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Old 01-14-2018, 09:44 PM
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Counterpart, new series on Starz (spoilers boxed in 1st post)

Only one episode so far, but I really, really enjoyed it. Very intriguing premise (spoilers for the first episode):

SPOILER:
A lowly bureaucrat finds out that the agency he works for is guarding a portal to a very similar, but still slightly different, parallel universe, and finds out that his counterpart is a high-ranking badass with knowledge of a secret plot that affects both sides...



And very well done. They were incredibly lucky to get an actor of the caliber of JK Simmons for a complicated role like this. Anyone else watch it?

I'll suggest that spoilers are game beyond the 1st post so that we can talk more easily.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 01-14-2018 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:55 PM
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There's only one episode available right now.

I enjoyed it. I kept expecting him to go into his Farmers Insurance spiel though.lol
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:22 PM
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A parallel universe spy drama. Wild.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:35 PM
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And very well done. They were incredibly lucky to get an actor of the caliber of JK Simmons for a complicated role like this. Anyone else watch it?

I did, and you're right about JK Simmons. I just watched the second episode last night, and it's amazing how he can make The Two Howards such different people, even when, as was pointed out, they're wearing the same shirt.

And the hints at the backstory for this universe are intriguing. That they were once a single timeline, that was somehow split at some point, with a character on one side darkly alluding to "What they did to us..." near the end of the episode.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:36 PM
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A parallel universe spy drama. Wild.

And set in Berlin. It's like the Cold War, if Russia was an exact duplicate of the West.
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Old 01-29-2018, 02:04 PM
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Caught the first episode of this, and am intrigued. So the experiment caused the universe to bifurcate, then?

Simmons does sterling work just with body language to distinguish the two Howards. Good stuff. Looking forward to the rest when it, errr, turns up.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:34 PM
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What was the piece of classical music they were playing in the concert hall?

Anyone notice the inconsistencies in the technology? In the first episode they had a super advanced transparent cell phones, but big beige computer monitors. I don't think that's a mistake.

I am intrigued so far.
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Old 01-29-2018, 09:18 PM
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Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.
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Old 01-30-2018, 07:45 AM
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We watched the second episode last night. I cannot wait for the third. Plus I've always enjoyed JKSimmons.

I think it's very apt that it's set in Berlin and has an Eastern European/Russian overtone.

I'm also speculating as to why the timeline split and "what was done" to "them".

I also like that Simmons isn't the only one playing his own counterpart. It adds more depth to the story as well as making sense re the timeline.

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Old 01-30-2018, 07:48 AM
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Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.
More specific, "Spring".

It's also the opening theme to "A Chef's Table" but I digress.
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:01 AM
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Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.
Thanks!
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Old 01-31-2018, 11:43 PM
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Excellent show! I was ready for a good binge watch, but I see it is released a week at a time. I am very interested in finding out the differences between the two worlds.
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:21 PM
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We’re loving it. jK Simmons is the man.
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Old 02-06-2018, 02:24 AM
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I am enjoying it too. It's total Cold War Berlin spystuff but alternate realities! Fun premise and yes of course Simmons is doing a great job.
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:33 AM
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I am enjoying it too. It's total Cold War Berlin spystuff but alternate realities! Fun premise and yes of course Simmons is doing a great job.


I'm looking forward to JK Simmons as a polite, slightly bumbling guy trying to act like JK Simmons, the badass. That's got all sorts of possibilities!
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:38 AM
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I need help. I am thoroughly confused with the letter Emily was reading at the end. Does that mean Coma Emily is the Emily from the other side, and Mild Howard's Emily is the bad ass? And Bad Ass Howard knows that?

I still see the inconsistency in the technology, with big computer monitors and dot matrix printers and sleek new phones.

