Loki in a Skirt

So Frea and I were chatting one day, as we are wont to do, and somehow (I don’t remember how) the topic of conversation turned to Carina. Now Frea has a take-it or leave-it philosophy with Carina. I, of course, am a huge Carina fan. Have been since Wookie. And no, fellow pervs, it’s not because I like Sarina. Okay, not just because I like Sarina (come on, if you really thought an article written about Carina by yours truly would be completely devoid of Sarina content, you haven’t been paying very close attention). Anyway, we started talking about why I like Carina so much and why I wish we could have more of her on the show, when Frea suggested I write a blog entry about the character of Carina Hansen aka Carina Miller because she doesn’t necessarily get the appeal. It sounded like a great idea to me, so I agreed to write it, all while I was thinking to myself, This will be easy. I mean, it’s Carina, and she’s awesome. Everybody knows this. It’ll practically write itself.

Well, as it turns out, not everybody knows this, and to make matters worse, it certainly did not write itself. Most of the problem is that not even I’m sure why her awesomeness is apparent. (Please note, if you will, how hard I am trying to avoid the very obvious reason why Carina is so awesome, but I’m trying to write a semi-serious post here, so I’ll not resort to puerile statements. For the most part.)

Firstly, let’s start off with the obvious: she’s Loki in a skirt. That’s what makes her so much damn fun. When Carina appears, you never quite know what’s going to happen next. Maybe you’ll be handcuffed to a bed. Maybe you’ll be randomly attacked in your hotel room. Maybe you’ll be forced to pull off your best Catherine Zeta-Jones impression. Who knows? Nobody. That’s the point though. You never know what you’re going to get. Unpredictability can often be bad in real life, but on TV, it’s practically essential. It keeps the story fresh, prevents the characters from becoming complacent, forces revelations (“My name is Lisa” and Chuck’s vault speech spring to mind), and inspires comedy (come on, who doesn’t laugh every time they see Casey handcuffed to the bed?). It does have its downsides (potential fish homicide, getting captured by crazed British footballers, being duped into giving up a diamond (no wait, Carina was in a bikini then, so I take that back, total upside)) but so does everything. The trick is to arrange things so that the benefits outweigh the costs, and Carina is definitely a benefit, in my mind.

Secondly, until recently, she was practically the only proof we had that Sarah Walker was actually a human being. She showed, however briefly and however vaguely, that Sarah was more than just the job. Sarah had a friend. Since when do spies have friends? Everything this show tells us about spies is that they are supposed to leave emotions at the door, they’re supposed to not trust anybody (and while their relationship is rocky and Carina can be a bit of a bitch to her best friend, just like with her father, there is an inherent level of trust and faith between Sarah and Carina, even if Sarah sometimes believes that it shouldn’t really exist), and they’re not supposed to have attachments.

Bryce highlighted what I mean in Nemesis when he tells Chuck that he’s his only friend. Really? Think about that for a moment. Bryce is suave, he’s good looking, he’s personable, he’s charming, he’s not an accountant, and yet the guy he got kicked out of Stanford and made him think he stole his girl is his only friend? Compounding this issue is that while Bryce might have considered Chuck his friend, it’s obvious that Bryce’s friendship comes with some major complications. Bryce expresses feelings of friendship but he clearly doesn’t know Chuck, because if he did, he wouldn’t have been shocked to learn what happened to Chuck after he was expelled. Carina, though, seems to actually know Sarah. We learn as much when, in only the fourth episode of the first season, Carina can sense the burgeoning feelings Sarah has for Chuck. We see this again in Three Words when Carina advises Chuck on how to handle Sarah and especially at the end when she gives Sarah the flash drive. Carina knows her friend, understands her, and wants what’s best for her, even if she doesn’t really understand what’s going on herself.

If Sarah has a real friend, then she can’t be all that bad, right? She’s definitely not one of those agents where the job is everything. She’s not a Casey or a Forrest. There’s more to her than meets the eye. And oh boy is there more of her… Sorry, sorry, lingerie scene flashback. Sarah has it in her to befriend somebody, to become emotionally attached to somebody, to care about something more than the job. Carina’s existence humanizes Sarah.

Also, when Sarah is feeling comfortable and in familiar settings, she opens up. She’s fun. We see this with Chuck and we see this with Carina. It’s no surprise, as they are probably the only two people in the whole world who can legitimately claim to know her (as much as anybody can claim to know Sarah Walker). In Wookie, we see Sarah has a pet, she actually jokes around with Casey when she takes his picture (we should all love Carina for this, if for no other reason than Sarah actually has a sense of humor in one of her episodes, which is rarer than a white rhino), she expresses more real emotion than probably any episode in S1 until we get to Hard Salami. Is it fair to attribute all of this to Carina? Of course not, she’s not solely responsible for Sarah’s actions/emotions/choice of lingerie (or is she?). But she does contribute.

Thirdly, one of the biggest reasons why Carina is so great, is that she’s one of the few ways we get to see into Sarah’s past. Since it seems like the show goes out of its way to have Sarah avoid telling Chuck anything about herself at all costs (seriously, when was the last time Sarah told Chuck anything about herself of her own volition? Best Friend?), we are dependent as viewers on outsiders providing the information for us. Carina is a great way of doing that. Because she’s so chaotic, because she’s so unpredictable, and when Sarah is with her, she’s forced to become unpredictable as well, there is a near endless stream of things they can tell us the two got into “back in the day.” Carina could tell us what Sarah was like back when she was at the Farm, she could tell us what Sarah was like while she was a rookie spy (who knows how far back they go), she could tell us all sorts of stuff about who Sarah was before she found herself in front of a Burbank Buy More. I don’t care how often the writers try to feed us the line of crap that Sarah’s past doesn’t matter to Chuck, because it is crap. Who she was then has an impact on who she is now, or am I supposed to believe that Sarah’s past had nothing to do with her Season 3 story arc?

Fourthly, Carina is Sarah’s mirror. She allows us to see what Sarah used to be like, what she is like, and how she might act in the future. Carina is basically the writer’s way of showing us Sarah the Agent, of showing us all the negative qualities of Sarah (or to be more specific, all the qualities Chuck and us, the viewers, might perceive as negative), without actually making Sarah actively display those negative qualities herself. Carina can be a bitch, can be the cold, calculating agent, can do the seduction missions without any issues, can put the mission first. As Frea said to me today, “Carina is Sarah without the empathy.”

You might be asking yourself why this is a good thing, and so I’ll tell you why. It’s good because it’s another look into the kind of person Sarah is. We can see into her past, again through Carina, because Carina allows us to envision how Sarah might have acted before meeting Chuck. Of course we have Season 3 Sarah to look at as well, as she shared many of the same characteristics with Carina, but it’s not the same removed aspect that Carina brings to the table. So Carina gives us all the bad stuff about the spy life, yet somehow still remains endearing and fun, and wraps it up in a chaotic, whirling dervish of impishness, sexiness, and craziness.

Plus, she takes all the heat off of Sarah. Well, except when she and Sarah are in a scene together, because then there’s nothing BUT heat. Zing.

Warning: Shallow water ahead, brace for impact…

Fifthly, I can’t resist it anymore: Carina is hot. Yeah, it’s superficial, so what? It’s also true. Mini Anden is a beautiful woman and I’ll never complain about having too many beautiful women on the show. Especially not tall, leggy, auburn-haired Swedish supermodels with the same allergy to clothing as Sarah Walker.

Sixthly, Carina being around means Sarah/Yvonne has an excuse to talk Polish. As my friend Wepdiggy will no doubt agree, she’s freaking hot when she talks Polish. As opposed to when she’s freaking hot pretty much every other moment of every day? Well, no, but the Sun does have its warm days too.

Seventhly, MA and YS have really good chemistry together. Reach your own conclusions from there.

Eighthly, with Carina on the show, it means the chances of seeing a beautiful woman in their underwear just increased exponentially. Crystal and Frea probably just rolled their eyes. All I have to say to that is, “You don’t know where I live!” Oh wait…they do. Crap.

Ninethly, without Carina, we’d never have any Sarina stories. And that would be a horrible, horrible thing.

Tenthly, without Carina, Double Agent would suck. Some might actually consider that a benefit. Some not. I don’t know. But I do know that I’ve turned several people around to the character of Carina since DA debuted and I take a rather large sense of pride in that fact. Because Carina is awesome.

So there you have it, my treatise on why Carina is awesome. Did I explain myself well? Eh. Did I provide a good argument? Probably not. Could I possibly have conjured stuff out of thin air? Entirely possible. Was this a waste of time? You may very well think so (and since I have no access to the Internet and forced to live a 20th Century existence, I got time to waste). But I like Carina, and really, when it comes right down to it, why we find a character interesting is often too esoteric to put into words anyway.

Now where was that picture of Carina in her bikini…


  1. Anonymous1.8.10

    At first i thought why is mxpw writing this 1,857 word essay (yes, i counted) to justify his disturbing obssession with Carina instead of writing Double Agent? BUT after skimming through this, i do have to admit you have good points and now, i like Carina slightly more than i did before.

  2. Ayefah1.8.10

    Word, word, word. The show is always bringing on agents who are supposed to reveal things about the main trio somehow, but Carina is easily one of the most smooth, subtle, and successful of those in how she illuminates Sarah.

    I mean, the fact that Sarah's friends with Carina in the first place says a ton about her - as rueful as she is about her chaotic childhood, there's still a part of her that's Jack Burton's kid. I hope that we'll get to see more of Sarah's sense of mischief in the future, but Chuck probably isn't going to be the one goading her into it, bless his socks.

  3. I like Carina.

    What other character had an impact as huge as Carina's in 2 episodes? And they don't talk about her in any other episodes than the one she's on.

    She's fun, she has history with Sarah (you really explained it well), she has histiry with Casey (so good!), she has histiry with Morgan (...), she knows Chuck from the beginning... With only Wookie she had a huge impact on the show and the characters while being very fun, and that want I want from Chuck. Now she's even more in the Chuckverse after Three Words and she's showed us more sympathy, so we like her even more.

    Needless to say, we want Carina back in S4!


Please remember to be courteous to all other Castle Inanity commenters.