Blame plosive alliteration, if you will, but when people describe Homeland’s Carrie Mathison, the words “brilliant” and “bipolar” are almost always used in the same sentence. She’s mentally and emotionally unstable, the narrative goes, but she’s also extraordinary: Although her brain chemistry thwarts her chances of lasting happiness, it gives her a broad streak of genius that makes her the country’s most effective weapon in the fight against terror.

This argument, even as it’s endlessly touted by the press and by Homeland’s showrunners and by the actress who plays Carrie (Claire Danes), is unfortunately total garbage. Carrie is a terrible spy. If this weren’t a television show, she wouldn’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 she’s also insanely unprofessional and sloppy in a way that’s more grating in Homeland’s fourth season than ever. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog