Counterpart: You to You
February 10, 2019 7:21 PM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Management makes a historic decision; Emily sends a warning; Quayle, Clare and Temple investigate the final Indigo cell; and Howard Prime reaches out to an old contact.
posted by oh yeah! (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I've really enjoyed this season.

The Emily/Emily scene was riveting. I watched it twice. In fact, when it began I immediately started resenting the fact that I knew it would end too soon, as it felt to me like it exemplified everything I've wanted from and enjoyed in this show.

When Emily-Alpha told Emily-Prime that raising a child would have made her "go under", she obviously knew about Prime's substance-abuse problems (Prime was in rehab when Alpha spent the weekend with Anna), and Prime most likely knew Alpha knew this, but even so I think it was the moment that Emily-Alpha broke through Prime's defenses.

Emily-Alpha has been so confused and vulnerable, while Emily-Prime has been (relatively) self-assured and decisive -- well, it was fascinating and revealing to see that, for the most part, their roles were profoundly reversed in that Interface room. We're seeing more of who Emily-Alpha really was -- she is, or more accurately was, prior to the "accident" and subsequent life-reevaluation, very much the analogue to Howard-Prime: hardened, pragmatic, competent, work-obsessed, and professionally very accomplished and respected.

Likewise, Howard-Alpha and Emily-Prime are people not defined by their jobs, but also very much their relationships. They are both damaged (although all four are, though distinctly) by how their ambivalence about their choices regarding their relationships so profoundly altered their lives. Howard-Alpha superficially seems to have made the choice that made him happier, but it was built around his deluding himself that Emily-Alpha wasn't lying to him and wasn't (as we know otherwise) actually cheating on him. His confession to Emily-Prime about knowing this spoke volumes. It revealed that some things both Howard-Prime and Yanek said to him hit the mark. He is, I think, the happier and better version of Howard, but not as happy as he pretends. He knows he doesn't want to be like Prime, but his strong connection with Emily-Prime has everything to do with the fact that she, more than anyone (even Howard-Prime) understands how becoming who he is has been painful and come at a price. Similarly, he understands Emily-Prime better than Howard-Prime does, because he sees what having a child and being honest with Howard-Prime cost her. They are both damaged in the same way: they are vulnerable and insecure because they deliberately choose the more emotionally risky path -- but while neither regrets it, they also both envy their others for the things they lost.

Emily-Alpha's injury has pushed her to a place that's closer to a balance between her old self and Emily-Prime, she's grown the most, and it wasn't just professional self-confidence we were seeing in that meeting, but also a newfound emotional self-confidence that's come from her profound injury and subsequent events.

Howard-Alpha has grown, especially in confronting his decades of self-delusion; but I think he'll grow more in the presence of Emily-Alpha now that he's known Emily-Prime, knows more about who his wife really is, but most importantly her example of personal growth.

Howard-Prime, who I sometimes feel is the show's lead character (which is suggestive), has discovered the virtues of the choice Howard-Alpha made: in a sense, he's rediscovered something of the Emily with whom he fell in love. But he's the only one of the four to have exclusively and extensively interacted with their (partner/ex-partner) as impersonating their other. For him, it's easy to dismiss any hope for change he might have experienced as a function of "immersing himself in the role". However, I think the one big opportunity he has is in the (Alpha-driven) rapprochement with Anna.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:17 AM on February 11 [5 favorites]


Interesting how until a few episodes ago Management was basically a force of nature and then Mira just dispassionately disposes of them all in a moment. Did she purposely take matching comm suitcases from both sides? Have we been shown how those work? Is there a relay? Now Mira will be regarded as Management by Strategy?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:50 PM on February 11


She took both sides' suitcases so that she could broadcast to both sides at once from the deluxe interface room, which apparently straddles the border between worlds.

(Which does make me think: they must've excavated to build the interface rooms? So why do people always cross using the original crossing with all its dramatic lighting and trip hazards? Are there other crossings, either official or unofficial? Tunneling across the border seems very much in keeping with the Berlin setting.)

Now Mira will be regarded as Management by Strategy?

I think so, yes? At least until Strategy find out that Management have been assassinated. But as they pre-emptively evacuated the building, that's going to be a while. (Did both sides evacuate? I forget.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:16 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Mira, standing in middle of the one Interface room that allows items to transferred (the one the Emilys met in), was positioned on the line dividing the two worlds. From there, she opened both a Prime and Alpha Management suitcase each, activated them, and then gave orders to both worlds' Management intermediaries.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:17 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Both sides evacuated.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:19 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Bad news, looks like next week's finale is the end - Counterpart Canceled at Starz
posted by oh yeah! at 7:59 PM on February 11


Huh. I certainly would have tuned into another season but also am fine with letting it go, if only because there’s a glut of other programming to gorge. The central idea of a duplicated world that diverged will still keep rumbling around in my head for awhile anyway. Here’s hoping the finale sends it off right.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:12 PM on February 11


Aw, I'm sad about that. I am wondering though how much season 2 was written with "may well be our last" in mind. It feels like it's telling a bigger rise-and-fall story than season 1 and heading towards a more definite resolution.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:28 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


The fact that the production studio is still trying to entice one of the streaming outlets to pick up the show makes me worry that the ending is going to leave us hanging. But on the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if they give us a big cliffhanger finale that still ends up being emotionally satisfying as a series finale, especially with the way they've burned through such major events in these past two episodes. And they had to know that Starz was on the fence about renewal even if they didn't make the official decision until recently, just based on the lack of promotional support.
posted by oh yeah! at 1:39 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


This is one of my most favorite shows, so I'm very sad about the cancelation. I've heard there is a cliffhanger ending. Maybe it won't be too upsetting.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:12 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Oh crap, I love this show and don't want to see it go. JK Simmons is fantastic, Olivia Williams is fantastic, everybody is .... shit damn fuck.

I am assuming that Howard-Prime is going to be left on the Alpha side, unless he can pull off a miracle and get into the building via Emily.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:09 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Blacknerd recap.
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:26 AM on February 16


Hey, I haven't started watching the finale yet, might not get to it until morning, whoever feels like posting the last thread first, please have at it.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:32 PM on February 17


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