Re: Carrie's brilliance. What good has it done anyone? Brody died, she stopped Nazir but the bombing at Langley killed most of the CIA. Ayan was shot in the face, she got too many of her assets killed to count. Her Kabul wedding drone killed innocent people. Haqqani beat her thru an embassy tunnel and killed her colleagues. She didn't help Sekou, got played by the PEOTUS. Quinn and Astrid are dead. Oh wait she stopped the Berlin Sarin attack and figured out Alison was a mole from a screensaver.
The human cost of war is a central theme of Homeland. The high price of Carrie, Saul, and Quinn’s hard decisions and collateral damage is largely the point. Homeland has also never asked us to take Carrie’s brilliance at face value. We are supposed to question the steps she takes in service of her “brilliance.” And we are supposed to question whether the outcomes she achieves are justified.
We witness Carrie’s failures on screen–what we don’t see are the lives she’s saved and the attacks she’s prevented. That’s a stylistic choice and, as much I agree with the points you made, it’s a tad unfair.
In contrast, we (including me, Frangi) tend to romanticize Quinn’s job: a guy taking out bad guys, one by one with an honest kill while looking into his target’s eyes. But we have no idea what else he did. The guy spent two and a half years in Syria. In Islamabad, we see him commanding an ops room with ease–including drones. The kid in Caracas was likely not the first innocent person he had killed.
Quinn and Carrie did the same work, made the same mistakes, and used the same justifications for their work. The main difference between them was that Quinn questioned their work while Carrie continued to believe in it (at least until 4.12). But you know what? When she stopped believing it, she left the CIA and tried to enact positive change, whereas Quinn doubled down on his killer training.
(Also: in your list of awful shit that’s occurred on the show, you list a bunch of things that aren’t her fault whatsoever. It’s not Carrie’s fault that Nazir blew up the CIA (it’s Nazir’s!). It’s not Carrie’s fault that Haqqani shot a bunch of people in the Embassy (it’s Dennis’!). It’s certainly not her fault that Astrid is dead, either (it’s Belli’s fault!).)