Starz’s Counterpart
Season 2, Episode 7: “No Strings Attached”
Directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper
Written by Maegan Houang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Twin Cities” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “In from the Cold” – click here
screen shot 2019-01-28 at 2.34.03 amManagement has received Mira’s (Christiane Paul) message. Will they meet with the Indigo terrorist? They believe it’s the only way to solve things, by confronting it “once and for all.” Meanwhile, stranded Ambassador Sy is let back over the Crossing to let Roland Fancher (Richard Schiff) know the other side wants to meet with their Management.
We skip back 10 years ago to Ian Shaw a.k.a Wesley Pierce (Nicholas Pinnock) in the Alpha world. His wife was murdered because she knew too much. Wesley was declared “officially dead” and turned into Ian as a new identity. “You belong to this job,” they tell him. No wonder he’s become a relatively cold shell of a man. In current day, he and Emily Prime (Olivia Williams) are in contact, but he’s bent to the will of Management.
At the Office of Interchange, Peter Quayle (Harry Lloyd) is questioned in the wake of the supposed Shadow’s death. Back at home, he tells Clare (Nazanin Boniadi) what happened all in the name of her “fucking cause.” He’s coming to understand just how far his life’s infiltrated. And he’s realising the collateral damage surrounding him in all directions. Plus, he’s got to take shit from his father-in-law for everything his wife’s done through manipulation. For her part, Clare stands up for herself and for her husband.
screen shot 2019-01-28 at 2.40.54 am

“There can be two truths”

screen shot 2019-01-28 at 2.43.21 amWe’re also given a glimpse at Naya Temple’s (Betty Gabriel) faith. She privately prays in her office, though interrupted by the daily flow of things. She makes time for both parts of her life— a wonderful thing to see on TV instead of Muslims being constantly, unfairly portrayed as terrorists. Once Naya finishes praying she speaks with Howard Prime (J.K. Simmons) about the “sleeper agent” and Peter. She brings up an interesting existential question about how the two worlds operate when it comes to God, relating this to the “two truths” she sees in Howard.
At Echo, original Howard’s reunited with Emily Prime following the carnage. It doesn’t take much before they sniff out Mira’s involved. Howard remembers his interaction with Osman (Karan Oberoi), who’d given him pills for immunisation. He’s figuring things out like Peter is, too. He sees how deep his exploitation runs in the plot of everything going on around him. Emily Prime goes through Yanek’s (James Cromwell) things, almost pinning down answers.
Naya has Emily come into the office to identify the dead secretary as Shadow. But Emily’s fuzzy and can’t remember things. She knows Shadow’s involved with Quayle somehow. Naya wants to keep her safe because they’re getting closer to the truth. We watch the real Shadow – Clare – off with Spencer (Ken Duken) meeting his associates. Turns out the sleeper cell’s made up of people she taught at Indigo.
screen shot 2019-01-28 at 3.07.41 amAt the OI, Howard Prime runs into Emily in the building as they’re ushered into a car with a security escort to keep an eye on her at home. This leaves him with extra eyes on his movements. Emily’s preoccupied with trying to regain her memory “before something awful happens again.” She blames herself to a degree for the horror of the Indigo attack on the OI.
Farcher meets with everyone to let them know about Management from both sides all getting together for the first time in decades. Of course Naya brings up objections about Quayle being present. She touches on the nepotism, as well. She and Roland go head-to-head over “foxes in the hen house” until Peter gives his two cents. He’s able to talk openly about his feelings re: Clare by using his dead secretary in her place. Then he resigns from the OI.
Outside Echo, Howard and Emily Prime find Ian arriving with a bunch of armed men. Management’s sent Yorke (Eme Ikwuakor) to figure out what Emily knows, only Howard isn’t willing to be taken prisoner again. Emily’s the first to take a shot, prompting lots of gunfire. She’s grazed while Ian beats Yorke down. A few more bullets and Emily gets away with Howard, who’s bleeding from a gunshot wound.
Howard Prime slips away from the men keeping their eye on him. He’s going straight to see Clare. Although at that moment Peter’s rushing home to collect his child and try to get his wife to flee with him. When Howard Prime gets there the place is empty. The Quayles are gone to the old building that, on the other side, served as the Indigo’s academy.
screen shot 2019-01-28 at 3.14.40 am

“What if we’re not really the heroes?”

screen shot 2019-01-28 at 3.27.15 amWonderful episode. This series has everything, from the sci-fi underpinnings of the two worlds, to existential philosophy, to action, and plenty of dramatic emotion. Truly one of the great shows of the past decade.
“In from the Cold” is next time.

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