The episode is directed by veteran filmmaker Hanelle M. Culpepperer (The Flash, Gotham, Star Trek:Discovery).
No Strings Attached is written by Counterpart Staff Writer Maegan Houang and is the second episode of the series credited to her.
In Dimension Two, the remaining members of Management listen to Mira’s message on each of their individual cases.
D2 Volker points out that the message came through Juma’s case. Ilse wonders how Mira found the case. Martin says “The same way she’ll find us if we don’t cooperate.” He suggests they follow through with the meeting and “confront this once and for all”. Ilse says they’ll tell “our neighbors” it’s time to meet. Volker doubts they’ll open the doors to The Crossing. Martin says they’ll need to offer something their others want.
In Dimension Two, D1’s Ambassador Sy (Ramon De Ocampo) is given a package, a message for Management in his world, and returned through the crossing. He’s searched on the other side and met by D1 Head of Diplomacy Roland Fancher. Sy informs him that D2 Management want to meet.
Lies and Death
Ten years ago in Dimension One, Ian Shaw (known at the time as Wesley Pierce) is hooded and led to the dead body of his wife Nomi (Krissi Bohn). They blame “Wesley” for her death because he told her about the Office of Interchange and The Crossing (See Shadow Puppets). The agent in charge explains that they only came to talk to Nomi, but she panicked and ran, fell down and died.
To clean up the mess, the agent sold “Wesley” into a new life as Ian Shaw of Dimension Two. They give him a new passport and customs documents. They apologize about the name change. Apparently they would have inserted him into D2 “Wesley's" life but he didn’t make it through The Flu. It’s explained that the D2 OI is desperately in need of Housekeeping Agents and are willing to pay well for D1 defectors. “Wesley” doesn’t want to go. He's told he “belongs” to the job. He’s warned that if he should ever tell anyone else or try to run from the job, it will kill him and anyone he holds dear.
In the present in D2, Yorke still has Ian setting up a trap for Emily Burton Silk. They’re on the road to Echo when Emily calls to check in. He lies and says he’s alone. She directs him to the freight entrance around the back at Echo and informs him that Howard is with her. Yorke tells Ian he’s doing the right thing. Ian says, “Fuck you.”
At the D1 OI, Peter Quayle is debriefed over the death of his assistant Milla (See Shadow Puppets). He lies and says that he and Milla had been having an affair for five years, since Quayle’s wedding to Clare. He says Claude Lambert told him that Milla was the spy known as Shadow.
Quayle claims he wanted to take care of the matter himself and asked Howard Silk to get a gun for Quayle to use. He says he only wished he would have gotten to Milla sooner. Behind a two-way mirror, other Strategy employees mock Quayle as “the golden boy” and revel in the fact that his career is over at the OI. Naya Temple watches Quayle and frowns.
Crisis of Faith
Naya Temple performs the Salat or daily prayers in her office but seems distracted. She’s interrupted by Housekeeping agent Nicole who reports that they found hidden caches of OI documents and other evidence at Milla’s home. Nicole is convinced that Milla was the mole known as Shadow.
Nicole points out that Roland Fancher is going to “hit the ceiling” when he finds out they’re holding his son-in-law. Naya says they should send Quayle home under guard, house arrest.
Quayle arrives home still wearing his bloody clothes. He tells Clare that the old belief that your life flashes before your eyes just before death is not true. When he was sure he was going to die, the only memory Quayle got was of the first time baby Spencer smiled at him. He and Clare had been trying for ages to get the baby to smile. It happened when Quayle returned from a trip and held the baby. Her face just lit up.
He then confronts Clare about Milla’s death. Clare says she didn’t know that was the plan but admits Indigo placed Milla close to Quayle on purpose and that Milla was responsible for both Lambert’s death and the suicide of Edgar Brandt (See Inside Out). Quayle says Milla was shaking and didn’t want to die but did it anyway for Indigo’s cause.
Quayle wants to know why Milla was expendable and he is not. Clare says it’s because he is important.
In an OI interrogation room, Naya Temple asks D2 Howard if he prays. He says he’s not religious. She says she performs Salat every day. She doesn’t ask for answers because she’s smart enough to know that if she asks for something it’s not going to magically appear. Instead she asks for clarity, that she’s on the right path and should trust her instincts.
Howard points out that Naya knows that he didn’t kill anyone. Naya apparently believes Quayle’s story mainly because the gun Howard stole was not the weapon that killed Claude Lambert. She wonder’s why Quayle didn’t come to her instead of Howard but says she guesses Quayle wanted to handle it himself. D2 Howard pretends not to know what she’s talking about and she explains about Milla.
Naya says she was warned, after being read in on The Crossing, that she would wonder about that world and her other. She says she didn’t wonder about her other. She wondered about God and the implications of two Meccas. In the end, she decided that God made all things meaning he made both worlds and both Meccas and hears the prayers from both.
