'Counterpart': Emily takes over Howard in first episode of second season
The second season is just as "strange" as Emily describes her surrounding to be, and it seems like secrets are being compromised.
One of the many things that STARZ's JK Simmons starring show, 'Counterpart', can boast about is its actors who have not only played the roles of complicated characters in this world but equally convoluted individuals from the other side.
While the first season chiefly focused on the plight of the two Howard Silks who meet for the first time ever since the "Crossing" was opened at the end of the Cold War, 30 years ago, the pilot episode of the second season looks into the life of the woman who has been at the center of Howard's existence - his wife Emily Silk, played by an emphatic Olivia Williams.
The Justin Marks created show follows the docile Howard Silk Alpha who comes face to face with his counterpart from the parallel universe. Howard Silk Prime is nothing like his Alpha-self, in fact, he is a ruthless spy who has entered our world looking for the unsympathetic assassin, Baldwin, played by the baby-faced Sara Serraiocco.
Towards the end of the first season, it was revealed that Howard Alpha was taken to prison in the other world while Howard Prime left the assassin free trying to get back at her through Emily Alpha. Season 2 sees the two worlds being compromised by a secret which everyone knows about but no one is saying a word of.
Episode 1 of the second season takes off from where the first season had left. With Emily coming back to her senses and struggling from a failing memory, Howard Prime has put his plan into action. He carefully treads around Emily's forgetfulness, trying to click out information from her whenever possible, but he unintentionally fails to convince her that he is her husband. Emily, who feels everything to be extremely "strange" is unable to trust her husband and goes on to confess to her doctor that she was able to trust nobody. The entire episode revolves around her picking up pieces of memories and trying to re-create that fateful evening when she was hit by a car.
Emily almost seems to be lurking around her own mind trying to figure out the changes that are making her uncomfortable, such as not returning the book to the library or if her husband always spoke that way. However, in the brief recollection she has while walking down the same road where she met with her accident it is soon revealed that she is no different than her Prime-self.
Emily had kept her life a secret from her husband all along. Although Howard Alpha was never aware of the existence of a parallel world, Emily was already making her errands in and out of the two worlds which ultimately resulted in her mishap.
This revelation leaves us wondering if Emily Alpha is actually from the Prime world and probably the swap took place years ago when the "Crossing" appeared. A sense of guilt seems to follow Emily her every step of the way, and her guilt acts as a reflection of Clare's (played by Nazanin Boniadi) guilt who seems to be faltering after all. Throughout the first season, Clare Prime tried her best to pose as Clare Alpha but with Peter's scrutinizing gaze she ultimately had to put her guard off, only when she was convinced that Peter would take the secret to his grave. However, it seems that in Season 2 Peter's loyalty is in doubt and as we know his apprehensive nature has always led him on the right track.
Peter is also now under the obligation to report the truth to Naya Temple, the virtuous FBI agent played by Betty Gabriel who has been hired by Interface to find out Baldwin. Naya's appearance in the second season is like a reminder of Howard Alpha's naive stance in the first season. Just like Howard, Temple knew nothing about the two worlds until she was called down to investigate the situation. Initially stunned upon realizing that there are two versions of the same world, Temple came up as someone who is cautious with every move she makes. Her arrival at Interface immediately alerts Howard Prime and Peter, both of whom are sitting on paramount information.
What will Howard and Peter do? Will they sell out their secrets? Peter and Clare have been at odds to each other since the latter part of the first season, but it seems that Peter, to whom nothing is more important than the safety of the "Crossing" and his child, might not be up for any more secrets. Peter had played a crucial role in bringing back the diplomacy on track and probably this time he will be careful so as not to compromise with it. Also, revealing the secret about Clare might just protect his father-in-law (played by Richard Schiff ), who has no idea his real daughter has been murdered and replaced by the other Clare.
As for the two Howards, we still do not see Howard Alpha in the first episode but Howard Prime's presence in our world is just as prominent as Howard Alpha's absence. Howard Prime is trying to shed his arrogance around Emily as he is well aware that her memory of Interface might be of immense significance. His relationship with Emily Alpha at the moment is what her fractured mind would describe it as "strange". Tune in to STARZ on December 9, Sunday, to know more about Emily's secret, Naya's determination, and Howard's plight.