Love the Lie is the eighth episode of the Starz Original Series Counterpart. This episode is directed by Alik Sakharov (House of Cards, Black Sails) from a script by executive producer Amy Berg.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Production
- 3 Full Recap
- 4 Media
Writer and executive producer Amy Berg shared the original script for the opening scene of this episode.
As you can see, Alexander Pope was known as "St. John" in the original.
While she doesn't say why, Berg says she insisted on the wheelbarrows for the document destruction scenes.
The classroom timeline scene offers more details than the one shown in The Sincerest Form of Flattery. Along the top, from left to right, recognizable images include an original Tamgotchi, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela, an original Walkman, the crew of the doomed Space Shuttle Colombia, a close up of cigarette butts, an original iPod, a 50 Euro note, former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a sounder of swine, smoke rising from the twin towers, an original iPhone, singer Prince, and a county-by-county results map of the 2016 US election.
Along the bottom timeline you can see the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, leaders Mikhail Gorbachev and Erich Honecker of the old USSR, an erupting volcano, what appears to be a closeup of an Ebola virus, a mosquito on someone’s arm, pedestrians in surgical masks, and a giant sea turtle.
The scene where Howard finds the children's bodies originally played out on a bus and ended with him running away. Berg describes this as "a slightly darker version of the story."
The Howard versus Howard scene in the interface room was originally edited to cut between scenes of Peter Quayle and Aldrich. Due to the strength of the performances, producers allowed it to play out in one continuous block. "When you have something this extraordinary, you don’t cut away," Berg explains. "The subtlety in body language, in tone of voice, in the parsing of words. I feel confident in saying there won’t be a better scene on television this year."
A phone rings at the Indigo school in Potsdam. One of the teachers, Aldus (Jakob Diehl), answers.
It’s Alexander Pope asking for the “dry cleaners”. The teacher says it’s never been the dry cleaners and Pope apologizes and hangs up. Aldus seems stunned for a moment, sits down, and drops the file folder he’s holding. Gathering his wits, he rises and makes his way to a classroom where Mira (Christiane Paul) is teaching a group of students about the difference in a past election in Germany.
He explains about the call. Mira is also stunned, but she quickly takes action. She explains to the children that they’re going on a special trip with her assistant teacher Aldus. She turns back to him and says “everyone”.
The faculty is gathered in a library, wheelbarrows are brought in, and teachers begin loading it up with file folders and other documents. Mira tells Aldus to go to the safe and retrieve a leather pouch warning that “they’ll be here soon.”
Outside the school, staff dumps files into burning barrels as Emily Burton, Ian Shaw, D1 Howard Silk and other OI operatives close in from the woods.
Aldus spots them and rushes to tell Mira. He hands over the pouch which contains 14 glass vials. Each one contains a single cyanide capsule. Mira distributes these to the faculty members present and explains “Think about all we’ve accomplished over the years. Think about all we still have to do. Our legacy only survives if we can protect this secret.”
In the armory, she distributes guns to each staffer. They take up positions around the school and begin firing into the woods. Inside, Mira has Clare Fancher’s file. She takes a moment to look through it before tossing it in the fireplace.
Ian Shaw’s men make it into the school and are met with heavy gunfire. Ian is struck in the arm, but he manages to kill Aldus. As the gun fight rages from floor to floor, Mira makes her escape out he back. Friedrich sees her loading some files into a car and questions why she is leaving the others to die. She explains that their work is finished, “ours isn’t”. Friedrich joins her in the car and they drive away.
Once the guns fall silent, D1 Howard walks along the front of the school. He notes two teachers lay dead, holding hands, with foam at the corners of their mouth indicating they took their cyanide capsules.
Emily explains to Ian that everything was destroyed before they arrived. There are apparently no documents or any paper trail. Ian is angry because they were surprised with a firefight. Emily says she thought it was just a dead drop for information leaking from Dimension One.
She takes him to a classroom and shows him the timeline collage of photographs. She picks up a picture of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center saying it’s from “their side”. She says that they were comparing timeline differences between the two worlds, “events, traditions, they were teaching kids about life over there.” Ian realizes it was a school.
