Sunday, February 10, 2019

REVIEW: 'Counterpart' - Mira and Yanek Meet with Management While Howard Returns Home in 'You to You'

Starz's Counterpart - Episode 2.09 "You to You"

Management makes a historic decision. Emily sends a warning. Quayle, Clare and Temple investigate the final Indigo cell. Howard Prime reaches out to an old contact.

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. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Starz's Counterpart.

"You to You" was written by Gianna Sobol and directed by Charlotte Brändström

Yanek pleads with Management to admit that their experiment has failed and they should just close the doors between their two worlds for good. He believes it's the only way to ensure that both worlds have the ability to continue living and evolving. They are destined to destroy each other as long as the connection between them is real and active. And yes, he may actually be right. Management has been far away from the conflicts happening throughout the worlds. They appear to be up to date on every development that happens. But everything is so impersonal as well. They expect complete loyalty from the people who work for them without offering them anything in exchange. They believe that Shaw should be grateful because the Prime management took him in and allowed him to remain an agent. Meanwhile, Emily Prime was given a promotion but is now brought back to the office in handcuffs. And yet, she is freed and allowed to meet with her other. There is no explanation for that or why Management would suddenly trust her. But again, all of this is predictable human behavior to Mira. She has calculated every move that Management makes here. She has lived a life seeing the war fought on both sides and the high number of casualties along the way. She has been radicalized because she doesn't only want to close the doors for good. She wants the equilibrium to be restored as well. She wants the Alpha world to suffer just as much as the Prime world did. Naya, Quayle and Clare may be unable to stop it as well because the other Indigo agents have injected themselves with the virus and are making their plans to see the world. The office may be too late in stopping any of this. That would be so destructive. Mira emerges victorious in her meeting with Management as well. She had no plans of actually trying to persuade them to close the doors. She knew that was never going to happen. She doesn't care how Yanek reacts to all of this either. Sure, she gives him the opportunity to return to his world and she his actual daughter again. But right now, it's simply more important to give the order to both sides that the doors need to be sealed shut. She succeeds in all of this because she is able to manipulate Shaw into letting her go. Now, that is a moment that requires the audience to trust that it laid all the groundwork for his connection to this woman, Nomi. It's not quite earned because so much of it was told to us in an expositional way with Shaw not becoming a more engaging character. It doesn't matter that he could see through Howard right away. But for him to be at the center of this and for it to pivot around an emotional connection in his life, it just doesn't land in the intended way. Mira still walks away from all of this as the woman in charge of everything. It means the season is coming to a close with the two worlds possibly severing their connection between each other for good.

As has been common throughout this season though, it's been much more effective to watch what all of this means for the characters the audience cares about. Howard has spent this entire season in isolation. He refused to cooperate with Management and spy on his wife. He didn't want to betray her like that or continue to play their games. And now, he is incredibly lucky because he is once again made a part of a deal. Emily has become aware that her husband isn't in her world. And so, she reaches out to secure his freedom while warning the Alpha management of the threat coming their way. Now, no one needed to be told that Mira shouldn't be trusted. That should be a given. All of this should be expected to be a trap. It ultimately was. However, the power of Emily meeting her other comes from the two of them actually discussing the lives they've lived and the influence they have had on each other. It was a violation that Emily would pretend to be her other. She did so because she yearned to be a mother. Only now is she willing to accept that she didn't actually want to be a parent. She just wanted to offer Anna what she clearly needed and couldn't get from Emily Prime. But Emily still respects her other and what she was able to accomplish despite her flaws. As such, Emily Prime gives her other the hope that she hasn't lost Howard for good despite all that he has learned about her lately. That's so damaging because the audience already knows that Howard is torn about trusting his wife again. He no longer recognizes her. She is becoming more and more like the person she was before the accident too. Her entire world has been shocked again because of exposing Howard Prime as an imposter. That was good for her own mental clarity. But it also makes her a priority at the office because she suddenly has the skills to get things done. She arranges this meeting. She has regrets. She sees her report as the reason why Mira radicalized an entire generation. If the doors close, then the Alpha world will be plunged into chaos with no immediate way to reverse it. That's very scary and daunting. It puts an emphasis on Quayle and Clare's journey. Their connection is growing even though their backs are up against a wall. Howard Prime continues to insert himself in all of this too. So, things are bound to come to an explosive ending in the finale. Hopefully, it resonates strongly with the few individual characters who have really grown and evolved throughout this season.