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Review of 'Counterpart' 2.1

'Strange' and 'Lucky'

Counterpart is one of the strangest science fiction series ever on television. It is also one of the best. That's why it wasn't the least bit strange that I was glad to see it return for its second season.

"Strange" also plays a major role in this story. Emily Silk, back from not the dead but a coma, is having trouble adjusting to home life in our world. In particular, she finds her husband Howard a little strange—he doesn't seem quite right to her. We know why—this Howard is not really her Howard, the Howard she is married to. It is Howard from the other world. Under cover here as our Howard. Though he puts on a good act, he's not quite as affable as Howard her husband. This Howard certainly betrays to us on the other side of the screen a hard glint in the eye, when he thinks Emily isn't looking.

By the way, I have to say, again, how impressed I am with J. K. Simmons. He is able to play tough Howard portraying a softer Howard just perfectly—he (tough Howard) is trying with about 99 percent success to be softer. That can't be easy for an actor.

He also portrays tough Howard to a tee, like when he's talking to his colleague and other-worlder, Clare. This bring us to the second key word in this episode, "lucky." That's what Peter says to himself and to us that he's been, up until now. Followed by he's not going to rely on that anymore. He has a daughter and a wife to protect, even though his wife Clare is from the other side, which means Peter must be ready to protect himself from her, too.

Just what this Clare will ultimately do is a big question left over from the first season. She says having a daughter has changed her, and her deepest loyalties, and demonstrated this last season. But tonight, in that conversation with Howard, she sure seems loyal to that other side that trained her. Or maybe she's putting on an act for him. In a world in which doppelgängers lurk almost around every corner, you better be ready to put on an act any time it's needed. Your life may and likely does depend upon it.

As I said, Counterpart is a strange show. And we're lucky to have it. And good to see Betty Gabriel in an important role as Naya Temple, new bureau chief on our side. I'll see you here soon with review of the next episode.

In the meantime, check out the rough mix of my song "Samantha," recorded in November at Old Bear Records in Batavia, NY, and due to be released on my new album of science fiction related songs in 2019. ("Samantha" is about love between people from parallel worlds.) 

Paul Levinson
Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code (winner Locus Award, Best 1st Science Fiction Novel of 1999) & The Plot To Save Socrates. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context has been translated into 15 languages. 

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Review of 'Counterpart' 2.1
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