Howard is overwhelmed by the death surrounding him at the school. He notices a child’s knit cap on the floor of the hallway next to a door. He picks it up and goes thorough the door to investigate. He finds several children’s bodies under blue tarp and shouts for Emily and Ian to join him. Emily is sickened by the sight.
The Esteemed Mrs. Burton
In Dimension One, D2 Howard seeks out the source of an electronic ringing in the apartment. He finds a smartphone in a drawer and answers it. It’s Emily’s mother Charlotte Burton. She’s in town at the hospital. She tells him that Emily has woken from her coma.
Peter Quayle has no idea how to feed a crying baby Spencer. He has Clare handcuffed to the radiator in their bathroom.
D2 Howard arrives at the hospital to find Emily with her eyes open but still unresponsive. Charlotte (1970’s sex symbol Jacqueline Bisset) explains that the doctors aren’t sure if Emily can understand anything of what’s going on. She says they’re hopeful this is a first step in a full recovery.
Howard tries to talk to Emily but gets no response. Charlotte says Emily is a “warrior” with a “fighter’s heart”. Howard takes Emily’s hand and her finger twitches.
In Dimension Two, Ian is calling the Office of Interchange to update them on the Potsdam operation where “18 people are dead and half of those are children”. Emily stops him pointing out that the last time she went through official channels on this case they tried to have her killed. Ian relents and hangs up the phone.
He questions if Emily is sure Alexander Pope is behind everything. Emily says she finds it hard to believe that anyone is capable of what they’ve witnessed. She says if they’re going after Pope, “we need to be really sure of our ground.” She wants to keep looking for evidence because there must be something left that they didn’t destroy.
She makes her way over to Howard who is sitting stunned at a nearby table. Ian notes that Howard’s emotional shock and Emily’s concern toward him are out of character for the both of them. Emily suggests Howard go to the car and get some fresh air, but he insists he’s fine.
In Dimension One, Greta takes pictures of a sleeping Baldwin. The assassin tells her to stop and to delete the photos. Greta points out that Baldwin is a restless sleeper. She offers to make breakfast, but Baldwin is already putting on her clothes.
Gretta tries to find out more about her new friend. She speculates that Baldwin might be the CEO of a company in town for a big deal or a homeless person who lives out of a backpack. Baldwin smiles as Gretta points out that it technically wasn’t a one-night stand since they just slept together instead of having sex. Baldwin thanks her, takes her backpack and leaves.
The Indigo Plan Revealed
At Indigo, One of Ian’s men, Max (Rahul Rarikh), notices something in between the couch cushions where he’s sitting. He pulls out a file folder and looks through it. Excited, he hands it over to Ian. Inside are surveillance photos of Oskar Wolfe from Dimension One.
A strip of black and white images, including one with the face cut out, suggests to Emily that they’re forging an OI visa for The Crossing. She also finds visa crossing papers from “our side to theirs”. She puts the pieces together and realizes that the purpose of the school is to train sleeper agents to replace their counterparts.
Ian asks Howard if he still has friends in facial recognition in customs. Howard flicks a glance toward Emily and nods. Ian says he should check and see if the man in the photos went through the crossing. Emily says she’ll go with him. This surprises Ian, who questions why Howard can’t go on his own. Emily deflects, pointing out that Ian needs to find his friend from the lie exam, Kasper, because it’s obvious that Kasper alerted Indigo that they were coming.
In Dimension One, Spencer is still crying as Clare remains handcuffed in the bathroom. Peter brings the child into the room and Clare says the baby needs to be fed. Peter questions how long it’s been since this Clare replaced his Clare. She answers honestly explaining that they were planning to wait, but when Clare broke up with Peter over his infidelity, they pushed up the schedule.
Peter wants to know what happened to his Clare. D2 Clare lies and says her counterpart was extracted and resettled with a new life on “the other side”. She says it’s not something she knows because she’s just an operative. With tears in her yes, she begs him to let her feed their child. Peter relents and hands the crying baby to Clare. The baby latches and begins to feed. Clare points out that the child has Peter’s eyes.
Emily's Mom is Formidable
D2 Howard gets an update on D1 Emily from her doctor (Tamlyn Tomita). She says it might be months before they understand the full extent of her impairment. She says that, with this type of injury, motor skills tend to recover much more quickly than cognitive function.
