Counterpart Season 2 Episode 5 Review: Shadow Puppets

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Cliche's suck, but that was a rollercoaster ride hour of television!

Harry Lloyd does such beautiful work with the two Quayles that they've both become essential characters. And by the end of Counterpart Season 2 Episode 5, they had both been through too much, and Lloyd's eyes were perpetually welling with tears. It was difficult to bear, dammit!

Knowing Peter Alpha would never have the guts to take his life didn't make his struggle with the idea any easier, and I've never been happier to see a slashed tire to Howard Alpha might give Peter Prime a second thought before running off with Emily Prime to safety away from Echo.

Peter Prime at his Meal - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 5

These are my Counterpart struggles, and the list is only beginning.

When the series began, there was the worry that Howard Alpha could never hold his own in the mess to which he had been lured. That is over. 

Nature doesn't give a damn what you believe. Faced with survival, we all give into our darkest self. Don't you see what I am trying to show you? No one escapes this.


What Yanek tried to impart upon Howard A that the only way to go is down that that there is only room for one of the two souls who should be in the universe as a result of the split is garbage. 

Related -- Counterpart Review: Something Borrowed

Howard A proves that time and again. Now only is he more steady at the wheel in general, Yanek even had him beaten to drive the point home, and he failed to connect his theory to Howard. 

I'm not getting through to you. It's like you are determined to defy me at every turn. I must confess, I am at a loss.


That was true. Yanek was very annoyed and frustrated that Howard bucked the system. HIS system. Yanek, after all, IS THE SYSTEM. That was a great reveal. It's not only surprising to discover Yanek was at the forefront of whatever science created the two worlds, but that Mira is (if I may so assume) his daughter.

Howard Alpha Gives Up - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 5

She didn't have Howard sent to Echo for any reason other than that she had the people in place at that time to track him and could locate the man who is, ostensibly, her father. It wasn't a mushy greeting on her part, but her eyes shone just a little bit brighter for the briefest moment.

And just as we started to get some answers to Mira and the creation of the worlds, other puzzle pieces were being taken away from the big picture that we thought was just fine. Not so fast, fans, not so fast.

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The cold open almost seemed out of place to the remainder of the episode, but I know it will have greater meaning as the story progresses. 

Ian sought refuge from Alpha world in the Prime world and was taken in by Management, given a new life and an alias.

The other areas of the hour that seemed to connect with that in that they felt as oddly out of place were when Mira directed Spencer to take out the remaining Lambert, and Peter Alpha's secretary gave her life for him.

Howard Prime Makes His Move - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 5

Trying to off Lambert was about to do Peter's head in. He just doesn't have the demeanor for that kind of espionage. With Naya right across the hall from him, Peter needs a steady supply of Xanax to take the edge off if he's to do anything other than whatever Peter is supposed to do in Strategy.

As soon as he sent Howard P to get the gun and take care of Lambert, he looked like the cat that ate the canary. He couldn't have looked more suspicious if he tried. The only thing he could have done was to laugh hysterically or start to cry, and it looked like he was nearing either momentarily.

It's a little bit disappointing how little we've learned about Naya to this point, as there is a lot of potential for her character to hold secrets. She may or may not be who she says she is. Being newly read into the who dual worlds thing would give her an interesting viewpoint of the activities, but she's on the periphery.

That's a shame. 

Naya is an excellent foil for Peter A, but the way she spoke to who she believed to be Howard Alpha was offensive. Howard might seem like a sissy to some people because he doesn't fight to the death or go dark, but that doesn't stop him from doing what's needed. 

Naya has an Announcement - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 5

For example, when the guy with the gun was after him at Echo as the riot calmed down, he didn't hesitate to pick up a gun and kill him -- when he was saving someone else's life. Howard Alpha is one of the few people who genuinely cares for others more than he does for himself, but it doesn't make him less of a man.

Then we have Peter Alpha and Peter Prime. 

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Peter Prime's obsession with the old football game was fascinating, especially once he shared that he got lost at the stadium and inadvertently disrupted the game, which he believed led to his team losing.

That loss made for a less-than-stellar day with his father, one that ultimately landed him in Echo while his other, who didn't panic, so his team won the game, became an "important man."

On the Hunt - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 5

Howard Alpha used the same type of questioning with Peter Prime as Yanek used with Howard when he shared stories about his father in comparison to Howard Prime's father. Yanek tried to prove that Howard Prime was right in his negative thinking, but Howard A wanted to Peter P to think maybe he's the important Peter.

Did that cross anyone's mind when Peter Alpha's secretary gave up her life for him?

Peter A is not a wise man nor is he courageous. He's grown a bit since he got involved in this escapade, but there are few qualities that he possesses to be admired. What makes him "important"?

Secretary: I destroyed that tape you made, but more needs to be done.
Peter A: Wait, wait, wait. You're with them?
Secretary: They only told me this morning. It wasn't a plan. I always thought I'd get to see it all unfold after we won.
Peter A: What are you doing?
Secretary: They told me you're important. Listen. Listen to me! We were having an affair. Five years, OK.
Peter A: Wait, no, st...
Secretary: Lambert told you I was Shadow. You took a gun to stop me but couldn't confront me in time.
Peter A: Shadow's, no, Shadow's...
Secretary: I wanted so badly to see the dream come real.

What did Peter mean when he asked if she was with "them"? And who did she just hear from? Management? In Peter's agitated, life-threatened state, why would he consider Management wanted to save him? Him, of all people? What does he know that we don't?

Peter Alpha Cocks the Gun - Counterpart Season 2 Episode 5

And why does Management have the two Peters earmarked for greatness?

The only reason I'm holding out hope that Peter Prime is still alive at Echo (and forgiving Howard Alpha for not checking on his new buddy) is that Peter Is Very Important.

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Why would anyone have allowed Howard Prime to head over to the other side without sharing with him Peter's importance? Howard Prime flat out told Peter Alpha to kill himself. If he weren't such a coward, he would be dead, secretary or no secretary.

And of course, we cannot leave out wondering why Clare suddenly has faith in her oldest friend, Spencer. Is she in for a world of hurt? Mira has had Spencer under her wing since he got carted off when they were kids.

Clare: Do you trust Mira?
Spencer: I believe in the cause.
Clare: That's not what I asked.

I thought he was killed to punish Clare on Counterpart Season 1 Episode 7. She questioned it, too. Clare got praised for suffering horribly at his loss. But Peter was gone, she was caught off guard and suddenly trusting someone working under Mira. It can't possibly end well.

This was an excellent episode of Counterpart. It's precisely what I love about it since we can only have an hour a week.

If we had two hours, I'd prefer an hour like this and another dedicated to the development and investigation of characters who have others and how they deviated, what's similar, and why. Life isn't about me, apparently.

Coming up on Counterpart Season 1 Episode 6 we are to learn more about the creation of the two worlds. Who wants to see that episode now? Me!! Hit the comments with all your thoughts on "Shadow Puppets," and watch Counterpart online if you need to catch up.

Shadow Puppets Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (8 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 5 Quotes

Peter A: Thank you.
Howard P: It wasn't me.
Peter A: What do you mean it wasn't you?
Howard P: Somebody else got to him first.

Peter A: What's going on?
Naya: Lock the doors.