A theory on my part.
SPOILER:

I'm also thinking the "other side" is OUR side IRL. Toby Ziegler was talking about how "we" wouldn't have mapped the human genome if it weren't for "them." We completed that project in 2003.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:43 AM
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I need help. I am thoroughly confused with the letter Emily was reading at the end. Does that mean Coma Emily is the Emily from the other side, and Mild Howard's Emily is the bad ass? And Bad Ass Howard knows that?
That's how we interpreted it. Remember, Mild Howard doesn't know *anything* other than what he's been exposed to thus far.
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:53 AM
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I need help. I am thoroughly confused with the letter Emily was reading at the end. Does that mean Coma Emily is the Emily from the other side, and Mild Howard's Emily is the bad ass? And Bad Ass Howard knows that?

I'm not sure I'm parsing that sentence correctly, but the way I see it, both Emilies are involved in this crossover agency, Badass Howard knows this, and Mild Howard had no idea. It also seems that Badass Howard knew Coma Emily, and was somehow involved with her on a professional basis. Non-Coma Emily had no idea that Badass Howard knew Coma Emily, though, which is why Badass Howard sent her to the church to find the letters. He needed to bring her up to speed on exactly how convoluted the situation actually is.



Quote:

A theory on my part.
SPOILER:

I'm also thinking the "other side" is OUR side IRL. Toby Ziegler was talking about how "we" wouldn't have mapped the human genome if it weren't for "them." We completed that project in 2003.

I was also wondering which one was "our" world, but it has to be the Ziegler-verse, since it was clear that the Other-verse had suffered a major epidemic that we have never had. So, yeah, a lot of "our" discoveries are secretly just us copying their work. Of course, the reverse is also true, as seen when the ambassador gets a peak at the smartphone.
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Old 02-09-2018, 03:12 PM
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I'm not sure I'm parsing that sentence correctly, but the way I see it, both Emilies are involved in this crossover agency, Badass Howard knows this, and Mild Howard had no idea. It also seems that Badass Howard knew Coma Emily, and was somehow involved with her on a professional basis. Non-Coma Emily had no idea that Badass Howard knew Coma Emily, though, which is why Badass Howard sent her to the church to find the letters. He needed to bring her up to speed on exactly how convoluted the situation actually is.
Well, it seemed like NonComa Emily was reading a letter addressed to "Emily" from "Emily." Somehow I got the notion that Coma Emily is from the other side and that Mild Howard is unaware of the switch. Or maybe she came over at the switch and THEN met Mild Howard.

Maybe to keep things straight we need to identify Mild Howard and Toby's side as "our (IRL)" side for the time being. But the major epidemic could be AIDS, for all we know.

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Old 02-09-2018, 03:32 PM
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I don't think so. I think one of the characters on "Mild Howard's" side mentioned that they got HIV treatment from the other side, and someone on the other side indicated that the pandemic was devastating to the population of their cities.

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Old 02-10-2018, 12:34 AM
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From how I understood it, the letter was from coma-Emily to bad-ass Howard. She and him were having an affair, but she wanted to make sure bad-ass Howard would protect mild-Howard from any threats that might come from his world.

So, I have a strong feeling her “accident” wasn’t an accident after all. Bad-ass Howard loves coma-Emily. Coma-Emily loves bad-ass Howard, but doesn’t want to hurt mild-Howard. Mild-Howard is unaware of all of this, and so was Other-Emily up to the point bad-ass Howard pointed her to that letter. And why did he do that? Because she asked if coma-Emily loved mild-Howard. That was his answer.

Excellent show so far. JK Simmons is always great.
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Old 02-10-2018, 07:43 AM
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From how I understood it, the letter was from coma-Emily to bad-ass Howard. She and him were having an affair, but she wanted to make sure bad-ass Howard would protect mild-Howard from any threats that might come from his world.

So, I have a strong feeling her “accident” wasn’t an accident after all. Bad-ass Howard loves coma-Emily. Coma-Emily loves bad-ass Howard, but doesn’t want to hurt mild-Howard. Mild-Howard is unaware of all of this, and so was Other-Emily up to the point bad-ass Howard pointed her to that letter. And why did he do that? Because she asked if coma-Emily loved mild-Howard. That was his answer.