Charlotte interrupts and says the doctor is saying they need to be more patient. The doctor takes the opportunity to leave Howard and speak directly to Emily’s mother. She seems overly deferential to “Mrs. Burton” as she suggests moving Emily to specialized rehabilitation and offers to come up with some recommendations.
Howard is suspicious and demands to know what “the esteemed Charlotte Burton” is trying to do by suddenly becoming “steadfast mother of the year”. Charlotte admits that she and Emily have had ups and downs over the year but claims she’s here now out of love. She then questions Howard about his last meeting with Emily’s brother Eric (Jamie Bamber) since he hasn’t said a word to her since he returned from Berlin (See: The Crossing (Episode)). Howard says they just got some things straight.
Charlotte questions why they moved Emily from the former hospital without telling her family. Howard says it had nothing to do with her and claims it’s simply a better hospital. Charlotte says she’s moving to Berlin to oversee her daughter’s care. She then gets in a dig suggesting Howard won’t be able to pay for Emily’s long recovery. He doesn’t respond and she leaves him to return to Emily’s room.
On the road from Potsdam to Berlin in Dimension Two, Emily tries to talk to Howard about how well he handled himself since it’s not the kind of thing he’s accustomed to. He questions how she can do the work she does without letting it get to her. She says she finds ways to cope, he realizes she’s talking about her addictions.
She says if their suspicions about the Indigo project are true, they need to let D2 Howard know because he’s the only one they can trust in Dimension One. She says her status is not as good as his in the office right now, so he’ll have to be the one to go in and talk to his counterpart in one of the Interface rooms. He agrees.
In Dimension One, Quayle puts Spencer down to sleep and returns to confront Clare. He asks if there are others like her. She deflects. He calls it a declaration of war from D2 on D1. Clare says her side doesn’t know anything about it and wouldn’t know what to do if they did. She then blames D1 for The Flu that killed “hundreds of millions” including her parents. She says it decimated Europe but didn’t impact Dimension One at all.
- EDITOR’S NOTE: Clare claims The Flu “decimated” Europe. If the writers are using “decimated” for its original meaning, that would be 10% of the European population. According to real-world statistics, the population of Europe in 1995 was 727,778,440. 10% would mean 72,777,844 people on the continent died in the first years of The Flu epidemic.
- Given that we’ve been told that 7% of the world’s population died, using 1995 as a starting point, that’s 401,458,615 people worldwide. If our assumptions about the use of the word “decimated” are correct, this suggests the virus spread from Europe to far more populous countries like India and China.
Quayle believes that if Dimension One actually was responsible for The Flu, an operation of that size, he would know about it. She says he’s naïve. She says diplomacy between the worlds is a charade and sooner or later everything will change. Quayle says he’s going to turn her in, but she talks him out of it point out that his life would be older and that they would take Spencer from them. She says everything is already underway and they’re trapped in it together.
Oskar Wolfe is Dead, Long Live Oskar Wolfe
Baldwin waits for D1 Oskar Wolfe to return home from shopping. She follows him into his apartment, and, as he’s putting his groceries away, she loops a zip-tie garrote around his neck and stands back as he suffocates while clawing at his neck. She takes his wallet and keys.
In Dimension Two, D1 Howard questions customs agents about Oskar’s crossing. They explain that he crossed with two others as part of a diplomatic envoy. They show Howard pictures of Wolfe, Helen Moller (Lotte Verbeek), and Rashad Roumani (Junes Zahdi). They say they’re not due back for another day.
Aldrich comes to Peter Quayle’s Dimension One home. He brings him Russian soup. He says it’s one of three things, along with poetry and counterintelligence that “those bastards” left us that are worth holding onto.
Aldrich tells the story about his Dimension Two counterpart. Apparently, they used to hold the same job with their respective OIs. They used to play chess by passing coded messages back and forth through interface channels. The games always ended in stalemates because they were evenly matched.
He became suspicious of his other and planted a spy close to D2 Aldrich. He apparently became infatuated with her and decided to defect. D1 Aldrich killed her because he feared that, if his counterpart defected, his loyalties would be forever in question by his superiors. D2 Aldrich went mad with grief over the loss of the woman. Aldrich says his other’s defection would have been a coup for the office, but that he had to choose between “the cause versus” his own survival.
