Season 1, Episode 8: “Love the Lie”
Directed by Alik Sakharov
Written by Amy Berg
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Sincerest Form of Flattery” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “No Man’s Land – Part One” – click here
We hear the other part of the conversation on the phone when Alexander Pope (Stephen Rhea) calls the “dry cleaners.” The man who answers looks unsettled by what he’s heard. He goes directly to find Mira (Christiane Paul), and after that begins a purge of documents, as well as a sort of casual evacuation of the orphan schoolchildren. Fires out front burn files fast as people can bring wheelbarrows full of papers outside.
In the trees. Emily Prime (Olivia Williams), Ian Shaw (Nicholas Pinnock), Howard (J.K. Simmons), and the rest of the UN team come upon the building, seeing the fires in front of it. However, inside, Mira and the rest of her people have retrieved their pouch full of cyanide pills. Should they need to, they’ll kill themselves rather than give over the information they know. Thus commences a gunfight between Indigo and the UN’s people. As the gunfire erupts everywhere, many lose their lives, though not everybody, such as Mira and one of her associates (Jakob Diehl).
“Our legacy only survives if we can protect this secret”
The aftermath of the assault on Indigo is brutal, as both Howard and Ian are left reeling. Although Emily shows Shaw what she’s found – a link of “events” and “traditions” comparing the timeline of the Prime World with the original one. They’re only now discovering that Indigo was running a school there, teaching children. So much yet to be uncovered. And so much lost in the purging of those files.
Meanwhile, Howard has stumbled onto the children: mouths ringed with foam, dead in a pile covered by a blanket. Similar to how Joseph and Magda Goebbels murdered their own children on the 1st of May in 1945, a day after Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide together as Nazi Germany crumbled to bits. Horrifying, particularly for the fact that Indigo is also located in Berlin; the exact same location as the aforementioned events at the close of WWII. Really creepy parallels going on here.
And back at home, Howard Prime gets a call to be notified of the, uh, good news: Emily woke up from her coma.
Baldwin (Sara Serraiocco) is waking up next to Greta (Liv Lisa Fries), and she isn’t entirely forthcoming after their “one night stand.” She obviously doesn’t want to get close to anybody, solely because of her life, the work she does, and what she’s done in the past. All the same, she does want to be close to somebody.
After what happened at Indigo, Shaw wants to call the UN officially, whereas Emily knows Pope is involved and that it’s better to play things close to the chest for now. They keep searching the building, as well. Soon they find “reconnaissance photos” from back in the original world, as well as forged VISA papers, and other documents. The pieces fall together for them that Indigo were training sleeper agents to replace their counterparts.
Things with Peter Quayle (Harry Lloyd) and his wife Clare (Nazanin Boniadi) aren’t what you’d call, getting along. He’s taking care of the baby while she’s handcuffed in the other room. Not a good sign. Clare decides to talk truthfully about when she switched over with the original Clare. This doesn’t change much between them, though we do see father pass child to mother so the baby can feed. That child is their only true connection.
Even with Emily awake she isn’t out of the water. She has to recover before returning to any sense of normalcy. It’s interesting to see Howard Prime deal with Emily’s mother Charlotte, a relatively self-centred woman. Seeing regular Howard struggle with the family is decidedly different from witnessing Howard Prime in his place. Should likewise make for more compelling changes to the real Howard’s life when he comes back altered after his time on the Other Side.
By far one of Counterpart‘s most intriguing elements is how we not only see the relationship(s) between the real world and the Prime World, but also how we see such a focus on the smaller, interpersonal relationships between people and how the concept of another world with exact counterparts of those on Earth affects them, too.
What’s Baldwin’s latest move? She’s going after the Indigo agents sent from the Other Side. She silently tracks Mr. Angel Eyes (Nolan Gerard Funk) right into the apartment where he’s staying. She slips a cable tie over his neck quickly, and it chokes him to death on the floor. Now she’s got herself armed with more intel.
Aldrich (Ulrich Thomsen) pays an unexpected visit to the Quayle house. He heard Peter was ill, off work, so he’s brought soup in a sweet little gesture. Paranoia has Peter shaken. He gets particularly sketchy when Aldrich talks about the mole situation, then bringing up the fact he knew his counterpart personally and actually used to send messages to him, and vice versa. Sadly, things went wrong when Aldrich’s Other fell in love and hoped to “defect” to their world. What did Aldrich do to save face and prevent himself a personal tragedy? He murdered the woman his Other fell in love with, which drove the counterpart to insanity. This all comes down to Aldrich knowing the truth, trying to give Mr. Quayle an option to do the correct thing for “the cause.”
After discovering what they know about Indigo, Emily and Howard are going to contact Howard Prime through the elaborate chain messaging system through Raash (Marco Khan). Through the wires, Howard Prime’s setting a meet, and he needs Quayle to get him into an “interface room.” Will Peter being compromised further compromise this clandestine plan?
Under guise of a “system simulation,” an interface room cut off from all surveillance and recording is readied for Howard Prime. He heads inside, where he meets the real Howard sitting across from him. Together again! The original Howard tells his counterpart about what they found at Indigo. Moreover, there’s bitterness and anger between the original and his Other, for what his Other didn’t tell him about his daughter, his wife. Of course the Other disparages the original Howard as being a pathetic, mild-mannered man without any excitement in his life. An ugly scene, yet necessary, and something we all knew was coming at a certain point.
“Is there just any truth to you?”
The whopper in this whole exchange? Howard Prime specifically tells Howard that Emily’s condition hasn’t change. That’s pretty despicable in itself. Contrasted with Aldrich’s speech earlier about the self v. the cause, it’s interesting to see Prime put the whole ’cause’ of their mission above telling his original the truth. Instead, he tells him about Emily cheating on him with the same guy he played Go with all that time in the park. Yet the first Howard says he knew, deep down. Of most importance is that the original Howard seems to have an inner morality and an honour about him that his Other does not possess.
At a bar, Peter meets Aldrich as tentatively, hopefully scheduled. We see that Quayle’s questioned everything about himself because of what has happened concerning his wife. He considers himself a failure. And he knows that the UN thinks he’s the mole. But he reveals the manipulation to Aldrich – only he lies, telling his friend it’s Howard Silk.
Oh, shit. That’s a terribly greasy, dangerous, and sickeningly impressive move.
This series only gets better, which is why I’m more than thrilled we’ll get Season 2. They’ve already started filming. Next week, we descend into a two-part finale. “No Man’s Land – Part One” will surely pack a punch leading into the very last episode.