Sophie Gilbert, in The Atlantic, makes the case against Carrie Matheson.
Carrie is a terrible spy. If this werenâ€™t a television show, she wouldnâ€™t be allowed within 10 miles of Langley. Sirens would go off if her car so much as entered the GW Parkway. Yes, she has a history of mental illness that has seen her institutionalized and forcibly medicated; yes, she suffers from a related lack of impulse control, and is a narcissist with a complete lack of sympathy for anyone who isn’t herself. But sheâ€™s also insanely unprofessional and sloppy in a way thatâ€™s more grating in Homelandâ€™s fourth season than ever.
In her relatively short and extremely stormy tenure at the CIA, Carrie has slept with her boss (Estes) and broken up his marriage, seen one asset (Hasan) executed in Pakistan, lied to another (Lynne) that she was under CIA protective surveillance (after which Lynne was promptly assassinated), illegally spied on a returning Marine (Brody), slept with said Marine and given him information that helped him beat a polygraph, gotten another asset (al-Zahrani) killed by a briefcase bomb during a meet, gone rogue on the streets of Beirut, slept with Brody after she knew he was hatching terrorist plots against the U.S., gotten pregnant by Brody after she knew he helped assassinate the vice president, and then helped Brody escape after a bombing she failed to predict that ended up killing almost 200 people at Langley. And that’s just the first two seasons. …
Carrie’s incompetence matters because her only saving grace as a character is the oft-repeated assertion that she’s professionally extraordinary. “I missed something onceâ€”I won’t do that again,” is her mantra, both in the show’s opening credits, and in life. “She means well, and she is kind of a superhero,” is how Danes once described her character to The New York Times. But she also embodies the ugliest stereotypes about women in the workplace: that they’re hysterical, brittle, rude, entitled, inefficient, and governed by emotions rather than logic. Instead of earning her promotions, Carrie either fails her way up the CIA ladder (after practically everyone else is killed by the Langley car bomb) or threatens people into giving her what she wants. Her current position in Islamabad was achieved by blackmailing CIA chief Lockhart. …
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.
Anne Hathaway’s SNL Homeland Parody