Counterpart: No Man's Land, Part One
March 18, 2018 7:02 PM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

I think that the last piece - the agent getting stuck on the border - isn’t just a random thing, or “oh look, he was trying to get back but failed.” I think he’s trying to /do/ something to the border- possibly seal it?

On another side note, I’m kind of wondering if the closed captioning is super spoilery. It references a “Howard Prime”, and I’m not sure if it’s revealing which is the original Howard, or is just using a convenient shorthand.
posted by corb at 6:09 AM on March 19, 2018

The show has been using ‘Prime’ for people from the flu-decimated world and ‘Alpha’ for the non-flu world throughout, so, it’s not a spoiler thing. I mean, so far the show hasn’t tried to trick the audience about which version of the characters we’re seeing, it’s always clear from context and Simmons’ acting skills as to which Howard is which.

And, yeah, it seems like a huge squandering of resources that went into training and placing those 3 spies if all they were there for was to commit an office shooting, but this being part 1 of a 2-parter no doubt the plan will become clearer next week.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:17 AM on March 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty sure the audio used the phase "Howard Prime" too.

I have been vaguely wondering if the show was going to eventually pull a reveal not about the characters, but about the two worlds: we've assumed that one of them is "our" world as it's more familiar to us, but ... what if we're actually them? I can't see how this could actually work satisfyingly from a narrative standpoint.

But still: we haven't actually seen anything of either world beyond Berlin, right? On both sides the setting feels quite constrained and quite isolated in its Cold-War bubble. The focus on the census numbers as a bargaining chip suggests that there maybe is a bigger picture that we'll eventually pull out to see.

The office shooting was very uncomfortable to watch post-Parkland.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:17 PM on March 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

> we've assumed that one of them is "our" world as it's more familiar to us, but ... what if we're actually them?

I had wondered that but, they revealed that Prince is alive in the influenza universe, so, narratively at least, it seemed to me that they wanted to tell us which world was ours in a way that didn't lend itself to take-backsies.

If all they wanted to do was get downstairs, they already got there once, to cross over the first time. If all they wanted was to seal the hole it would seem to be easier to do it from their side? Either way, shooting their way in again is a weird plan unless something deeper is afoot.

I can sort of understand why they're not allowed to go pull someone back across the border but... these guys just shot up the place, they're obviously not playing by whatever rules were arranged between the two sides, so I'd rather think any treaty obligations would have gone out the window.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:54 PM on March 19, 2018

So wait, that's it? They just shot up the place? I was expecting the building to get bombed or something very large. Otherwise, that seems like a lot of planning just to kill a few dozen people, even if they are high level intelligence people/spooks/clerks.

Overall, I'm very happy with this show. Top notch performances all around.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 2:22 PM on March 21, 2018

I'm wondering what the tech-room was that the be-speckled guest was trying to jam/activate/whatever - some kind of seal of the crossing? I'm with the herd here, though, in thinking - 'that was it? years of prep for a shootout?' The rest of the series is very well put together, so I think we'll probably get a bigger picture in the next episode, and since they've greenlit a second season, it may end on a cliffhanger.
posted by eclectist at 6:36 PM on March 23, 2018

I'm wondering what the tech-room was that the be-speckled guest was trying to jam/activate/whatever - some kind of seal of the crossing?

It seemed that he was shutting down the security doors on all levels, since his switch-flipping unlocked the door of the room Howard was stuck in. It doesn't seem as if the crossing itself has a seal/lock, it's just there, and the building/security has all been constructed around it. Didn't one of the characters (I forget who, or which episode) say they wished they could just blow it up and break the connection forever?
posted by oh yeah! at 7:00 PM on March 23, 2018

what if we're actually them?

According to the clippings in the 'classroom,' 9/11 also didn't happen to Flu-universe. Another interesting thing was the diagrams about the divergence - at first, there's a steady state low level divergence until some event happened/didn't happen that created a rift but the rate of divergence stabilized again until another big event (deadly swine flu) accelerated the rate of divergence but the divergence rate doesn't stabilize (or its too early to see it stabilize, or that the divergence broke through a threshold). The y-axis doesn't really support that, though, the first divergence acceleration happened very shortly after 1982, then the flu in 1996 - but there wasn't another acceleration in 2001.

I find the concept of this show absolutely fascinating (and just about everyone brings their A-game acting) but I'm still really unclear on the motivations of the polities involved.

Really looking forward to the finale next ep, but I'm disquieted that the entire thing might just be one big tease.
posted by porpoise at 5:24 PM on March 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

They're doing a Counterpart marathon today, in case anyone missed a few episodes (like me).
posted by homunculus at 9:42 AM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Agh! I didn't realize until just now that they aren't running the finale until next weekend. Nooooo! (I mean, I could understand if they were skipping a week to avoid the holiday weekend, but instead they took this week off and deliberately bumped the finale to Easter Sunday? Why, Starz, why?)
posted by oh yeah! at 6:28 PM on March 25, 2018

I thought the lady and glasses dude were more or less creating a distraction (and unlocking the doors). Quayle's father-in-law is a big shot but the lady didn't bother with him. The real mission was to get the third guy down to the crossing.

I wonder if they were expecting the School to show up from the other side? The Guests wouldn't know that it'd been destroyed due to being discovered by Emily Prime and Howard Alpha.
posted by harriet vane at 6:22 AM on January 15, 2019

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