Review of 'Counterpart 1.4'

The Switch

A really superb episode 1.4 of Counterpart last night—my favorite so far—in which the two Howards switch sides. Again, the acting of J. K. Simmons is Emmy-worthy. Here the kind Howard from our world has to play the tough Howard from the other side, and vice versa, and both do it just right. This series is a pleasure to see just because of Simmons' acting.

But the storyline is deep and effective, too. Our Howard and his Emily (now in the hospital) lost their baby, already named Anna, in a miscarriage. On the other side, the tough Howard is long divorced from Emily, but their daughter Anna is an adult, with a commanding presence (not surprising, given her parents).

Our Howard and that Emily are of course attracted to one another, but the beginning of their relationship that we saw last night was fueled by the need that he has for his wife (she's been in a coma in the hospital since she was run down) and she for man who looks just like her husband but, in her words, is far better than he. It's a relationship I haven't seen before in any narrative. It's born of science fiction but is about as real as it gets for two human beings—very early, quiet, and preliminary, but already memorable and very powerful.

The Baldwin story is an interesting take on the classic spy story too. Seduced by a woman who betrays her, by taking her gun, but Baldwin triumphs over the man who comes to kill her, anyway, with some strong one-on-one combat. The whole sequence was a James Bond interlude for the 21st century.

Counterpart has now established itself not just as a series with an original and compelling idea, but an execution to match.

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Review of 'Counterpart 1.4'
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