I want to like this show but I really struggle with its #fakefeminism. Are the writers doing it on purpose to mirror reality or are they completely blind? Why are they reifying gender barriers when even these agencies themselves acknowledge the problem and have action plans to address these disparities? I get that it’s entertainment, but really?! Really?!
My interpretation is not that the show is saying that every single woman who has a career in national security cannot also have a family. In fact, it’s impossible for me to say that they are when Carrie is really the only example of a CIA career woman we’ve ever seen on this show. Which is an entirely different matter, but this show is not about women in the CIA. It’s about Carrie.
And from that vantage point, the show is not saying it’s all women. To me, they’re saying it’s Carrie, and this is who Carrie is and this is also how she’s always been. Think about Maggie’s letter in the courtroom. She starts by talking about how Carrie has been since the day she was born. Fearless, with “a mind of her own,” brave, extraordinary, heroic. Whether it was a job in national security or something else, would the outcome be just the same? I think it’s possible it would.
She has God-given talents that have been nurtured (mostly by Saul) and an insatiable desire and need to… save the world. That’s not every woman. That’s Carrie. The show certainly made the case for Carrie being unique and unlike any other woman tonight, drawing on evidence from seasons past.
What I actually loved about tonight’s episode was that they allowed Carrie some dignity in this excruciating, heartbreaking decision. When Maggie says to her, “Go do what you were born to do,” there is no shame in it, but just a long-overdue depth of understanding between them. The custody battle didn’t drag on, and Franny wasn’t ripped away from her. She had actual clarity–about her daughter, her actions, her illness, her work, the rest of her life, and how all those things are intertwined. That’s not something she’s had in a very, very long time. Possibly ever.