'Counterpart' Season 2: Episode 8 takes the use of symbolism by Starz show to another level
The latest episode uses the relationship of German poet Rainer Maria Rilke with an older lover to cast light on the relationship between Emily Alpha and Howard Prime
The sheer ingenuity of the Justin Marks-created show 'Counterpart' lies in its use of symbolism in the narrative. Throughout the last seven episodes of season 2 of the Starz show several symbolic props -- be it a book, a song, or even a piece of clothing -- have been used to signify a character's stance in the unruly versions of their world.
The use of symbolism is taken to a whole new level with Episode 8, where a book is used to indicate a character's internal conflict.
Starring JK Simmons as Howard Silk, Olivia Williams as Emily Silk, Harry Lloyd as Peter Quayle, Nazanin Boniadi as Clare, and Christiane Paul as Mira, Episode 8 is probably one of the most mind bloggling episodes in the show so far.
It follows Clare and Peter as they begin their stay at the hiding which in the Prime world serves as the Indigo headquarters. However, this time the story begins to revolve around Peter as he tries to understand Clare's stance when it comes to Mira.
While walking with Clare through her memories as a little girl in Indigo, Peter over and again tries to convince her that Mira has done nothing good for her. However, none of his words seem to affect Clare who still wants to believe the parent-figure she discovered in Mira years ago. It is probably Clare's dilemma when it comes to her allegiance with Indigo that compelled her to arrive at the same place which served as the Sleeper's Den years ago.
The show inculcates Biblical allusions while telling us Clare's story. Just like the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus whose emergence from the den after almost 200 years affirmed the Christian notion of resurrection, Clare's story is also about her own process of coming back to life.
Peter almost tries to convince her into noticing Mira's flaws, but Clare only realizes her misdeed once she encounters the memory of her own counterpart, whom she had killed in Season 1. Clare's realization resurrects her from being an assassin with a dead heart into a mother who could sacrifice everything for her daughter.
The symbolisms don't just stop there, as we once again come across another renowned German-Austrian poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. Earlier the show had introduced us to Günter Grass's 1959 novel, 'The Tin Drum', which follows the scandalous story of Oskar, the boy who refused to grow up.
The book had in a major way depicted Emily Alpha's true nature as an extremely unrelaiable narrator, just like Oskar, and similarly Rilke's mention in Episode 8 projects yet another characteristic of Emily Alpha. Rilke's relationship with his older lover and mentor Lou Andreas-Salomé serves as an allusion to Emily's relationship with Howard Prime.
The two finally shed their differences aside, as Howard Prime tried to help Emily Alpha solve a puzzle. As soon as the puzzle is solved, it seems that Howard Prime has introduced Emily Alpha to a whole new world, just as Salome had introduced Rilke to Russia.
Rilke and Salome's affair did not last for long, and with Episode 8 we know that Howard Prime and Emily Alhpa's relationship is about to face a severe breakdown. However, the question still remains if they will retain their partnership after the fallout just as Rilke kept his friendship with Salome even when their affair ended. What is even more interesting is that it was Rilke's book which was a catalyst for the subtle play of affection between Howard and Emily.
Episode 8 of 'Counterpart' Season 2 is set to air on February 3, and it will disturb you emotionally.