Major spoilers below for Counterpart's Season 2 premiere, so be sure to watch before reading on.
With its first season, Counterpart made for one of TV's most craftily enjoyable thrillers, despite a lack of awards recognition. Season 2 has finally arrived, and the premiere "Inside Out" interestingly reverted back to the series premiere's single-Earth approach in bringing audiences up to speed on characters new and old. Creator Justin Marks spoke with CinemaBlend's Sarah El-Mahmoud during a recent press junket, explaining why Counterpart's season opener simplified things, relatively speaking.
While this episode might have outwardly compared to the series premiere in terms of its singular focus, the situations are completely different now that the two worlds have ceased communication. (Probably not ALL communication of course.) Had Justin Marks and the writers split the narrative in "Inside Out," the show might not have driven home how radical this standoff is, nor now helplessly stuck Howard Prime and Howard Alpha are in their flip-flopped worlds.
Aside from that narrative-driven angle, Justin Marks explained that Counterpart's premiere also pulled back the world-switching reins a bit for the sakes of both the audience and the crew. In his words:
Justin Marks also said that this season brought in new crew members, both in the writers room and out, and that it was really in everyone's best interest to avoid the criss-crossing pattern from the get-go. Considering the premiere introduced Betty Gabriel's suspicious Naya Temple, showcased Peter Quayle's lapse in forward-thinking, and brought in a wealth of new information about Emily Alpha, I'd agree that holding all of the action to Earth Alpha was an aces plan.
Olivia Williams' Emily Alpha had only just woken up when Season 1 ended, so fans likely wondered about her past throughout the hiatus. Thankfully, Counterpart quickly revealed more about the duplicitous and hard-edged woman that Emily Alpha doesn't remember being before her "accident." She also appears to have zero interest in returning to her former ways, an outlook that just might appeal to Howard Prime.
Olivia Williams' dual counterparts are in for some major moments in Season 2, and as Justin Marks explained it, Emily Alpha's current storyline was part of the original pitch to the network.
Those are some pretty loaded words from Justin Marks, considering how twisty-turny Season 1 got, although as the creator, he boasts the biggest insight. Since Emily Alpha doesn't have a firm grasp on anything, viewers will presumably get to tag along in learning more about her unbalanced relationship with Howard and how under-the-radar her professional exploits were.
It's this enigmatic exploration that really appeals to Justin Marks when it comes to bringing Season 2 to viewers, as he's quite excited to peel back the layers of Emily Alpha's life as episodes go forward. Here's how he put it.
A TV character losing their memory in a context like this can often feel cheap or cheesy in the wrong person's hands, but Counterpart can easily overcome those odds thanks to all the other plot threads concerning character's identities and beliefs. And Justin Marks teased what's coming ahead whenever viewers will return to Earth Prime to see what that version of Emily is up to.
Fans shouldn't count on learning each and every one of Emily Alpha's secrets in the first two or three episodes, so we should probably expect many more clues in the weeks to come. And since Indigo head Mira isn't the most welcoming person, those clues might be foreboding for Emily Alpha's future.
Be sure to tune into Counterpart every Sunday night on Starz (opens in new tab) at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other new and returning shows are on the horizon, head to our fall TV schedule and our midseason premiere rundown.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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