Starz clearly saw our Christmas wish list and gifted us with a second season of Counterpart this holiday season, and the sci-fi spy thriller starring J.K. Simmons promises to dig even deeper into the many complex mysteries it beautifully set up in Season 1. But with the crossing between our world and the Prime world closed in the wake of Indigo’s attack on the Office of Interchange at the end of the first season, everyone is on edge in Season 2, and nobody more so than Peter Quayle (Harry Lloyd).
At the end of that electrifying first season, Quayle made the complicated decision to protect his family over his job, which meant concealing the identity of his wife Clare (Nazanin Boniadi), who is actually a sleeper agent for Indigo, from his colleagues. When the Starz drama returned Sunday, it was clear this decision has had a huge effect on their lives.
He and Clare have moved out of their beautiful, sprawling home and are now living in an apartment. It’s an extremely fragile situation, since they’re technically sharing the same home but are living separately from one another. Making an already tense situation worse, a former FBI investigator (Betty Gabriel) has been brought in to replace the deceased Aldrich (Ulrich Thomsen) and take down Indigo. This new development is what finally pushes Quayle to decide it’s high time he start protecting himself. He records a confession of what he’s done, and according to creator and showrunner Justin Marks, Quayle’s mental state is only going to be tested more this season. And that recording is naturally going to be one of the key devices of the narrative moving forward.
“I think he, in the first episode, with the death of Edgar Brandt, is beginning to realize that this can’t last forever and that sooner or later he’s going to have to take a stand one way or the other that he can’t just expect to have it both ways,” Marks tells TV Guide of Quayle’s thought process. “So his means of self-preservation is, on one level, a great move and on another level a disaster waiting to happen. As that unfolds, it’s going to get pretty fun.”
I think Marks might have a different definition of fun than the rest of us, but he does reveal the recording Quayle made will be coming back to bite him in the ass sooner rather than later, but maybe not in the way viewers expect. “It actually comes back to bite him in the ass, I think it’s safe to say, but in a way that I don’t think anyone’s going to see coming. In some ways it can also be one’s saving grace as well,” Marks teases.
“The great thing about Quayle is, he flails around a lot, and he can make irrational decisions that can be seen as mistakes, but his greatest superpower or his greatest skill is how lucky he can be from time to time. And I think that almost what’s most fun is, it’s a superpower in how lucky he is, but it’s also his biggest flaw, because I don’t think it’s about luck as much. You know luck is what he talks about in the first episode, that he’s always been lucky, but I think he’s gonna start to learn how much his luck has been influenced by outside parties. And that luck will soon run out.”
Counterpart airs Sundays at 9/8c on Starz.
Additional reporting by Megan Vick