Olivia Dunham might be the worst fictional FBI agent in history. That, in and of itself, doesn’t annoy me. It doesn’t bother me that she—especially in this season—rarely investigates anything, rarely figures anything out using her alleged investigative prowess, and frequently has reams of expository dialogue spoonfed to her by Walter Bishop, Peter Bishop, Nina Sharp, and now even the mysterious bowling alley owner played by Kevin Corrigan (Sam Weiss Gamgee). It doesn’t bother me that she repeatedly learns things she should already know, and her eyes boggle as if her world has just come crumbling down. It doesn’t bother me that she can’t remember, as recently as three weeks ago, discovering that pathological terror is her link to her MAGICAL POWERS when she desperately needs to use said powers and is, one could argue, pathologically terrified vis-à-vis the impending end of the world.
What bothers me is the show’s repeated insistence that she’s great at what she does. She’s special, according to Walter. She’s one of the finest agents Broyles has had the pleasure of ineffectually monitoring from a safe distance. Nina Sharp believes she’s brilliant. Peter Bishop has inexplicably fallen in love with her. All of this despite repeated demonstrations of raging, comical incompetence, without counterbalancing her blunders with equal moments of actual brilliance.