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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Counterpart Season One Finale: Stuck in the Middle

There may be another season one finale to Counterpart in an alternate reality that was better than what was on in our reality tonight on Starz, but it's one that I can't imagine.

In the one I saw, I first meant the stuck in the middle to refer to an assassin from the other side who is attempting escape after the massacre.  He's badly wounded.  He makes it to neutral territory - in the middle - and can go no further.  Neither side can go there to help or capture him without an order from the highest level.

But the real man stuck in the middle is of course Howard.  And tonight they're as evenly matched as possible, with a resolution that neither wants: stuck on the wrong side, i.e., not their side, of the divide.  But as we've seen as this season progresses, each Howard has more going on in, more deep connection to, the side that is not theirs, than we (the viewers) were at first to suppose.

The ending is clockwork perfect.  Good Howard kills bad Pope (to defend himself, but even so).  Bad Howard doesn't kill Aldrich, but Nadia does - not so much to defend Howard Prime, as to settle her own score.  But the effect is the same: both Howards have killed, or have seen killed in their presence, a superior who was lethally dangerous.

But even that's not the best part of this season finale.  That comes in two parts.  First, good Howard is shown correspondence by Pope that good Emily - not so good, but good Howard's Emily - was actually writing to and in close touch with bad Howard aka Howard Prime.   That's indeed why he came over here in the first place.

And in a haunting last scene, Prime reads to good Howard's Emily, and she squeezes his hand, and she smiles.  She's coming back.  Is she smiling because she senses on some just-conscious level that the voice she's hearing is not her husband's but Howard Prime's, come at last to her aid?

We'll find out in Season Two, due back on next year.  And also what happens to good Howard, who has killed a man in a combination of anger and self-protection, and is now locked away somewhere in a cell ... on the wrong side.  Or ... is it truly wrong?  Is either side truly wrong for anyone from the other side in this series which has remade the telling of alternate reality stories before our very eyes?

See also 
 Counterpart 1.1: Fringe on Espionage ... Counterpart 1.2: Two Different Worlds ... Counterpart 1.3: Identification and Pandemic ... Counterpart 1.4: The Switch ... Counterpart 1.5: Ménage à Alternates ... Counterpart 1.6: Alternate Prince, Funeral, and Clear Clare ... Counterpart 1.7: Spying Across Dimensions ... Counterpart 1.8: Conversations ... Counterpart 2.9: The Spy Who Came Into the Fold

more alternate reality - "flat-out fantastic" - Scifi and Scary

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