She says there can be two truths and she sees two truths in Howard. One truth is that he is just an innocent nobody that was dragged into a world of intrigue by his wife and circumstance. She says she doesn’t yet know the second truth about Howard, but she knows in her heart that it’s there.
Naya says D1 Emily is coming in to talk about Milla and says Howard and Emily can return home once she’s done. Naya says they’ll be guarded. Howard wants to know why and Naya says it’s because she feels that she should trust him, but she doesn’t.
Happy Quayle/Sad Quayle
Inside Echo in D2, Peter Quayle has found a monitor with a VCR attached. He mumbles quotes from the ’95 Courage League Division Two playoff final between Saracens and Wakefield. Quayle walks over Osman’s dead body on his way to his viewing room. Once there, he sets up the new monitor next to the existing TV. He puts in both the D1 and D2 versions of the rugby match and starts playback on both. D2 Peter Quayle has never looked happier.
D2 Emily questions D1 Howard about Echo. He explains that they extracted memories. He seems relieved that she’s there, but she says she wasn’t actually looking for him. She had been following Mira. Howard figures out that Osman put a tracker in his pills (See Something Borrowed) to lead Mira to Echo.
In D1, Clare is cleaning up her apartment when she focuses on the couch where she and Spencer made love the night before. She notes that Peter left her a message on her phone but doesn’t check it.
Roland Fancher arrives and goes straight into Quayle’s room. Fancher has come to collect him because the office has called them in. Fancher questions his daughter about the affair with Milla. Clare doesn’t respond.
Fancher is now suspicious of Clare and Peter’s car accident (SeeNo Man's Land) saying the new information about Milla in Peter’s confession “lines up pretty nicely”. Quayle says one had nothing to do with the other.
Fancher ignores him and asks Clare again if she knew about the affair. She tells him to stay out of it.
Fancher tears into Quayle saying that his affair makes Fancher and Clare look bad. He outlines how he is responsible for the entirety of Quayle’s successful rise at the OI, endorsing his promotion and bringing him on high-level Diplomacy meetings and meetings with Management. Fancher says he did all that because Clare loved him and Fancher thought his daughter should be with a decent man. He says Quayle didn’t deserve any of the success.
Fancher then turns his ire on his daughter asking how she could let her husband run around. He laments the fact Clare didn’t leave Peter and bring the baby home to live with Fancher and his wife. He says he thought he raised Clare to be stronger, not to run around after little men and clean up after their messes.
Clare has had enough. She verbally pounces on her father. She says he doesn’t know her at all. Clare believes her father sees her for who he wants her to be and then, when she falls short of some false expectation, she’s to blame. Clare says she is no longer the little girl he used to take skiing and loved romance novels and wore a lot of pink.
Clare says she is standing in the life she built for herself. “Don’t you dare walk in here and judge me for the choices I made, the man I chose to marry.” Quailed, Roland leaves. Peter looks impressed and frightened at Clare’s declaration.
On the drive to the OI, Fancher explains that Ambassador Sy has returned but then launches into more Quayle bashing pointing out that everything Peter does reflects badly on him. Peter says he’ll fix it. Roland says he can start by leaving Clare. He says Clare is too devoted to leave and doesn’t know what’s best for her because, if she did, she would have left Peter a long time ago.
Fancher says Clare has changed. He relates a story from primary school when other children would make fun of the way Clare drew the letter S. He says she didn’t care and would laugh it off. She says Clare doesn’t laugh anymore. She smiles, but Fancher says he can tell she is not happy. He says Peter is never going to change and neither is Clare. Fancher begs Peter to leave her so she can be herself again.
D1 Emily arrives at the Office of Interchange. She’s met by Nicole and led through the Strategy Bullpen. She says she believes she remembers it. Naya and Nicole take Emily to view Milla’s body. They want to know if this is Shadow. Emily says it could be. She remembers the dark hair and that Shadow had a close connection to Peter Quayle. She remembers that there were Shadow documents that came directly from his department, even his desk. She doesn’t remember anything else. Naya thanks her and warns her that Lambert was killed and she may be in danger as Indigo reacts to Milla’s death. Naya arranges for Emily to be guarded.
Spencer calls Clare and asks that she meet him at Lichterfelde West railway station in an hour. Clare complies. He’s waiting outside and she says she’s glad he called. He says they’re going to meet some friends.
They arrive at a storage facility and find several Indigo agents moving out boxes and storing them in SUVs. One of the agents questions why Clare is here and snidely suggests she has other work to do. Spencer says it was his call.