Excellent show so far. JK Simmons is always great.
What made you think of an affair? That didn't occur to me until reading your post.
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Old 02-10-2018, 10:33 AM
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What made you think of an affair? That didn't occur to me until reading your post.
Nothing more than that’s how it came off to me as she was reading it. I’d need to re-watch it again to be sure. It makes the most sense to me.

Either way, now that other-Emily is dead, that only leaves one Emily for a love-interest.

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Old 02-10-2018, 12:19 PM
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We’re loving it. jK Simmons is the man.
I haven't been watching, but since folks here really like it, I'll catch up. My only problem the JKS is it's hard for me to disassociate him from his role in Oz.

I've seen the ads for it, and too bad they don't give the one version a goatee.
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Old 02-10-2018, 02:00 PM
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Nothing more than that’s how it came off to me as she was reading it. I’d need to re-watch it again to be sure. It makes the most sense to me.

Either way, now that other-Emily is dead, that only leaves one Emily for a love-interest.
I thought Coma Emily was still in a coma, not dead. Did I miss something? Mild Howard went to visit her as usual.
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:42 PM
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I thought Coma Emily was still in a coma, not dead. Did I miss something? Mild Howard went to visit her as usual.
Not coma-Emily, other-Emily. When she arrived home after reading that letter, she pricked her finger on a poisonous needle that was planted on her lamp switch by mysterious spies. Looks like she’s dead now.
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:59 PM
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Oh, duh. I was hung up on the letter. So, Coma Emily comes from the other side? I guess when she wakes up she'll be BadAss Emily then.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:32 PM
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I have only seen three or four episodes of this, but the way it works is, there are exactly two of everybody over 30 years old, one from the West side and one from the East side, unless they are killed off or die. We also know sometimes people cross and infiltrate the other side. However, if, as we are meant to believe, dead Emily was from the East side, then the comatose Emily has to be from the West side. She was put on the hit list by yet-to-be-revealed parties because of whatever she was into (we know nothing about it yet), but they failed to finish the job and so far she is still alive, but in a coma for the past weeks.

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Old 02-11-2018, 03:06 AM
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BTW, I've noticed on many shows (this one too), turning on closed captions gives you info you wouldn't otherwise have. For example from this thread so far:

1) The writers refer to the other Howard as "Prime" (Prime being the bad ass one). Which I guess means I shouldn't think of Him as the other, as they think of the other other as other
2) They often will give the name of the song when it starts to play including the artist's name.

Definitely like this show. Cool concept and nicely done.
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Old 02-11-2018, 04:04 AM
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Oh, duh. I was hung up on the letter. So, Coma Emily comes from the other side? I guess when she wakes up she'll be BadAss Emily then.
I wasn’t getting that at all. I still think coma-Emily is from “our” side, just that her and bad-ass Howard somehow met up in the past and had a fling/were up to something? We still don’t know what... But I kinda need to see that scene again where soon-to-be-dead Emily is reading the letter.
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Old 02-11-2018, 04:16 AM
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FWIW, you don't have to wait til 9pm tonight to watch. Episode 4 is available now "On Demand". At least it is on Xfinity where I am.
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Old 02-11-2018, 04:29 AM
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The writers refer to the other Howard as "Prime" (Prime being the bad ass one). Which I guess means I shouldn't think of Him as the other, as they think of the other other as other
Absent any other evidence, I would not read too much into this. Often enough “prime” is used to designate an alternate entity.
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Old 02-11-2018, 04:21 PM
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I don't think so. I think one of the characters on "Mild Howard's" side mentioned that they got HIV treatment from the other side, and someone on the other side indicated that the pandemic was devastating to the population of their cities.

We also saw the German-language public service announcement about making sure you report anyone who shows signs of illness, or risk quarantine or criminal charges. Even at the height of the AIDS epidemic, we never went quite that far.



