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Review of 'Counterpart'

by Paul Levinson 5 years ago in scifi tv
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Fringe on Espionage

One of the best parts of the late, lamented Fringe—in fact, maybe the best part, tied for first place with its time travel—was its alternate reality. It was brought about by Walter some years earlier—actually, not brought about, but Walter brought into being the bridge—which in turn brought us access to an alternate reality in which JFK wasn't assassinated, Walter was sane, and lots of cool things like that.

Counterpart—the first episode of which was on Starz last night as a sneak peak preview—has a lot of that Fringy quality, but so far, nothing as major in the two realities as JFK survived in one of them. Instead—and instead of the science fiction that inhabited every scene in Fringe—we get what could be a first class espionage story.

The other Howard Silk—perfectly played by J. K. Simmons—tells our Howard Silk (also perfectly played by Simmons)—that one reality split into two due to some Cold War experiment gone wrong 30 years ago. So both Silks were exactly the same until that split, sharing not only identical DNA but identical memories.

One nice part of this story, so far, is that it's not completely clear which reality is ours—that is, which one is the reality I'm now in as I write this review. Well, I guess since the show Counterpart exists in neither of the two realities in the show Counterpart, the answer is I'm now in neither.

But you know what I mean when I wonder which reality on the screen is ours, and I'd say it's the one in which Howard is a tough spy not a Caspar Milquetoast. There's also an excellent twist at the end of the first episode pertaining to the tough Howard, but I won't spoil it for you.

I will be back in January with more reviews when Counterpart resumes.

more alternate reality

scifi tv

About the author

Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; his LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge, & Digital McLuhan have been translated into 15 languages.

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