'Counterpart' finale: STARZ's show will be missed for its unique storyline, strong female leads and the remarkable J K Simmons
There are some shows that deal with alternate universes, but rarely do they delve into the philosophical depths of the concept as deep as 'Counterpart'
STARZ's 'Counterpart' is officially coming to an end. The final episode of Season 2, set to air February 17, will serve as the finale of the series. Although STARZ pulled down the Justin Marks-created show, saying it wouldn't be carrying the third season, production house MRC, is already trying to sell the show to other channels. Hopefully, some channel will pick it up since 'Counterpart' deserves to remain on screen for at least two more seasons.
Starring J.K. Simmons as Howard Silk, Olivia Williams as Emily Silk, Harry Lloyd as Peter Quayle, Sara Serraiocco as Baldwin, Nazanin Boniadi as Clare, Christiane Paul as Mira and Betty Gabriel as Naya Temple the show revolves around the notion of alternate realities.
It begins to follow Howard Silk Alpha who has no idea about the existence of the other world until he meets his counterpart from the Prime world, Howard Prime. Howard Alpha is a man of manners, who has never been promoted at work, but Howard Prime is a clever spy who has come to the Alpha world to hunt down Indigo's Sleeper Agents (the terrorists sent by Mira to take over the Alpha world).
The show has almost come to a close with just the finale remaining, and as we can only hope for a third season by some other network, here are the three main reasons why the show shouldn't have been canceled:
1. A lone wolf in storytelling
The most interesting part about the show was its storyline. Unlike other science fiction that tell the story of alternate dimensions from an extremely cliched point of view, Marks' show took the subject to a whole new level with his philosophy.
The show consistently revolved around the idea that among two versions of the same thing, one version will always try to remove the other and take complete authority. Over the course of the show, especially in Season 2, we saw the people of the Prime world being instigated by Mira to replace their counterparts in the Alpha world.
However, Marks brought in yet another interesting angle here. It is a fact that when we see or observe an alternate version of ourselves, we are either glad about being better or completely distressed at the thought of not being as good as the other.
Similarly, when the Primes arrived in the Alpha world, they were in utter despair to find their counterparts led far better lives than them. As they tried to fit into their lives, the show drew up to the conclusion where it asserted we are who we are, and no alternate reality can change that.
2. Strong female leads
It is easier to portray a female character who continuously churns out dialogues that are laden with feminist opinions, political aspects, and other big-worded ideas. However, we find none of that in the female characters of 'Counterpart'. We don't hear them complaining about the men in the two worlds or just how oppressed they are by everything.
These women don't need all of that. Every one of them, be it Clare, Baldwin, Emily or Naya, has her own past, her own crisis in the present, and an uncertain future. Not once do we see any unnecessary instances of clashing among genders, instead these characters play their parts according to the plot, and their crisis is no different from the ones faced by the men.
What is even more interesting is that 'Counterpart's villain is a woman, and you can easily sense she is one of the most sinister villains on TV. As the baddie of the show, Mira too, has a bad past which triggers her volatile behavior as the leader of the terrorist cell, Indigo. However, Mira isn't a villain with daddy issues, she is a mastermind who wants to rule not just one world but two.
3. J.K. Simmons at his best
As an actor, Simmons is undoubtedly extraordinary. His role as the petrifying music instructor in Damien Chazelle's 2014 film 'Whiplash' was just as sterling as his possessive, tough-minded character in Gavin Wiesen's 2017 movie, 'All Nighter'.
As Howard Silk on the STARZ show, Simmons plays two versions of the same person, each hailing from different realities with a different backstory, but with common interests. The complex nature of Silk, who is a docile husband in one version and a skillful spy in another, was best executed by this "character actor".
Simmons claimed that in order to portray the characters as they are, without overlapping their personalities, the actor had to maintain the fact that the difference between the two Howards is chiefly psychological. "It's all psychological and emotional. And in fact, it was not a significant effort for me to consciously go, 'Oh, I’m playing this guy, so I have to physicalize it this way'."
The finale of 'Counterpart' is set to air February 17 on STARZ. Watch the promo trailer for Episode 10 below.