Counterpart S1E2: “Birds of a Feather”

From the looks of things, no one has started posting coverage of Counterpoint yet (though I can’t speak to anything that may be on the Other Side’s Avocado), even though we’re on the second episode I guess I might as well start. I’m not much of a reviewer, but I’ll do what I can to give my thoughts on the episode.

This episode literally picks up right where the first let off, with Other Howard and Other Emily having a conversation in a bar. I couldn’t help but notice that the bar is named Moskau\Москва and that the heavies Emily brings along to detain Howard are Bulgarian; a sign that the Other USSR had a better run of luck in the 90s? It would definitely fit with the Cold War vibes the show is reveling in.

Much of the focus of this episode is on the effort to bring in “Baldwin,” the assassin from the Other Side, whom it turns out is actually named Nadia. Her counterpart in our universe is a world renowned violinist, and I appreciate how deftly the episode managed to flesh out her character in the short time we knew her, while also giving Baldwin a little bit of depth.

I won’t get too much into the climax of the episode for anyone clicking on this thread out of curiosity about the show, but I thought it came together well. This show is turning out to be quite good at gritty spy thriller action scenes, and I can always appreciate drama being drawn from all-too-human mistakes. I’m looking forwards to seeing where this story is going in the coming weeks.

Stray Observations:

  • I just want to commend Counterpart for making it clear in this episode that they’re taking a logical approach to an alternate universe: they were, in fact, the same universe until they were somehow split apart 30 years ago. That means no wondering how all the same people manage to exist despite having drastically different histories, something that’s always bugged me about the Mirror Universe in Star Trek.
  • It should maybe go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: JK Simmons is excellent. He’s a perfect choice for this show, and effortlessly able to differentiate between Howard the badass spy and Howard the somewhat schlumpy bureaucrat.
  • I also appreciate how they’re very slowly teasing out the differences between the two universes. An overbearing infodump would not be great for the show’s momentum.
  • Jeff Russo, the show’s composer, also deserves a shout-out. I’ve liked his work on stuff like Fargo and What Remains of Edith Finch in the past, but he’s really outdoing himself here.
  • Finally, to sum things up, at the end of the episode I said to my girlfriend: “This show feels like if the producers of The Americans decided that they needed to remake Fringe.”