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From how I understood it, the letter was from coma-Emily to bad-ass Howard. She and him were having an affair, but she wanted to make sure bad-ass Howard would protect mild-Howard from any threats that might come from his world.

So, I have a strong feeling her “accident” wasn’t an accident after all. Bad-ass Howard loves coma-Emily. Coma-Emily loves bad-ass Howard, but doesn’t want to hurt mild-Howard. Mild-Howard is unaware of all of this, and so was Other-Emily up to the point bad-ass Howard pointed her to that letter. And why did he do that? Because she asked if coma-Emily loved mild-Howard. That was his answer.

Excellent show so far. JK Simmons is always great.
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What made you think of an affair? That didn't occur to me until reading your post.

It could be read as an affair, and I thought about mentioning that in my earlier post, but it wasn't definite enough. But it's certainly plausible. We know Badass Howard and Non-Coma Emily had a relationship in the past, and it's not so crazy to think he might have looked up Coma Emily at some point. I mean, this whole arrangement is just tailor-made for creepy personal interactions.


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I haven't been watching, but since folks here really like it, I'll catch up. My only problem the JKS is it's hard for me to disassociate him from his role in Oz.

Imagine if he'd played both Shillinger and Beacher in the first season of Oz. It's like that, but with less sodomy.


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Absent any other evidence, I would not read too much into this. Often enough “prime” is used to designate an alternate entity.

Yeah, we get that in science a lot, if you're drawing diagrams of different embodiments of the same device, you might refer to part A in figure 1, and part A' (A prime) in figure 2, to show that they serve the same function even if they're slightly different.

So Mild Howard is Howard, and Badass Howard is Howard Prime. But that biases us to think that Mild Howard is the "normal" one.
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Old 02-11-2018, 04:23 PM
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Oh, duh. I was hung up on the letter. So, Coma Emily comes from the other side? I guess when she wakes up she'll be BadAss Emily then.


Actually, it sounds like both of them were Badass Emilies, which will make our naming conventions that much more complicated.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:47 PM
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Actually, it sounds like both of them were Badass Emilies, which will make our naming conventions that much more complicated.
I'll just stick to Ossis and Wessis, which is fair and symmetrical.

I understood from the episode that both Emilys were working in their respective departments of "Housekeeping", but Wessi Emily got wind of what was going on and was able to warn (Ossi) Howard, while Ossi Emily had no clue about it before the events of the show. Then again, we are probably still missing most of the pieces of the puzzle.
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Old 02-12-2018, 09:41 AM
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OK, watched Ep1 last night. I liked it. Simmons is really good, and I think actors love having the opportunity to play two different versions of the same character. I just don't get why Howard1 didn't tell Howard2 about the flower thing for the nurse. It seemed like he left that out on purpose. Don't spoiler that for me if the answer is revealed later on. I've only seen Ep1 so far and I'd like to see it untarnished.
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Old 02-12-2018, 11:15 AM
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I just don't get why Howard1 didn't tell Howard2 about the flower thing for the nurse. It seemed like he left that out on purpose. Don't spoiler that for me if the answer is revealed later on. I've only seen Ep1 so far and I'd like to see it untarnished.


I don't think it was on purpose. It highlighted the differences between the Howards. Howard1 just isn't as detail-oriented and disciplined as Howard2, largely because his life has never depended on getting every detail correct. He was still reeling from the whole Big Reveal, and just wasn't thinking about getting everything absolutely correct. Heck, he almost forgot to buy flowers at all, if you recall, and had to tell the guy to stop at the last minute as they passed the flower shop.