Clare recognizes several of her former Indigo students Amelia, Mikael, and Carrie. She marvels that they’ve all been together this whole time. Spencer explains that their placements didn’t require isolation like Clare’s did. He says they were lucky.
Amelia points out that while they had each other, Clare got the glory.
Clare also sees a girl named Ethel, Clare took a particular interest in Ethel back at the school (See The Sincerest Form of Flattery). Ethel says “It’s an honor to see you” with a sense of awe and reverence.
Spencer explains that they have to move everything because the facility is rented in Milla's name and the OI is on to her and will soon find the paper trail. The boxes are metal with warning labels and glowing screens embedded in them. The labels identify the contents as HHV-3 Genbank X04370 and carry a biohazard symbol. The green and yellow numbers and letters are temperature readouts. SET -21.0 °C and ACT -21.3 °C.
- EDITOR'S NOTE: The National Center for Biotechnology Information lists Genbank X04370 as "Human herpesvirus 3 (strain Dumas)". HHV-3 causes Chicken Pox and Shingles. HHV-3 is also known as "varicella-zoster virus".
Spencer says this is for Indigo’s last steps. He says Mira is currently gathering Management together and Spencer’s cell has to be ready. Clare asks what they’re getting ready for. Spencer doesn’t answer.
Later on the ride back to the station, Spencer says he brought Clare out because he thought she might want to see the others after their talk about the good old days (See Shadow Puppets). He wanted Clare to know she's not alone because their loyalty to Indigo and what Mira built means she's surrounded by friends even when she can't see them.
Clare explains that she heard Pope on tape talking to Lambert about Mira being responsible for her parents' death (See Point of Departure). Spencer is incredulous. Clare says she Mira killed her parents to make Clare hate Dimension One. Spencer justifies their deaths by saying that Dimension One killed millions. He says a child can't understand "millions" so Mira had to make it personal. He then laments that his parents gave him away to Indigo like sending him off to summer camp.
Clare is struggling with the fact she's revered as a hero among the Indigo because she killed her other with her bare hands and then used her life like a game piece. She wonders if they're not really the heroes. Spencer pulls the car over and says Clare killed a nobody housewife that would have never amounted to anything in any world. He says Dimension One has done so many cruel horrible things and he's grateful to be the one chosen to right those wrongs. Clare pretends to agree with him and apologizes for doubting.
At the station, they kiss and he promises that once Indigo's final steps are over they'll be free forever and get to be themselves. Clare wonders what happens then.
Clare heads into the station and finally listens to Peter Quayle's phone message. His voice seems sincere when he says that he loves Clare.
Howard and Emily
D1 Howard explains to D2 Emily that Yanek ran Echo but was also a prisoner. Howard explains what he knows about Yanek and the other scientists who were first to experiment with The Crossing. Emily notices a picture of Yanek and his daughter and immediately recognizes her as Mira.
Emily talks through her thinking on Mira’s assault on Echo. She says it’s “not just a little girl looking for her daddy.” She asks Howard why Yanek was a prisoner. Howard relates what Yanek said, that he was paying penance for a crime committed long ago.
Emily speculates that the scientists who knew about the crossing from the beginning might be Management and that Mira’s father is one of them. She said it would explain why they have to hide their faces.
Howard is stunned by the thought that everything that’s happened to him, the Indigo School, the murders at the OI and Echo all stem from a “family squabble on the fourth floor”.
Emily says she’s out of her depth. Howard says he’s felt that way since the whole thing began.
Ian calls. He’s close. Emily apologizes for calling Ian but says he’s the only one she can trust. Howard says he won’t go back into anyone’s custody. She says she understands and will tell Ian.
In Dimension One, D2 Howard stops Peter Quayle in the Strategy Bullpen. Quayle tries to beg off, but Howard insists. He says Naya Temple has both of them figured out and Howard needs to speak to Clare to find out what Indigo is going to do or Temple will bring them both down. Quayle doesn’t commit to anything.
D2 Howard and D1 Emily meet up in the OI tunnel and are driven with an escort back to their apartment.
Emily apologizes for bringing Howard into everything. Howard questions if Emily told Naya Temple about meeting with Lambert. Emily gets frustrated. Howard says he wishes she would let him in so he could help her remember.
She agrees and whips out a file full of her 18 co-workers killed during the Indigo attack on the OI, “every single one of them a member of my team.” She says she’s been staring at the faces all week, allies and friends, all dead. She says Howard is the only one she has left and she needs something to job her memory so she can piece it all together before something awful happens again.
Naya Temple Does Not Play
Peter Quayle and Naya Temple are called into the same meeting with D1 Head of Diplomacy Roland Fancher.
Fancher explains that the meeting is secret, not on the books, it never happened. He brings them up to speed on the return of Ambassador Sy and the message he brought with him. D2 Management is requesting a face-to-face with D1 Management at an undisclosed location in Dimension Two. It would be the first in-person meeting between the two groups in decades.
