Counterpart Season 2 Episode 1 Review: Inside Out


Welcome back to the madness!

There is so much to unpack from Counterpart Season 2 Episode 1, and every bit of it is juicy and aching to be savored in discussions. Are you ready to dig into it?

The worlds are more convoluted than ever, and with the addition of Betty Gabriel as Naya Temple, there will be more oversight into the actions of those working in Strategy. By the end of the premiere, Peter has already recorded a full confession should his crazy luck finally run out.

Emily’s return home was the beginning of what will be an incredible season for Olivia Williams. 

While Counterpart Season 1 was J.K. Simmons tour de force as the two Howards, Counterpart Season 2 gives Williams the same opportunity to explore the Emilys in great detail.

Of course, she has the added bonus of rediscovering the Emily who was before the coma, so as creator Justin Marks explained in our interview, there are almost three Emilys at play this season and two of them determined to find her.

If you haven’t read our interview with Marks, I highly encourage you to do so. He quickly became one of my favorite people because of his unwavering ability to discuss his project. He’s so knowledgeable, and his thoughts on action scenes and violence are enlightening. The link is just below.

Related: Counterpart Creator Justin Marks on Season 2 and the Seriousness of Violence

There is a lot to love about Williams’ performance as Emily A struggling to understand her world after the coma. She has no idea what kind of road she faces because the word “strange” doesn’t fit her predicament.

This is so odd, when you know a place, but you don’t know it.

Emily A

Early in her return, she barely recognizes her home but does recall her husband, even if only by the look of him. He set aside the guest room in the event she wanted space to get to know him again, but she implied she didn’t need it.

That wasn’t explored further, but I would have liked to have known if what they experienced in the bedroom — even if it was only sleeping side by side, something that can be profoundly personal — had anything to do with her frustrations elsewhere around the house. 

I don’t want any Turkish. Maybe you could cook for me like you used to.

Emily A

Howard Prime doesn’t cook like Howard Alpha, and that was something that came up in conversation before. Their similarity comes deeper and was evident when the two were sharing a walk around the block and talking about Emily not liking what she eventually remembered of herself.

Related: Counterpart Season 1 Episode 9 Review: No Man’s Land, Part One

Emily’s recollection of what she did for a living didn’t flat out explain whether or not she remembers that there are two worlds. It would seem natural that they would go hand in hand, but reading and speaking don’t follow the same rules, so catching spies and the knowledge they are from another world doesn’t have to either.

That aside, Howard Prime was at his best when talking Emily Alpha through her realization that she was formerly someone she didn’t like very much as she looked back on it and probably before the coma, either.

Also in my interview with Mr. Marks, I asked about the romantic possibilities between the Emilys and Howards, and with the current scenario and Howard Prime suggesting they forget the past and start over, it doesn’t seem like that bad of an idea.

Well, forget about her then, and him. Let’s start all over. There’s a new Chinese place right down the street. Should we try it? Maybe it’s terrible.

Howard P

What can make Howard Prime into a man more like Howard Alpha? I’ve believed it was the love of an Emily. Maybe they got the wrong ones. Neither was settled in their relationships on either side.

It’s much like Clare and Peter doing everything they can for the love of their daughter. In their case, though, a crack seems to be wearing in Clare’s side of that agreement.

It is apparent not only in her actions with Peter but when she goes to see Howard Prime with her combination offer of “friendship” and the veiled threat of Emily Alpha’s life. By the time she gets there, Howard has already chosen Emily Alpha.

In contrast, Peter has earnestly carried out his end of the bargain and gave to Clare every opportunity to come clean and be honest so they could continue to move forward. She chose a lie, and if I’m not mistaken, it’s one Peter saw through.

Peter: [voice shaking] If this is to continue, I need some kind of truth. Have they been in contact? Since the attack, have your people been in touch in any way?
Clare: [staring deeply into Peter’s eyes] No. I’ve heard from no one. [passion begins]
Peter: Stop! That won’t work on me anymore.

Clare uses sex with Peter to shut him up. That was her shtick from the time she killed her counterpart. It’s on Peter’s mind even as he records his confession, admitting he fell in love with one woman and married her counterpart. 

Related: Counterpart Season 1 Episode 10 Review: No Man’s Land, Part Two

It’s a story that is almost impossible to believe, but when someone inevitably hears that statement, it will be all too true. Has Naya been brought on board to be the person who will step into Peter’s shoes on his way out?

The idea of Harry Lloyd leaving Counterpart is nauseating. His line delivery and gut-wrenching performance as the long-suffering dupe is one of the reasons the return of the show is so lauded. 

But even Peter knows he cannot remain the luckiest guy in the world. Hell, he tosses all of his money on what he expects to be a losing bet and wins. How can he maintain that streak?

Clare is cold. She may share a child with that lucky bastard, but she didn’t hesitate before putting bullets in the head of the only two guys in the middle of the woods who were going to dig holes for the three dead bodies surrounding her.

Even I would have let them dig the holes before shooting them and dumping them in beside the others! Not Clare. 

The other possibility is that Naya somehow turns out to be Peter’s savior instead of his downfall.

She appears to have a special relationship with Management. Did everyone who got the job talk with them directly during the interview process?

That was surprising to me. There wasn’t an interpreter in the room. At least, I’ve always considered those men with the cases to be interpreters.

Related: Related: Get Starz via Prime Video Channels for Captivating Original Series & Hit Movies!

As we learned at the end of the hour when Naya was giving her report to Management, on the other end was another man with a case. Is there Management of Management? Speakers, cameras, interpreters. It’s very confusing.

Naya didn’t seem to be intruding on Peter’s process when she was asking questions of him but honestly interested in an exchange of information. 

Management’s interest in her faith and Naya’s wavering thoughts on God once she learned there were two Meccas provide for a lot of potential. Peter has proven himself to be more than the superficial man he once made himself to be, and the two could find common ground if he got into trouble.

Will her introspection lead her to place different values on right and wrong and question what she once believed to be right? I could see that.

Only half of the story was revealed as the other side was a mystery during the premiere, so there is a lot more to come. 

What are you most excited about? Who are you most interested in exploring more as the season progresses? Hit the comments and share your thoughts!

Don’t forget that you can watch Counterpart online to get caught up, and I urge you to see all of the first season if you haven’t already. Don’t miss it!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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