Aldrich intimates that he knows Peter is the leak. He says he won’t involve the office in his suspicions yet, but is leaving men outside Quayle’s home. He offers to meet him later at the Hotel Walcott.
A Meeting Between Worlds
In Dimension Two, Clare tracks down Raash (Marco Khan), greets him in Turkish with "Merhaba", and tells him to get a message to D2 Howard. Raash uses his network to pass a note, which makes it way through The Crossing and is picked up on the other side.
D2 Howard calls Quayle and explains that someone wants to meet with him. He asks the director to shut down the surveillance in the Interface rooms in order to facilitate the face to face at 8 o’clock. He says they do “end of market reports” all the time at night so it won’t be so suspicious.
D2 Emily meets with Cara (Christine Adams) to facilitate the meeting in the interface room on their side. She agrees and then readjusts the camera in one of the Interface rooms to make it look as if there was a loose screw which caused it to point away from the window between the dimensions. She is hostile toward Howard and chastises him for getting Emily mixed up in whatever it is he’s doing.
In Dimension One, a worker shuts down the surveillance to all the Interface rooms. He gives the security personnel monitoring the camera feeds the night off claiming the “deputy directors want to perform a systems simulation.” He later tells D2 Howard to tell Quayle that he owes him four box seats next time instead of two in order to repay him for this favor.
Both Howards go through the process of entering the Interface hallway. Once D2 arrives, he finds D1 Howard waiting. D1 explains what they’ve found out about the school and the three Indigo crossovers. He gives him the names of the sleepers who most recently crossed over.
D1 Howard is combative suggesting that his counterpart is surmised to see him thinking perhaps he was expecting his ex-wife. He reminds him that he lied about Emily and told him that she died of cancer. He seems a bit bitter about how little D2 told him about what to expect on the other side, his marital status and his daughter specifically.
D2 says people “tend to do desperate things” when they learn about their lives on the other side. D1 scoffs. D2 thanks him for the intel and makes to leave, but D1 stops him wondering if anything about him is honest.
D2 seems proud of how much D1 has changed. He’s become a “spy hunter” with “actionable intelligence”. He things D1 should be grateful for helping turn him from a meek nothing into something stronger.
D2 wants to know if Howard is enjoying himself with “his” family. D1 points out that his family hates him, but they hate the new version of him less and less lately. D1 says with a little kindness and paying attention to his family has generated amazing results and D2 should be grateful.
D2 accuses D1 of having feelings for his Emily. Howard denies this. He understands that his is not his life. D2 points out that in all the time they’ve been talking, D1 hasn’t once asked about D1 Emily. He lies and says her condition is unchanged.
He says he’s changing to be more like D1 Howard with “the weakest, saddest, parts of me are just taking hold.” D1 says he does miss his life and his wife. D2 scoffs saying D1 doesn’t really know his Emily. He then brings up the affair Emily was having with Andrei and her spy work.
Howard becomes enraged and says he knew already. He says Andrei wasn’t the first and that he and Emily had worked through the infidelity and the fact that she’d been lying to him about what she did for at the OI. He didn’t know about the specific details, but he knew. He says his other just doesn’t understand caring enough to work on a marriage. “I love her for everything she is and everything she isn’t”.
D2 warns Howard not to get comfortable in his life. Calling it a “vacation rental” he says he’ll be back and Howard will be back in D1 and nothing will have changed.
Breaking and Entering Isn't Romantic But ...
In Dimension One, Baldwin breaks into Greta’s apartment. Baldwin seems sad after killing Oskar. Gretta is annoyed at first, but the pair ends up cuddling after Baldwin admits she wanted to see Gretta and has nowhere else to go.
Quayle joins Aldrich at the Walcott Hotel (Hotel de Rome at Bebelpatz). Quale says people are right to think he’s an idiot and only got his job due to his connections. He says he realizes all the evidence points to him being the mole, but he’s not. He claims he’s responsible for the leaks but was manipulated by Howard Silk who Quayle claims is the real mole.