Counterpart: A parallel world spy thriller


Fringe was the first to have a “mirror dimension”?

Evil Spock says I think not.


Yep. I have a very low tolerance for this sort of thing these days. To may well written, serialized dramas out there for me to put up with it. This is sort a spoiler, but…

The whole set up with the damn flowers was the most egregious of these… First he asks his counterpart 2 or 3 times to go over his routine. Never mentions the flowers which they showed us 3 or 4 times already. They make it look like maybe they’ll forget the flowers, but no. He stops them to get some and then of course forgets to say how he always puts one in the nurse’s vase. Which then is noticed by EVERYONE!

I did enjoy it, but I won’t put up with a lot of that as it starts to wear on me and I’ll start looking for it.

I did love Frings, but it began to drag and I think I had the whole last season on DVR and eventually deleted it.


Actually going to disagree with you here. This Harold is dealing with a whole lot of crap. The world as he knows it has just been turned upside down. He’s not some spy or super agent, he’s just a dude. I don’t think it’s at all unbelievable or that he’s TSTL (too stupid to live) because that didn’t come to mind,

Heck, if you want to complain about anything, it ought to be that Harold Prime didn’t notice the nurse pull the flower out of the vase as he approached.


I’ll give you that, but they didn’t have to be so blatant and heavy handed about shooting it, IMO. LOOK AT THIS!!! LOOK AT IT!!!


I don’t feel like they did, unless you mean when the assassin showed up. But they had made a point of saying she was incredibly detail oriented and had probably been following him, and would notice if anything was off.


The flower thing bothered me a bit, if only because they beat you over the head with it and you knew it was coming but I let it slide. I figured that stress would lead to a missed detail regardless. They could have been less heavy handed with it though.

As far as the show itself, it looks like it has a lot of potential and with Simmons in the leads, I figured it will be worth watching.


It would have been understandable if loser Herold forgot that detail if he was only asked about his routine once, but three times?

But still, an interesting premise, and JK Simmons playing two characters in the same show? I’m on for the ride.


I just watched this and agree that the flower thing was a bit obvious.
So can someone tell me when this is supposed to take place? That one dude in the first sequence had a cell phone from the FUTURE but in the office it’s nothing but IBM Selectric typewriters and CRT computer monitors. Was the cell phone guy not from Our Side?


I think this is supposed to be some sort of alternate history future. Like when the door to the other world was opened time diverged.

Harold has been working at that place for 30 years, and the door was opened during the Cold War, so it could be present day, but all the tech is different because of the timeline divergence.


It also appears that the alternate universe is substantially higher tech. The skyline shots show much more modern buildings/architecture as well as the computer difference.


And it seems they have those wacky translucent phones we keep being promised in all the shows and movies.


What someone on ArsTechnica suggested is that they purposefully keep things frozen in time at the agency, tech-wise, in order to not divulge anything new to the visitors from the other side.
Apart from that one guy in the pre-credits scene, did we see other people using fancy smart phones, out on the street and such?


So this didn’t remind me of Fringe, because I never watched Fringe (or more accurately I only watched Fringe during part of the first season, before the parallel universe stuff and when it was mostly terrible.)

The tone and atmosphere - drab bureaucratic borders between parallel existences - did remind me a lot, and I mean a lot, of China Mieville’s 2009 novel The City and the City, but with spy thriller conceits replacing police procedural and without Mieville’s clever trope twist namely that the two parallel existences aren’t necessarily in different universes.

As a spy novel fan I view this as spy thriller with a bit of sf on the side, and as such I quite liked the Le Carreseque atmosphere and the fact that by the end of the first episode alpha male Harold is already deceiving beta male Harold, setting up all sorts of possible future intrigue. I also enjoy the treat of seeing Simmons play two different leads where he doesn’t have to shout all the time. As this episode showed he has a lot more range than he normally gets to display.

The flowers-and-nurse thing didn’t bother me one bit. It seemed perfectly in character to me - beta male Harold isn’t used to having his every word treated as a matter of life or death, while it’s the sort of thing alpha male Harold just assumed he would tell himself as a matter of course. Hence it falls through the cracks.


I should go back and watch The Fringe, because I only watched a few episodes into the first season as well. Is it on Netflix?


Not in the US, but you can rent/buy seasons 1-5 on Amazon.


Heyyyy it’s the teacher lady from Rushmore!

So the entire show is a meditation on 30 years of slightly different decisions making you into a very different person? Sort of The Butterfly Effect but for people?


OK, I saw a recognizable iPhone in one of the “our world” scenes, so the tech freeze seems to be confined to the agency.

BTW it’s a pretty neat trick how Howard Prime did what he did in the opening scene before the credits without getting his clothes dirty.

And it always makes me laugh how in movies and on TV almost no one’s wounds ever swell up as they would in real life.


Damn, people, this is getting really good as of tonight’s episode. All kinds of Cold War spy drama vibes.


Yeah, it was good. All the pieces of the reveal were right there, but I didn’t see it coming, nor did my wife. That’s pretty rare.


Setting the dimensional portal in Berlin was a stroke of genius.