'Counterpart' Season 2: Yanek's origin tale is the action that caused the reactions in both Alpha and Prime worlds
Yanek's actions leaves behind a series of consequences that alters the workings of the two worlds altogether.
STARZ's 'Counterpart' has been dealing with an extremely sensitive topic about the existence of two versions of one world. Revolving around the theory of a daughter universe, that suggests that the universe creates versions or copies of itself with every possible outcome of the decisions that we make in a situation, the topic itself has opened the space for exploration within the show. 'Counterpart', in spite of being about spy espionage, chose to stick to the philosophy behind the theory — will one version inevitably destroy the other to claim the world as its own? The show has been trying to answer the question in Season 2 and with Episode Six, rightly named 'Twin Cities', it delves deeper into the misgivings of the theory.
Starring Christiane Paul as Mira and James Cromwell as Yanek, alongside J.K. Simmons (Howard Silk), Olivia Williams (Emily Burton Silk), Harry Lloyd (Peter Quayle), Nazanin Boniadi (Clare), and Sara Serraiocco (Baldwin), the sixth episode is set to take viewers back to 1987 when it all began.
Following Mira's departure with Yanek at the end of episode five, we get to see the past of Yanek and how it left an impact on not just his daughter but the two worlds that he discovered. The show takes us back to 1987, when Yanek, a socialist, is looking forward to fleeing East Berlin in order to protect his family from the impending doom of the Cold War.
Quite expectedly, Yanek gets involved in some kind of scientific experience which opens up a whole new world, exactly identical to his own, in front of him.
As the discoveries between the two worlds begin, the story walks us through the opening of the Crossing, the exchange of intelligence, and finally arrives at the point where everything turns out to be exactly what Yanek feared — one version inevitably seeks to overtake the other. This is where 'Counterpart' puts down its stamp as a show which has left multiple blank spaces in between lines. Unlike any conventional sci-fi show, 'Counterpart' picks the idea of the existence of a world identical to our own's and then plays around with it until you are uncomfortable enough with the concept.
As Yanek and his counterpart (out here we still do not know which world is Alpha and which is Prime), along with their group of associates begin to research on the workings of the two worlds, Yanek gets involved in something that he never intended to get into. His action leaves behind a series of consequences that alters the workings of the two worlds altogether. Even a decision as minute as gifting or not gifting his daughter a cassette of her favorite band sees some dramatic results, and it is right here where the show's control lies over its storyline in spite of its absurd subject.
Yanek's story does not only serve the purpose of an origin tale but it gives clarity to Howard Silk Alpha, who is now under the protection of Emily Prime. The show manages to draw a thin parallel line between their stories as both Yanek and Howard seem to represent the conscious guilt of the two worlds. Yanek was the one who confirmed his own vice with his actions, while Howard Alpha is the victim of the vices committed by Howard Prime. Howard's story is pretty much what Yanek feared the most, as Howard Prime seems to be gradually taking over Howard Alpha's reality.
On the other hand, Mira seems to be the parallel sketch of everything Emily has been going through. Emily Alpha and Emily Prime have been leading two distinctly variant lives with very different ethics, and Mira almost took over the reality of her other completely eradicating her existence. Although Emily Prime has not yet expressed any such intention, Emily Alpha seemed to have an earlier intention of taking over the Prime world. This very principle of one taking over the other, and not really co-existing is what forms the basic backbone of episode six in the second season.
'Counterpart' is set to return with 'Twin Cities', on January 13 on STARZ and this episode will be nothing like what you have seen before.