Major spoilers below for Counterpart's episode, titled "The Sincerest Form of Flattery."
In its first six episodes, Starz's Counterpart proved itself to be as magnificent, as dense and as unpredictable as any other TV show out there. And then came Episode 7, offering a full-length exploration of Clare Prime, who was revealed to be the OI's big mole in the previous ep's cliffhanger. "The Sincerest Form of Flattery" was like nothing else Counterpart has delivered, turning Clare from a bit-part villain into Counterpart's biggest lynchpin. I was lucky enough to talk about the episode at length with star Nazanin Boniadi, who shared why it was such an important installment.
Indeed! During the episode, Counterpart fans went back in time to Clare's childhood within the Indigo school's growing league of sleeper cells. We learned that the alt-Earth is grooming children to mirror the lives of their other iterations, for an eventual goal where the radicalized students engage in the deadliest form of identity theft. When normal-world Clare accidentally broke her legs as a youth, the Indigo head honcho Mira forced Clare Prime to get her own legs intentionally broken, which is just one of so many partially justifiable reasons for the orphan's rage over the conspiratorial claims that the flu that killed her parents (and millions of others) was the fault of the other world. (As a separate example, normal Clare's prolonged virginity
Homeland vet Nazanin Boniadi, who went out for the role based on the first three scripts and creator Justin Marks' promise that there was more to come, shared with me her thoughts about Clare's quasi-manufactured point of view, and went a little deeper into how her deeply disturbing upbringing was such that her so-called villainy can be up for debate.
Since Clare is married to Peter, their dynamic will definitely go through some revisions in the coming weeks, and we're wondering if she will remain so loyal to the Indigo school. (Which, as it happens, has lost a good amount of paperwork to trashcan fires.) Or maybe she will manage to spin Peter's own domestic interests with her genuinely horrifying history.
One thing's for sure, though. Peter probably won't listen to a word Clare Prime says after he learns what happened to the actual woman he attempted to marry. Head over to the next page to hear what Nazanin Boniadi told us about that big Clare-killing-Clare scene.
One particularly distressing moment in "The Sincerest Form of Flattery" came when Clare Prime was called upon to take over her other's identity, which coincided with normal-world Clare ending her engagement with the unfaithful Peter. In order to save the situation from complete disaster, Clare Prime set up a faux burglary that ended in her strangling her less-tortured counterpart to death. During my talk with Nazanin Boniadi, I had to ask her what it was like to take part in that bizarre murder.
Other than the few moments in her childhood where her sadness shone through, Clare Prime does not reveal her true emotional state very often, and that lack of adult anguish sometimes makes it easy to forget the hardships she's faced. However, after watching the feral ferocity on her face as she ended her other's life, I dare not again question the homicidal wrath lurking beneath Clare's surface.
Below, Nazanin Boniadi perfectly lays out how this episode, and the Clare murder scene in particular, showcase the brilliance behind Counterpart's dually conceived characters.
We've grown accustomed to Counterpart episodes centering largely on J.K. Simmons' pair of Howards, and who can blame anyone for that, considering how fantastic he is? However, Simmons' talent is but one piece of Counterpart's magnificence and mystique, and if the Starz drama wants to dedicate more episodes to Nazanin Boniadi's Clare, or Emily Prime, or any of the other non-Howard characters, our eyes will remain glued to the screen.
With many more twists and turns to come -- Counterpart airs Sunday nights on Starz at 8:00 p.m. ET. And you can bet CinemaBlend will have more exclusives from our chat with Nazanin Boniadi on the way as well. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere schedule to plan your upcoming primetime viewing.