Ben and Addison’s growing distance during season 2 of Quantum Leap bled into Caitlin Bassett and Raymond Lee‘s real-life friendship as well.
During an exclusive interview with Us Weekly, Bassett, 33, broke down the hard work that went into telling Ben and Addison’s onscreen story.
“Ray and I kind of had to be on different paths. It’s funny because [during the] first season we worked together on creating backstory [together]. Other than him having to decide what he remembered [due to Ben’s memory loss], that was the only real separation between the two of us,” she explained to Us. “Whereas in season 2, I had to work on the me side of things.”
Bassett and Lee, 36, adjusted their collaboration process in order to accurately depict the shift between their characters.
“We actually didn’t discuss that much [about season 2] because we had to separate as friends. Ray and I — we weren’t quite as close. We had to be like, ‘All right, we got to figure that out separately,’” the actress recalled. “Then as the season moved on, [we had to] rebuild a new type of relationship [between Ben and Addison].”
Quantum Leap, which is a revival of the ‘90s science-fiction series, follows Ben after he makes a secret leap through time and gets lost in the past. With help from his now-ex Addison and the rest of the Quantum Leap team, Ben tries to figure out what caused him to alter history.
Season 2 revealed that three years had gone by since the team last heard from Ben, which resulted in a time jump that felt like only days to him. As a result, Addison had to mourn Ben and ultimately moved on with her life, which included meeting her new boyfriend Tom (Peter Gadiot). Ben and Addison struggled to adjust to their new normal as exes throughout the season.
“It was a really jolting thing to try and play,” Bassett admitted. “Ray and I were like, ‘Bye,’ because we knew it was coming. So we had to be like, ‘This was great, and we’ll see how this happened. We’re not going to be as connected.’ We didn’t get to be as tight and physically [Addison was] not going to be there [with Ben] all the time. We knew I was going to leave the leaps. So there was some sadness to it. But at the same time, it was just so exciting to play something different to completely change the show.”
As a fan, Bassett found the changes in the second season to be “better for the show.”
“That’s why I feel like people talk about how different the performances are for season 1 and season 2, but they were days apart. It was just because we had new stories to play [and] a completely different chapter to rely on,” she continued. “So I just really spent time trying to figure out who [Addison] had to become to let go of Ben and then how that person created a new relationship with someone new and how different that must have been.”
Bassett had to rationalize how Addison was able to move on from Ben with Tom.
“I had always kind of broken it down where Addison and Ben were dreamers. They fell in love over a shared dream of this project and they were in that space in their lives where they just wanted to make the world a better place,” she explained. “Then who Addison became on the other side of that was when you realize that the world will break your heart and you actually can’t fix everything. Her accepting that and sitting with that and [understanding] who she is after the dream kind of dies a bit. The kind of decisions that you start to make and you start to make a different type of decision then.”
During season 2, Addison found herself conflicted between her past connection with Ben and her current relationship with Tom. Bassett went through similar thoughts while preparing to play Addison again after the major offscreen time jump.
“[I had to examine] what’s my [character’s] relationship with this Tom and how loyal of a person Addison is. There’s different types of loyalties,” she added. “I’ve told this man, I’m in a relationship with him, so I am. But also now this other person comes up and I can’t abandon that either because there’s a different kind of loyalty there.”
Addison ultimately waved goodbye to her relationship with Ben in order to plan a future with Tom. In the newest episode of Quantum Leap, which aired on Tuesday, January 30, Addison admitted to Tom that she found the ring he had hidden and the couple got engaged.
Bassett told Us that she was excited to see Addison continue to be in control of her own life.
“What’s great about what’s happening for Addison — which is why my favorite part of the season is literally now until the end — is because no longer is she dealing with things in past tense and catching everybody up to the present,” she detailed. “Now she’s going through things in present tense and she’s making decisions in present tense that might not be fully informed or are fully informed or might not be completely right. … It’s the first time where Addison gets to really start steering her own ship and Ben has to deal with that. Rather than Addison dealing with it, which is way more fun.”
According to Bassett, it took some time for her to accept that Ben isn’t the right option for Addison right now, adding, “Fan of the show Caitlin and maybe even actor Caitlin feels like Ben is the guy. You can’t replace that feeling.”
She continued: “But when I sat with Addison this season, I was like, ‘It was three years.’ And the human being that she had to be to get through it, you don’t get to tell someone how to heal when you detonate their world. So I actually ended up becoming a defender of her decision to move on, which is I think exactly where you should be and then have to figure out where to go from there.”
Bassett also offered a glimpse at what Quantum Leap fans can expect from the final episodes of season 2.
“At the end of season 1, we left on a cliffhanger. It took until the end of the first episode in season 2 to realize that, ‘Oh, this is a new setup.’ By the end of season 2, you’re going to know how different season 3 is going to be,” she teased. “I think it was a brilliant move by the writers. The last episode, it just feels like a new adventure. It’s so cool. So I hope people enjoy it.”
Quantum Leap airs on NBC Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET and will be available to stream on Peacock the next day.