Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10 Review: Better Angels

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Well, that happened.

This was by far one of my favorite series, but Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10 almost wrapped things up too well.

If Starz saw the finale and had worries about who would hang around for a third season, I can understand.

Captive Clare - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10

The problem is real, and I know it because the hour went by and I wondered what in the world I would say by way of review.

In essence, this is as much a series review as it is an episodic review, but the words won't come.

It comes down to the root of the problem, something that has been in existence since Counterpart Season 1 Episode 1 -- what kind of a show is Counterpart? What makes it compelling? Is it the spy drama or is it the existence of two worlds and examining the duplicates?

Hint: it's the latter.

Did anyone tune into Counterpart to watch spies? The hook was and always will be the duplicate worlds and the possibilities that arise as a result.

Emily Alpha is Concerned - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10

Unfortunately, there was less of that during Counterpart Season 2, as the Emilys searched for a way to communicate through Alpha's amnesia, two husbands, and the crossing.

Part of what made Counterpart Season 1 so compelling was watching the intricate acting by J.K. Simmons as he acted two roles, often against himself. The two men and their incredulity at finding their other so different brought up so many possibilities.

Related: Counterpart Review - Twin Cities

To some extent, that conversation continued without the participation of the two Howards but with Howard Alpha and Yanek Alpha as they verbally dueled in Camp Echo. 

Apart from Counterpart Season 2 Episode 6 that disclosed the birth of the two worlds, their discussions were the highlights of the second season.

Emily Prime is a Face In the Crowd - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10

Since the model was supposed to have moved to Emily Silk, giving the opportunity to Olivia Williams to shine in much the same way Simmons had earlier, that assessment of the season shouldn't stack up.

In essence, the sophomore season felt like a massive wave of potential that never came to fruition.

It was too easy for the Howards and too easy for the Emilys. 

Howard Prime: Are you hurt?
Howard Alpha: Shot, actually.
Howard Prime: No shit?
Howard Alpha: Also imprisoned, interrogated, isolated, sleep deprived, starved, beaten. I was here a month.

It didn't seem, after all that, as if Howard Alpha was all that affected by his experiences. Maybe it would have taken time for everything that happened to him to sink in, but we didn't get that time.

Howard Prime Saves the Day - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10

And as it has been in the past, the most compelling moment of the finale was Howard Alpha confronting Howard Prime.

Prime looked like he'd gotten shot when he learned Emily Alpha was dead, and it was an excellent display between the two characters and the actor of how much had transpired between them since they'd met.

Otherwise, the loss of Emily Alpha wasn't terribly upsetting. She wasn't "our" Emily even if she was the original. She understood that she was the less of the two Emilys, though, and wanted an opportunity to make up for it.

Related: Counterpart Review - No Strings Attached

If Counterpart Season 3 had come to fruition, I believe Emily Alpha would have been discovered alive despite a funeral. The way Howard A spoke of her and their "if" to Naya felt like a secret he was begging to tell. She wanted to start over, and he was going to do it. 

If they can switch between worlds and become another person entirely, surely they can stage a death and funeral, too. 

Naya's Got a Gun - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10

Betty Gabriel was ridiculously underused, and her religion added only for the sake of inclusivity. Before the season, it was suggested Naya would struggle with her faith as a result of being read in on the two worlds.

One throwaway scene in which she shares that it took her a while to get on board with God again once she realized there were two Meccas does not a struggle make.

Again, there was the potential for it to be an internal struggle for her that made her question everything from her family (that was a surprise) to her part in working with a "management" group who lorded over the two worlds.

Even with the beautiful creation story from "Two Cities," follow-up that included anyone wondering why they listened to "Management" in the years that came after the crossing opening when they never had previously would have been welcomed.

Baldwin is Shocked - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10

The biggest disappointment with the finale is that nothing came as a surprise. 

Related: Counterpart Review - In From the Cold

Mira? Foiled. Howard Prime? Of course, he didn't make a nefarious deal for him and Baldwin. He just wanted to go home. Clare and Peter had their scene lending credence to their real love.

Saying goodbye to Peter and Clare will be difficult. The odd way their love grew makes them one of the most enviable couples on television. 

Spencer: Do you know the reason we all admire her so much?
Quayle: You're all fanatics?
Spencer: Ask her. Ask her what happened to her other.

Without saying a single word nailing down what Clare did to her other, it was all out in the open, and they moved beyond it. How much would any of you give for a relationship that ends like that, even if the beginning is faulty?

I know I would give a lot.

New Management - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10

One of the biggest shocks of the finale and what would likely play a large part in the third season we won't see is that Mira never killed her other and the impending radicalization of our world's Mira. 

Someone will get word to her that her "other" killed her father starting the plague on her side, right? They're all going to die so fast; maybe there won't be time for that. 

Related: Counterpart Review - You to You

Mira planned for everything, even the eventual deaths of her team. It would be easy enough to suggest she infected Yanek because the other Mira had such a perfect life, but if she hated it as much as she 

Sure, we know Howard Alpha will never be gloriously bad like Howard Prime, but his experiences don't necessarily mete out the idea that some people can't help but become their others. 

Howard's Got a Gun - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10

It was something Counterpart struggled to define -- is it science or sociology that determines who we become?

Since it's a bit of both in the real world, that battle would likely have continued into future seasons. There isn't an either or answer to the question no matter how many scientific or sociological studies people would use to find one.

Alright. I'm done beating up on the series and the finale. As you all know, it was one of my favorite shows of 2018, and my expectations are high. While the season didn't feel as bad as it is now that the finale has aired and there's no more to come, I'll miss these characters and the potential of the cast and story.

What about you? Where do you stand now that it's all said and done? Was the finale satisfying for you?

Share your pleasantries and woes below!

Better Angels Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (6 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Counterpart Season 2 Episode 10 Quotes

Spencer: This world doesn't fight fare. If we don't destroy them, they'll destroy us.
Clare: You're wrong. You know how I know you're wrong? Because I dream about her, my other. I keep seeing this little girl, one whose life I envied and hated, but I've been taught to believe that this existence of this other world is an aberration of nature. But what if this is nature's plan, and the real test isn't if we could eradicate this other side of ourselves -- what if it's about acceptance?

I just wanted to protect my wife.

Howard Alpha