'Counterpart': Justin Marks tackles something that has captivated scientists, and sold comic books for ages, the multiverse
Alternate reality has boggled the mind of scholars and scientists but it is one subject that artists love to play with the most.
If there is any radical fact about our world that creator Justin Marks' STARZ TV show 'Counterpart' has brought up, is the truth that everything that exists around us, and the way we co-exist along with them is the result of the thousand choices that we have made and the millions that we have discarded. However, what we have discarded in our time and our reality has been picked up and molded to shape the reality of an alternate universe, and this is exactly where the J.K. Simmons starring show holds its ground.
Like some of the most renowned works of science fiction such as the Marvel Comics Multiverse (which includes the 'Age of Apocalypse', 'Femizonia'), the DC Comics Multiverse (Justice League is literally the league of villains in Earth-Two), 'Star Trek', 'The Butterfly Effect', and 'The Cloverfield Paradox', 'Counterpart' set out to show its audience two different versions of the same individual- one a docile gentleman, the other a crafty spy- and when the two meet it is established that one is the result of the other's rejected options. Howard Silk Prime is a spy because of a decision his alternate wife, Emily Silk Alpha made, and that had its own consequences, as Emily Silk Prime is no more married to Howard Silk Prime.
The topic of an alternate reality is nothing new. It has existed ever since the history of our universe was proven to be initialized by the Big Bang but over the ages, the whole idea of the probable existence of a parallel universe (or alternate reality) has been baffling scientists and scholars, as it only gets more obscure with every theory. The theories surrounding an alternate reality have suggested that our other universe and its alternate being might be maintaining a very different set of laws, and probably their physics is something that is nothing similar to us. For instance, if we have proven that the earth is round and discarded the concept of the planets being flat, probably in the other universe the reality is the earth is flat.
According to Space.com, there are at least five proven theories on parallel universes. Considering the uncertainty of the size and shape of our universe, some scientists believe that since space and time go on forever, in an infinite stretch, there are chances that even in Creation things repeat themselves which gives rise to the possibility of an infinite number of universes. However, the one theory which can most suitably define the exact science behind 'Counterpart' is the theory suggesting the existence of a daughter universe. The mathematics of this theory suggests that all possible outcomes of situations do occur — in their own separate universes.
Brian Greene in his noted book, 'The Hidden Reality', has suggested, "And in each universe, there’s a copy of you witnessing one or the other outcome, thinking — incorrectly — that your reality is the only reality." Howard Silk Alpha has no idea about the secret passageway underneath the office of Interface which leads to the alternate universe, but Howard Silk Prime is not only aware of the secret but is an active participant in helping to keep it under the wraps. Each character in 'Counterpart' are constantly contradicting their own realities, for an instance, the assassin Baldwin is a soulful violinist in the other world. Although both had witnessed their father's death at a young age, the very choice of choosing a musical instrument over a weapon is what had set them apart.
Marks' interpretation of the daughter universes and the beings existing in them is like a challenging look into the possibilities for the two distinctly similar individuals. While speaking to SlashFlims about the show, Marks mentioned, " I believe no matter what circumstances are, there is one true self somewhere buried at the center of all of us. If you stripped nurture away, you would find it at that nature. The question is what is that true self? Is it more like Prime or is it more like nice Howard? As it goes on, I think we’re going to be surprised where that middle is because they will start to find each other near the middle. That middle might be a more dangerous place than we otherwise expected."
Probably we will be able to speculate more of that middle in the second season since the first season only gave us glimpses of the consequences of an existing alternate reality. The second season will pick up from where the first season left off. Stuck in the other universe, the passive Howard Silk Alpha, is now behind bars for a murder that he never intended on committing. On the other hand, Howard Silk Prime is in our world spending time with his wife's alternate self. If these two conflicting individuals who share the same DNA and same identities will be able to find a common ground is uncertain, but we can be sure that with Season 2 (releases on December 9) the show will unravel more uncomfortable truths about the two existing worlds.