations

Over the course of its second season, The Carrie Diaries has been defying expectations and taking more and more risks with its storylines, its central relationships and its characters. ‘Date Expectations’ took the show to a place I don’t think any of us could have imagined when it started out and, on top of all the other thing’s it’s done right this year, it makes me excited about what the writers might have planned for the remaining three hours. There’s no telling whether the show will be renewed for a third season but, if this is the last of it, at least it’ll go out on a creative high.

The main event was of course Walt and Bennett’s storyline, which pushed them to be relevant again after the swiftly dealt-with coming out storyline. I can’t name a teen drama that has pushed its gay character (and let’s face it, there’s usually only one) back into the closet after they’ve found the strength to step outside as themselves but, by introducing the issue of AIDS to their story, we now have a very legitimate reason for that to happen. Scared away from the world he so wanted to be a part of, it’s possible we’ll now be watching Walt try to regain the layers of protection he had before.

It’s an incredibly brave story for The Carrie Diaries to tell, but a very worthwhile one when you also include Walt’s fears about not being able to marry, have kids and live the white picket fence lifestyle he always dreamed of. Like with Maggie’s abortion storyline, this takes something that has somewhat improved for many in 2014, but has yet to be properly and regularly reflected in television drama – especially those aimed at the young – and can serve as a distanced comment on what life was, is and can be in the future. That’s a lot of praise for a show that’s previously coasted along on nothing but ties to another beloved show.

I guess that’s important to point out since my praise for the show has never, and probably never will be universal. With every Maggie or Walt storyline that breaks through the mediocrity, you also have the things that Mouse, Dorrit and Larissa get up to every week. This episode was one of the worst offenders in a while, given the strength of the New York stuff, and my only guess is that the writers thought we might need some light relief away from the dark subject matter at the episode’s core. Maggie’s trajectory this episode, from doing something proactive to caring more about being looked after by a sexy army guy, didn’t make me happy.

And that’s the problem – as charming as AnnaSophia Robb and Austin Butler are, or how many moments there are when the show breaks the mould of teen dramas, it’s a series that doesn’t seem to have conviction in its ideas. Maggie’s back doing her thing like she always did and, after this, I sincerely hope the same doesn’t happen to Walt.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.