Justin Marks, creator and showrunner of Counterpart, wrote and directed "Twin Cities."
That's why after watching Counterpart Season 2 Episode 6 two times it still doesn't feel like enough.
There were a lot of answers to many questions posed since the series began and the possibility came to mind that the end could be in focus. That's how important to the parallel worlds Mira has turned out to be, a supposition if posited when she was first introduced would have been hard to imagine in context.
Bringing on a megawatt star like James Cromwell to play a character as essential as Yanek should have been an indication of his importance to the overall structure of the narrative, too.
Ironically, within the framework of Counterpart Season 2, the characters who seemed essential for the survival of the series and the urgency to find out more about them suddenly doesn't seem as important. That wasn't the point, but that was the strength of this hour and how the season is unfolding.
As established as Howard Alpha, Howard Prime, Peter Alpha, Emily Prime, Clare, and the others have become, they were not missed as we backtracked to the very beginning when Yanek was just a guy who wanted to get his family out of East Berlin.
From what occurred, the error with the Synchrotron was a screw up that could have happened as a result of any number of things. The code could have been written wrong, interpreted incorrectly, or the hardware might have gotten hit by the wayward rat family. The likelihood of recreating the error was probably nil.
Still, what kind of a scientist was Yanek if he was so fixated on getting the photos to catapult his family's escape from East Berlin that he ignored the warning signs of danger coming from the Synchrotron?
It's not a machine to play around with, one would think, and if the earth starts to literally shake under your feet, a look-see at what directions you pounded into the keyboard might seem in order before the fatal error message engaged in melting itself and creating a parallel world. But what do I know?
From there, though, it all comes together. Yanek never quite revealed to Howard Alpha the nature of what happened that he was to blame for all that came after, but he wasn't kidding.
He created the split, was responsible for the manufactured crisis that sent the worlds onto different trajectories, married the two teams who became the worlds' management, initiated the biological weapon that would start their worlds war, and was even the cause for opening Echo.
Worst of all, Yanek Alpha was a jealous and petty man incapable of sharing, forgiveness, or accepting his fate -- the things that might have ultimately allowed the worlds to continue to thrive without interference like that of a biological weapon or even on a lower level that ripped apart two families with a Yanek at the head of each.
It's easy to see now why both Yanek and Mira were obsessed with the eradication of others. From Yanek's perspective, it was never going to work. Once his son died and Yanek Prime's survived, he believed the world was out to get him, that two could never live happily and breathe the same air.
It ultimately made no sense and had no basis in fact (more on that in a moment), but his rigid thinking wouldn't let go of the idea. Because of what he did to Mira Prime's father, her thought pattern turned out not like her father's but like Yanek Alpha's.
Yanek Alpha: It didn't have to be this way. I have ruined you.
Mira: That's what you see when you look at me? Ruined?
Even he could see that his actions "ruined" Prime's Mira. I'm sure Yanek Alpha's Mira wouldn't have fared any better since her father "ran away" per Management, but at least she didn't see her father beaten to death by her father only to be disbelieved.
Mira was never a favorite character, but her suffering at the hands of Yanek Alpha puts her on the right side of justice somehow. What she was subjected to all because she didn't receive the gift of a cassette tape was nothing of her doing.
Her quest has been to close the doors of the worlds to prevent others from her same fate and to end the experiment.
Two worlds of people should never become a giant petri dish, and one of the unanswered questions still out there would be how a group of ten scientists managed to gather enough power to maintain control over a tear between parallel universes while simultaneously setting up a quasi-government entity above it.
It's never been explained how the Office of Interchange interacts with the world as a whole, but given the title of this episode, maybe there is less overarching culpability than one would expect under the circumstances.
A breach between two worlds ordinarily sends the message that you have power between reason, but if Management wanted to keep a low profile and were happy being big fish in a little pond, then they might not go far beyond Berlin.
Their preference for the English language can be found in the team that bore Management -- a worldly group of scientists in duplicate.
Yanek Alpha and his ways ruined their lives, too. Until he noted to Juma the need for a biological weapon based only on his jealousy of Yanek Prime (and vice versa), the other team members were getting along. Their shackles raised because they believed they could no longer trust themselves as they knew them to be.
But what the Howards later proved is that a tragedy in a pair of others doesn't mean one will want to end the life of the other out of jealousy. At least that hasn't been proven yet and they have known tragedy.
Howard Alpha maintains his love for Emily Alpha despite knowing with Emily Prime Howard Prime had a child he and Emily Alpha lost. What will happen when the two men reconnect and learn of their adventures with each other's Emilys, though, might prove Yanek Alpha's theory correct.
Who cares about the collective good? The East if fucking dead now. What I'm saying is the animalistic instincts have won out. One side will always win out.Yanek Alpha
A man like Yanek Alpha can't win, though. He was clutching to madness, refusing a gesture of goodwill from Yanek Prime of "sharing" what they had (an odd situation for sure, but with all things equal, he could have at least bandied it about before visiting Prime's home on his own) to prolong his misery out of spite.
Management, even as it's hard to agree with their decision to use humans as a giant experiment, were forced to live in "hiding" and never see each other again after gaining a severe distrust for those over the crossing, including their other. Things didn't turn out as their utopian plans began, either.
You have to wonder if there is an Echo in the Prime world, is there one in Alpha, too? Who is in it and can it be found in the same location?
Martin Alpha was the member of Management on the case during Counterpart Season 2 Episode 1 agreeing they should reach out to Mira. He was married, as he had a ring on his finger.
Mira killed Juma Prime on Counterpart Season 2 Episode 2 in an attempt to get his case, one that Ian later dug up in Martin's backyard. He was well cast, as young Juma looked very much like him.
Interestingly, at least two of younger Management were played by twins, Isle and Volker. Isle was played by actresses Sara and Laura Bellini and Volker by brothers Gregory and Lawrence Zarian. It can't be easy altering every shot for one person to jump in and out of frame or to edit in their heads everywhere!
Another part of the tale that begs to be revealed is just how much of Mira's part in the manufactured crisis has she been made aware of? She did speak through the years to Juma Prime if their short conversation was any indication, so did he explain the full history to her?
How entangled was the Indigo School and Management Prime? It always seemed like the two were connected, but if Mira's goal is to close the crossing, then they might have different goals.
Kudos to Mr. Marks for turning the season on a dime and opening an entirely new avenue of discovery.
Tell me how you think everything with Management fits in with the Indigo School and the group of agents Mira has set up over the years. Will Management have a counterattack to keep the crossing open? Do you think Alpha world has anything similar in play?
Did the extent of how deeply enmeshed in the history of the two worlds Mira is involved come as a surprise to you? Hit me with all of your thoughts!
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.