It's never been a secret that I have a fascination with parallel worlds, but it's fascinating the way things are heating up between Alpha and Prime.
Whereas the premiere centered around activity in the Alpha world, Counterpart Season 2 Episode 2 focused on what's been happening with the Prime world. With our Howard's imprisonment and the increased Indigo action, it was a better hour overall.
The most surprising element came in the way of breadcrumbs leading back to Emily Alpha's life pre-coma. Uncovering how much even Howard Prime knew of what she was into at that time should become its own thread as the season continues.
Emily P has become quite the determined woman. When she first got introduced, she was erratic and unsure of herself, grasping at renditions, and just off a phase of generally being expected to OD on drugs at any moment.
Now she's driven and with purpose. It's as if the discovery of her former husband Howard and how it could have been realigned her and gave her hope for how it could be.
That doesn't mean she's going to make a play for Howard Alpha or that her resolve to see him freed from an un-warranted detainment means anything more than what we see at face value. It has just provided her a broader picture of the world and her place in it.
Even Management has been taken with her new attitude, awarding her with a promotion to Deputy Director of Strategy.
Emily got promoted without an interview, and if I'm not mistaken, the fellow tasked with walking her through her new assignment seemed miffed that she got the job even as he works side-by-side with Management. His attitude was snarky, and even the way he was seated was off kilter and too comfortable for the discussion.
More proof of how much Emily has changed from Counterpart Season 1 was evident when she agreed to take the job but wanted Howard's release to be contingent upon it.
It was a spectacular show of how well Emily can hold herself and use her authority when the situation warrants it, and Olivia Williams even threw in a hint of "ha" at the end to celebrate the success of the moment. It was a great scene.
We're going to learn pieces about Management in each episode, from her scene with them came the nugget that they haven't been in that building for a very long time due to "security" concerns. Were they ever there? It's not dilapidated. It's unfinished.
I also found it incredibly odd that people passed an envelope through the crossing and that it was trusted to get to Management. I would have thought Management might have moved beyond that method of communication at this point.
Right after her promotion, Emily Prime went straight to Howard. She didn't even have time to mention she had bargained his release because someone had already talked to him, and he wanted nothing to do with a release with the specifications suggested.
Howard A: They think my Emily is a part of all of this and they want me to spy on her.
Emily P: Howard, do you think it's somehow possible that there's more to her than we know?
Howard: I don't know what she is. Did you know that apparently, she is the one stopping me from being promoted all these years, every time I went upstairs and was crushed, it was all because of her.
At that point, Emily P didn't even know to what degree Emily A would be involved with their investigation. She was a part of it because she's on the other side. The real juicy stuff would come later.
I'm torn about Howard and his feelings for his Emily. He's torn, too. When he shared what Emily A had done, keeping him from being promoted all those years (and her voice on that recording was so harsh), Emily Prime defended her.
Defending Emily A's bad decisions were as bad as saying ill of her as far as Howard was concerned, but she had a good reason. They were still living parallel lives at the time.
Howard A: Why are you defending her?
Emily P: Maybe I had a reason and I did the same thing.
Howard A: No. Our lives were already different before that.
Emily P: No, they weren't. He was an interface man. I was in housekeeping, just like the two of you. And every time he applied to Strategy, I intervened.
Emily P: It's obvious, Howard. I was protecting him. I was protecting our child, and as time went on, I was protecting our whole way of life. What was I supposed to tell him? What was I supposed to tell him when I knew that the day he found out the truth would be the day...
Howard A: The day he would leave you? And he did. I would not have left.
Emily P: You don't know that.
Howard A: I do know that. I don't just quit on people I love.
Emily P: Well, maybe that's why you're different.
Really throwing me into confusion, Howard then defended Howard Prime by standing up for him.
What I'm wondering is if you can't help but stand up for your other self, as much as you are also in direct conflict with them and at times jealous of the changes they made that you couldn't muster up the courage to do yourself.
Emily P: Howard, the people who run that school are still out there. If you won't confront the truth about your wife, we can't stop them.
Howard A: The truth? What good did the truth do him when he found out? When he found out about you, he lost everything -- his wife, his daughter, everything. You were the one who said maybe love seeing someone for who they'd rather be.
Emily P: I wonder if you have the courage to see her at all.
Howard A: Don't come back here.
That stung. It's effortless to support a woman you loved but didn't know when you're separated from them.
Even worse, as Emily P continued her investigation into Mira, a matter of international diplomacy and on the death of whom on Emily's shoulders the peace of two worlds now rests, it became evident Emily A knew a lot more than anyone imagined.
Howard A is a very good soul, so far, who may ultimately get crushed because his love of a woman may be a horrible person. She may not be, either, but the way Aldus said, "Of course it was you," before plunging to his death was very ominous.
On the plus side, what Emily Alpha does remember, she doesn't like. On Counterpart Season 2 Episode 1, she started to recall who she was before the coma, and those memories started conversations between her and Howard Prime that set them on the same page.
Maybe as she gets to know that Howard a bit better, she'll realize there was more she could have done to take her Howard into her professional life while still keeping him in their marriage.
Will it even matter?
Emily and Ian already got very close to Mira. The name dropped by the man who read in Emily P worked to a fashion, but Mira got there first.
When the credits rolled, Frau Schmidt had a gun pointed at her head just after Mira killed Herr Schmidt for wanting to fill the empty hole in his heart as a result of giving up their kid years earlier to the Indigo School.
Something tells me Frau Schmidt isn't dead yet but will be used to lure Emily and Ian to her house so Mira can try to kill them.
Howard Alpha is "safe," only because he failed to take up the Alpha world on their offer of release to help Emily. It was a crap deal since he didn't know he'd be working directly with Emily, but maybe there's time for him to change his mind.
We might have thought the "I'm the sexiest person in the world, and my sex will turn you into mush so you'll do anything I say it will" was over when Peter told Clare her sex wouldn't work on him anymore, but we were wrong. Apparently, Mira has that sex magic, too.
Howard's interrogator is one of Mira's minions. Since they're both working for the same side of the world, it probably doesn't much matter to Management. Emily Alpha was the only one of the ambassadors in a room full of them with any common sense about working toward diplomacy.
If Management knows so many little things about people like Emily, why wouldn't they know who is working for Mira? So Howard is off to a black site because of reasons. His lack of cooperation, I assume.
It's not as fun without two Howards in action, so that best not be a long-term solution.
Emily Alpha on the hunt of Emily Prime's past now that she knows Mira and friends have information on them as if she's one person will make the hunt for Mira even more thrilling. Mira thinks she knows Emily, but she has intel on the wrong person.
Were the secrets uncovered on "Outside In" a surprise to you? What do you think comes next? Are you worried for Howard Alpha or do you think he'll get saved before he gets to Echo?
If you haven't caught up yet, be sure to watch Counterpart online and then weigh in below!
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.