It also highlights how good Baldwin is - she's watched Howard1 long enough to know his routine, down to even this small detail, and she not only notices the discrepancy, but also realizes its importance.
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Old 02-12-2018, 12:24 PM
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But Howard1's job, every single day, is to get the details right. That's why it was such a big deal that he "broke protocol" and mentioned the stain on the other guy's tie. Anyway, yeah, he almost forgot the flowers, but he told Howard2 the nurse's name and then forgot the flower in the vase thing. I'm sure every viewer picked up on that and just new it was going to blow the whole thing. I know I sure did.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out. They threw out a nice little teaser at the end of Ep1.
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:14 PM
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But Howard1's job, every single day, is to get the details right. That's why it was such a big deal that he "broke protocol" and mentioned the stain on the other guy's tie.


Yeah, but as he says with the tie issue, why does any of that matter? To him, it's just a routine he does every day, and is no different than anyone else who has to wear a particular uniform for work. He literally just takes off everything he's wearing, and puts on the provided clothes. He doesn't have to think about it, because someone else has made the rules, and set up the system for him. And even when he screws up, there's no real consequences, just a talking to by his boss.

With the flowers, he had to do the thinking for himself, and he failed at it. There was no one else involved who could have picked up on the detail he missed, and it cost them.
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:30 PM
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I rewatched the end of episode 3, to listen to the letter from coma-Emily again. Yeh, not sure why I thought Howard2 and her were having an affair—maybe because of the secretive nature of a handwritten letter to Howard2. But there was nothing explicit, or even implicit, that would show them being involved romantically. Just that she is definitely a spy, and her and Howard2 were up to something prior. She remarked that she'd been keeping Howard1 at arm's length to shield him from everything, just like she's sure Howard2 had to do with Emily2. And, to protect Howard1 if anything were to happen. I'm curious what they were up to.

I look forward to watching ep. 4 today!
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:16 PM
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We're back to two Emilys. I thought the scene with Mild Howard visiting Anna's room was touching, considering back home it's used for storage. How soon before Baldwin goes after Clare for setting her up to be killed?

It does seem like the other side is cleaner which much less traffic...they used a bluish filter in those scenes, with a brownish filter for the scenes on this side. Perhaps the population is much lower over there?

Any thoughts on who the mole might be?
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:32 PM
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Ha, started watching ep 4, but I'm quite tired - it's late here - and my attention wandered for just long enough for me to get totally confused. I think this show is worth a close watch, so will have another go after some sleep. There's not many shows on at the moment I can say that for.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:10 PM
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I love this show so far! Let's see if we can work out what we know so far....

30 years ago an experiment of some sort split our world into 2 - World A and World B - which at that time were exactly identical.

Only a select group of people in both worlds know that parallel worlds exist. The local police don't know, and very few world leaders know. This means that it must be controlled by a single company.

My guess is this company exists to sell secrets discovered in the other world pertaining to scientific and technological discoveries into their own world. But what probably started off early on as mutually beneficial appears to have become antagonistic. No doubt Chekov's Plague played a role.

On both sides the company seems to be made up of:
4th floor - the highest level executives. In both worlds the leadership is in chaos, and both sides have been infiltrated by moles.

3rd floor - strategy - we don't know a lot about what this group does yet, but seems to be the most cosmopolitan positions. They likely figure out how to implement 4th floor directives with the other groups - and most likely create the folders used by Interface.

Interface - The lowest branch - they interact directly with a person on the other side reading coded phrases back and forth. They have no idea what they do, what they read, nor whom they're interacting with.

Analysis - This group takes the coded phrases from Interface and converts to practical messages. They still don't know what they do, and the work is split between incoming messages and outgoing messages so nobody can get a full picture.

Diplomacy - This group manages the delicate issues, and tries to get some of the big prizes of information if they can get it. Howard B officially works for Diplomacy.

Section 2- Spies - they build the network to get information from the other side. Howard B actually works here.

Housekeeping - They're the ones that get their hands dirty to keep the secret from getting out.

In both worlds, Emily was working for housekeeping from the start and Howard started in interface. Approximately 28 years ago, they dated and married. One side had a wedding, one side eloped. Kids aside - Emily A kept her secret from Howard, and Howard seemed content enough in his life he never pushed himself to succeed - therefore he languished in Interface. Emily B told Howard B what she did which was the beginning of the end of their relationship. Howard B must have turned to work, women, and other vices to become the person he became.

