‘Counterpart’ Reveals the Origins of the Crossing & Management in the Excellent “Twin Cities”

Collider | 1/20/2019 | Allison Keene
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Warning: Spoilers for the Counterpart Season 2 episode “Twin Cities” follow.

One of the most chilling lines spoken in the Starz series Counterpart came from Yanek (James Cromwell), an “extractor” who specializes in comparing the experiences from the show’s two worlds. He’s speaking with Howard Alpha (J.K. Simmons), who has crossed over, and is telling him about some of the differences in his life versus that of his “Other,” Howard Prime. In describing Prime’s poor relationship with his father, and the decisions he made to abandon him, Alpha passionately exclaims “I would never do that!” Yanek comes back with those haunting words: “But you did.”

Starz - Series - Counterpart - Character - Drama

As grounded as Starz’s series Counterpart is with its character drama, it can be easy to mentally set aside the sci-fi elements on which the series is based. The crux of it is, of course, that the world was split in two in 1987 Berlin, after an experiment went wrong and revealed a parallel universe. The split has mostly been kept a secret, but there is a spy organization that keeps an eye on the other world and the “echoes” there. However, starting at that point in 1987 we know that things in the worlds started to change. The people and circumstances within the two worlds were no longer identical, morphing from that point due to slightly different decisions that became bigger and bigger indicators of who they would become in each version. Counterpart has asked the question of how one’s life would be different with just a few changes over and over again with a variety of characters and outcomes, but in “Twin Cities,” it went back to the literal origins of the split and how things started to shift.

Counterpart has been building to this moment thematically for quite awhile. We spent Season 1 learning the...
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