Sunday, December 23, 2018

REVIEW: 'Counterpart' - The Pressure Continues to Mount as Both Howards Make Crucial Decisions in 'Something Borrowed'

Starz's Counterpart - Episode 2.03 "Something Borrowed"

Howard is transferred to a mysterious prison called Echo. An unexpected visit gives Emily a connection to her old life. Emily Prime and Shaw's investigation is met with resistance.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Starz's Counterpart.

"Something Borrowed" was written by Tom Pabst and directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez

Three episodes into the new season and the drama is still mostly just catching up with the characters to see what they are currently up to. Sure, things are continuing to get complicated for both Howards. However, this hour is still introducing a ton of plot that encompasses more characters. Baldwin makes her first appearance for the season. She foolishly doesn't get out of Berlin right away because she still yearns for Greta. And yet, that relationship seems to have imploded quickly with Baldwin not being able to do anything to win her back. She is quickly kidnapped and held hostage for potential information about where Lambert is. This hour introduces two new counterparts for familiar characters as well. The first is Lambert Alpha. That's a relationship that is unlike anything the show has previous done. There is actually a sense of intimacy between the counterparts. They are so close with each other. They feel open to talk to each other about anything. It's freeing in a way while still being absolutely chilling as well because the audience has no understanding just how deep this connection actually goes. Lambert causes a whole lot of damage here as well. He is continuing to force Clare into action. She does ultimately activate the next cell of sleeper agents - which happens to include her childhood crush Spencer. That's bound to get complicated sooner rather than later. More importantly though, Lambert understands that Quayle has learned who Clare truly is. Because of that, he is more than willing to make an attempt on his life in the hopes to keep the plan moving according to schedule. Of course, that creates an immediate problem for Quayle and Clare because Lambert could be the one who destroys their new understanding. However, they have an ally in Howard Prime at the moment who is willing to kill Lambert too. His death will alleviate some of the tension in the Alpha world. But it's going to be very complicated because he won't go quietly nor will Alpha management be happy that he is killed instead of interrogated for information. That's what the Prime refugees are hoping for. They aspire to earn safe passage home if they can hand over Lambert. Howard Prime seems destined to turn on his friends. Plus, his secrets may not stay for much longer because Naya reaches out to Emily in the hopes that she remembers more about the work she did before the accident. That story remains full of empty teases so far. Emily Prime is making progress on her investigation as well. It just proves that Emily knows that Shadow is a woman and couldn't possibly be Aldrich while Emily Prime may have reason to believe that the Alpha world did create the plague that almost killed everyone on the Prime side. That may have been what Emily was actually investigating. It's been her large focus with this work for the last decade. She may have the proof as well - so long as Emily Prime can find out.

Meanwhile, Howard is sent away to a black site called Echo. It's a program completely sanctioned by the Office of Interchange that uses the Prime counterparts in order to get information on some of the key individuals making decisions on the Alpha side of the world. That's chilling especially when it comes to Quayle Prime. He is a very different person. Of course, the neurotic need to feel important is present with both versions of the character. There is just a stark difference as well because Quayle actually has that importance. He is the director of strategy. He is trusted by Alpha management to make sense of what happened during the attack and prevent another one from occurring. Meanwhile, Quayle Prime is a crazed man who has been locked in this cell for far too long. He hopes that he has been useful to Yanek and everyone else who runs this program. And yet, he didn't know how important his counterpart was until Howard came to this facility. This is clearly a program that Indigo wanted him to be in. He had no interest in becoming a spy. He didn't want to supply information about his wife to Prime management. It's clear why the Prime side is so interested in her. They are willfully keeping information from Emily Prime even though it's pertinent to her investigation. Shaw may have found a link to communicate with them though. He succeeded where Mira failed. And yet, that's not important to Howard. He just wants to go home. He isn't afforded that opportunity though. Instead, he is at the mercy of a man who truly wants to get inside his head. Yanek wants to amplify the fears Howard must have about how he could have become the spy on the other side of this parallel universe. He hates Howard Prime. But that is still an extension of himself. He doesn't want to believe that. His denial may be unhealthy. But it's certainly rational given everything that he has experienced. He wants to believe that Howard Prime is doing the right thing in protecting Emily. He's still living his life when the charade has already been exposed on the Prime side. This is no longer a gambit Howard is interested in continuing. But instead, he is beaten up by a man he used to call a friend. Now, it's very curious why Marcel Prime is still locked away in this facility. Marcel was killed in the first episode of the series. So, his counterpart can no longer provide information on him. That may just prove that no one can ever leave this program because it needs to remain more covert than anything else involving this organization.