Emily A became aware of something in this world that affects the other world and started writing letters to Howard B to work with him. This is what set this whole chain of events into motion. I have no idea where it's going, but excited to see what's next!
  #44  
Old 02-13-2018, 07:15 PM
Frazzled Frazzled is offline
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I forgot to mention Baldwin. In the first scene of the first episode, she was still in Earth Prime - but by the end of the episode had crossed over. We know for sure there's a bit of a black market trade that can pass back and forth, and we know for sure there are corrupt higher ups. But they have not made clear how Baldwin crossed, which could imply that there is more than one crossing.

I noticed the crossing has lots of little bridges - I wonder if it's stretching and getting bigger as years go by. Was it originally just passing through a door, and now after 30 years they need to pass through a long tunnel?
  #45  
Old 02-13-2018, 10:37 PM
DPRK DPRK is offline
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Kids aside - Emily A kept her secret from Howard, and Howard seemed content enough in his life he never pushed himself to succeed - therefore he languished in Interface. Emily B told Howard B what she did which was the beginning of the end of their relationship. Howard B must have turned to work, women, and other vices to become the person he became.
It's not that simple. The beginning (or perhaps even the middle) of the end was that Howard B rose up the ranks on his own and found out that pill-popping Emily had been keeping secrets from him, for which he never forgave her. The two Howards (and similarly other twins) share a common background, but they're different.
  #46  
Old 02-14-2018, 12:39 AM
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Thanks, Frazzled. That was an excellent summary.
  #47  
Old 02-14-2018, 04:49 PM
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It's not that simple. The beginning (or perhaps even the middle) of the end was that Howard B rose up the ranks on his own and found out that pill-popping Emily had been keeping secrets from him, for which he never forgave her. The two Howards (and similarly other twins) share a common background, but they're different.
True - so far we know nothing about Emily A, but the way Emily B treated Howard A in the last episode is probably pretty close to how their relationship works in world A. I wouldn't be surprised if she's manipulating him, get him to have feelings for her, and then share information with her from his side when he returns. She needs information and he's the perfect pawn.

On the B Side - Howard outranks Emily which rankles her, and it seems to be something he likes to remind her about. The don't take pleasure in the others success and seem to actively try to hold the other back.

It will be interesting to see if Emily A had / has a pill problem just like Emily B. Howard should have noticed, but then he might just not be sharing.
  #48  
Old 02-14-2018, 05:39 PM
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True - so far we know nothing about Emily A, but the way Emily B treated Howard A in the last episode is probably pretty close to how their relationship works in world A. I wouldn't be surprised if she's manipulating him, get him to have feelings for her, and then share information with her from his side when he returns. She needs information and he's the perfect pawn.
That's a harsh angle. I got that EmilyB has her regrets but she is rather delighted to have a non-bitter Howard to conspire with.
  #49  
Old 02-14-2018, 05:46 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I got the impression that EmilyB found HowardA appealing in a way that HowardB was not. Meanwhile, HowardB and EmilyA appeared to be carrying on an "affair", if you can call it that.
  #50  
Old 02-14-2018, 06:02 PM
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That's a harsh angle. I got that EmilyB has her regrets but she is rather delighted to have a non-bitter Howard to conspire with.
World B feels harsh.

I'm not where I can watch so this may be a little off, but in that last episode we had Claire and Baldwin - Claire's handler asked about Baldwin which Claire replied that she knew Baldwin had sexual feelings for her. Claire's handler said she should make use of that - so Claire allowed Baldwin to seduce her, then once she had her trust and fell asleep Claire stole her gun leaving Baldwin defenseless against the assassins sent to kill her. I'm pretty sure that handler was in housekeeping too.

I just think that's a fact of life in world B - Love is a tool Housekeepers use to their advantage.
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