Counterpart season 2 premiere recap: Alpha is Inside Out


Counterpart has returned! The season two premiere, Inside Out, shows Dimension 1 looking for normalcy after last season’s attack from Dimension 2.

We don’t see Howard Silk (J.K. Simmons) for roughly the first five minutes of the season premiere of Counterpart. There’s a new character to introduce and some housekeeping to take care of first. Inside Out looks at the Alpha Dimension after the doors between Alpha and Prime dimensions were closed at the end of last season.

Inside Out is an appropriate title. The focus of the episode is on characters from the Prime Dimension who have infiltrated Alpha Dimension. That causes a lot of tension for some of our friends.

Written by Erin Levy (Mad Men) and directed by Charles Martin (Marcella), the premiere of Counterpart sets the table for weeks of intrigue to come.

A Different Kind of Spy

The teaser opens up on former FBI Agent Naya Temple (Betty Gabriel) being interviewed in a room. Temple talks to a camera and receives translated responses from what we believe is an interpreter for Management. We later learn several people are talking to the interpreter, who merely conveys what is requested.

Temple has had to pass many hurdles to get as far as she has. She’s been brought in to hunt a particular type of spy – the counterparts.

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Temple’s built a reputation as someone who is able to detect spies and weed them out of impossible situations. That’s all well and nice, but Management decides to give her a final test: introducing her to the existence of the second dimension.

The video Temple is shown is of an Alpha and a Prime meeting each other for the first time. They don’t take it as well as the Howards did. It ends in what sounds like a bloody brawl. Temple just watches. Her face only allows the furrowed brow of fascination and intrigue. Temple isn’t afraid. She doesn’t ask what the trick is. She’s studying the information that she has in front of her.

It appears that Temple will be a nuisance for all Dimensions 2 folks living in Dimension 1.

No Loose Ends

As soon as the credits finish rolling, we see Alice (Lisa Hagmeister) running through the woods. She’s quickly apprehended and put against a tree with her Alpha. Two masked men hold guns to her head. A third masked person walks up to them and removes their mask. It’s Clare (Nazanin Boniadi).

Alice asks if Aldrich is dead. When Clare confirms it, Alice asks very slowly, as if she’s putting the facts together, if Clare is Shadow. Clare nods. The Alices hold hands and are executed. Clare instructs the men to strip them of their belonging and begin to dog holes. As soon as they start to comply, Clare shoots them both dead.

No witnesses. No chance of loose ends. Clare is an assassin and an important part of Indigo. She’s not going to risk anyone finding out who she is.

Because Clare also has a family to protect. After keeping up appearances at a family dinner, Clare and Quayle (Harry Lloyd) take off their comfy faces and put on their new normal faces: nervous, uncomfortable wrecks.

When their young daughter starts crying, Quayle says that Clare can take her since it’s her turn. Clare lets Quayle take her. It’s clear that his daughter is his remaining sanity.

The Quayles have moved into a new home. One with a safe room that Quayle uses as his bedroom and where he dotes on his daughter. It’s these minimalist, non-attention-grabbing aspects of Counterpart that inform the character’s state of mind so fully without a single line of exposition.

A Bird in a Cage

Poor Quayle. His home life is a scary farce, his work life is a disaster that is partly his own doing, and to add insult to injury, he find out about Temple’s appointment.

When Temple introduces herself to the Strategy Office, Howard Prime and Quayle make eye contact. Howard almost cracks a smile. A smile that conveyed one sentiment: “You big dummy.”

They meet in the bathroom, where Quayle takes one of the longest zipped-up fake pees in the history of zipped-up fakes pees. Howard urges him to handle Temple before things get bad for both of them.

Quayle persuades Clare to give him the lead on something so it appears that he’s doing his job in front of Temple. She helps at great risk.

Unable to handle the burden, Quayle tapes a confession on what looks like Frank Underwood’s digital exposition recorder from seasons five and six of House of Cards. Quayle admits his marriage is a dangerous sham, he’s underqualified for his job, and is only still alive alive due to luck.

Quayle backs this up by putting the recorder, with headphones plugged in, in a safe in his work office. Yikes.

Who Am I?

Emily (Olivia Williams) comes home with Howard, but she has trouble adjusting. Besides the aphasia she’s suffering from, she’s finding it hard to put together the pieces of her life pre-accident. Howard isn’t helping because, even though she has memory issues, Emily knows he’s being unusually cold. He’s even bringing home carry out instead of cooking for her.

Of course, this is in large part due to the fact that Emily lead a dual life. Many of her personal possessions likely have multiple meanings which make things difficult to comprehend. The fact Howard Prime does not have the same docile, loving touch of Howard Alpha also makes this reality a hard one for Emily to wake up too.

A visit from an old friend, Clare, seems to help cheer Clare up. It also sends a message to Howard Prime. We know you’re here.

Up Next

Next. Game of Thrones season 8 teaser trailer arrives. dark

Next week we get Outside In, a look at the world post attack from the Prime dimension. I can’t wait.

Did you catch the season two premiere of Counterpart? What did you think? Let’s discuss in the comments!