Naya questions why Peter Quayle is in the meeting. Fancher points out that he’s Deputy Director of Strategy. Naya says Quayle’s judgement is suspect. She runs down the facts, Peter Quayle let a spy endanger his office and the entire OI. She suggests that keeping Quayle involved could mean Management is walking straight into an Indigo trap.
Fancher is offended but says he won’t defend Peter’s “personal antics”. Naya want’s Quayle escorted out. Fancher reminds her that Peter exposed and killed Milla. Naya counters that it took him five years. Fancher balks saying it’s an inappropriate forum in which to have this conversation. Naya suggests he’s only saying that because it involves Fancher’s son-in-law. Fancher says that Peter’s job title has nothing to do with the fact that he’s married to Clare.
Naya digs in. She says she understands that the OI thrives on an “inside way” of dealing with things. She guesses Fancher would call it “loyalty”. Fancher is angry, he retorts that “loyalty is the pillar of our work here” and “there are foxes in the henhouse”. He says they need to defend the institution.
Naya says she’s been watching long enough to know that they’re not protecting the institution. They’re protecting the people hiding behind it. “People who look like you, act like you and prey on the blindness of the entire system.”
Naya says she doesn’t look like them and lays out some facts, “There aren’t just foxes in your henhouse. You are living in a henhouse built by foxes.” She warns that, if they don’t wake up, there will soon be no hens left.
Fancher moves to sidebar the discussion saying Naya is out of line. Quayle says no. He says Naya is right that they are completely blind to the people close to them. He says it happened to him and people got hurt and he didn’t do the right thing and “bring her in”. Instead, he tried to protect himself, his job, his status. Quayle says this failing means that he can no longer work for the OI. He says he’s the liability and quitting is the only way to ensure everyone else stays safe.
Standoff at Echo
D2 Emily and D1 Howard emerge from Echo’s back door. They see not one but two cars approaching. She realizes Ian lied to her. Ian and Yorke come from one car, two gunmen exit the other. Emily draws her weapon and the gunmen go on high alert. Ian tries to calm the situation pointing out that they’re all on the same side. Emily says it doesn’t fell that way from where she’s standing.
Yorke says Emily has done some great work tracking down Mira and upstairs wants to know what she’s learned. Emily speculates that she’s learned to much and now “upstairs” are trying to put a lid on it. Yorke says that’s not the case and asks her to holster her weapon. Emily says she came out to do the mission they sent her on. Yorke says he’ll help with that and she can bring Howard.
Howard says no. He steps in front of Emily and says he’s not going back. The gunmen raise their weapons on Howard. Yorke orders them to keep their guns on Emily. Ian says it’s not about Howard. Howard agrees and says it’s never been about him. Yorke tells him to step aside. Howard refuses and says they need to let Emily and him go. Yorke says they can just take Howard out because no one gives a shit about him. One of the gunmen targets Howard.
Emily pleads with Ian who draws his weapon and points it at Yorke. Yorke orders one of his men to “put ‘em down.” Emily fires at one of the gunmen. She is struck in the chest. Ian takes out two gunmen and beings wrestling with Yorke. Emily is wearing a bulletproof vest, but is still stunned by the impact and struggles to reach her gun. Howard appears to be gut shot. Emily manages to get her weapon and shoot one of the other gunmen who is getting to his feet.
Ian is losing, but he manages to grab a nearby weapon and shoots Yorke. Ian turns around to find Emily and Howard are already driving away.
Emily scolds Howard for placing himself in front of her and into harm’s way. Howard examines his bullet wound.
D2 Howard walks out of his counterpart’s apartment in D1 and tells the guards that he’s going to the store. He sets off and two guards follow. Howard gets ahead of them, changes hats, takes off his coat in the train station and loses those following him.
Peter Quayle returns home and informs Clare that he quit. He says they have to run because, now that he quit his job, he’s not important anymore and they’re no longer safe from Indigo.
Clare points out that OI guards are watching the house. Peter’s already taken care of them with the same Fentanyl gel that they used on Lambert. Clare says there’s nowhere to go because they would be found at hotels or safe houses. Peter says he doesn’t know. He just knows that if they don’t run, they’ll die.
Peter says he never made Clare choose between Indigo and him because he knew which one she would pick. He says he’s leaving and taking baby Spencer and wants his family to stay together and asks her again to come with him.
D2 Howard makes it to the Quayle’s apartment. He finds the OI guards unconscious and notices the red marks on their hands where the Fentanyl gel was applied. He goes inside and finds the apartment deserted.
Clare and Peter drive through the night to Potsdam. Clare’s taken him to the D1 version of the Indigo school where she grew up. She says they’ll be safe there.