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Spoilers below for anyone who isn't caught up with Starz's excellent new drama Counterpart.
If you're looking for the best drama on TV right now, don't bother looking anywhere beyond J.K. Simmons' Starz series Counterpart, which serves as a perfect blend of conspiracy thriller, character study and emotional drama, all wrapped up inside a light sci-fi storyline and topped with a cherry of dark comedy. Some of those elements are on display in the exclusive Counterpart clip below, which comes from Episode 6, titled "Act Like You've Been Here Before." Especially the darkly comedic side. Check it out!
At face value, the clip appears to show Howard Prime being interrogated by Nicholas Pinnock's Ian Prime; one might be inclined to say "debriefed," but nothing on Ian Prime's face suggests that such a verbal downgrade is necessary. As the Office of Interchange's watchful eye, Ian has more than enough reason to suspect Howard Prime of wrongdoing, and those negative feelings are piled on top of the mountainous angst the men share for each other over Emily Prime.
So while it's not very professional for Ian to drop so many insulting F-bombs during an official inquiry, it's certainly understandable. It has been imminent from the start that Howard Prime and Ian Prime are going to come to blows at some point, since neither man appears capable of relenting and agreeing with the other.
But because this is Counterpart, what appears to be a straightforward argument might be anything but. After all, as far as viewers are aware, Howard Prime is currently on Earth-1 (to borrow from the Arrow-verse), while Meek Howard is getting his mind warped by everything on the germ-fearing Earth Prime. That operation is supposed to take a week, so either Episode 6 zips through the rest of it in order to show us this as the aftermath, or that's actually Meek Howard dodging Ian's questions up there. J.K. Simmons does a phenomenal job of differentiating his performances, and the scene above looks more like a mixture of the two roles, as if Meek Howard is trying out a more confident approach, which he hasn't done much of yet.
Plus, "Howard Prime" takes a few shots at himself by saying he's a terrible husband, "by all accounts." And he really just sounds like he's thinking out loud about Emily Prime's motivations rather than directly antagonizing Ian Prime, as the more testosterone-driven Howard might. But then again, who knows?
Thankfully, "Act Like You're Been Here Before" will be airing Sunday night on Starz, so we don't have to wait that long to see what sparked this conversation, and how it will turn out. The fact that the clip only shows us two of the characters just makes me that much more interested in learning what Emily Prime is doing just then, and what under-the-table shenanigans Quayle and Aldrich are going through. And don't get me started on Alexander Pope.
Don't miss a single moment of double J.K. Simmons by tuning into an all new episode of Counterpart on Starz every Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET. And to find something to do while theorizing what the hell is happening in these two worlds, head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what other shows are on the horizon.