With both Peter and Howard Prime in a compromising position this episode as well as Mira's planned raid of the prison, it was always going to be an exciting hour but I'm not quite sure whether I was anticipating this much to happen, in what was arguably the best episode of the season thus so far. It's a gamechanger in every sense of the word, falling perfectly at that halfway point that pushes both Peter Alpha and Howard Alpha to a breaking point on both worlds. We'll start with the action on Earth Alpha first before moving onto Earth Prime.
The stage-setting was bound to pay off eventually and Shadow Puppets does so in style. With their backs to the wall, Howard Prime and Peter Alpha find themselves having to come up with a plan to pay off Lambert before he can be paid by Naya. It's an exciting race against the clock that sees Naya firmly fall into the belief that both Howard and Peter are working together, although for different reasons. She thinks that it was Howard who killed Aldrich to cover for Peter, and she knows that Peter has been feeding her false information on the identity of Shadow, thanks to Emily, who unknowingly is putting her husband - or someone who she believes to be her husband, in danger.
This was full of suspense and almost led to Peter shooting himself with the gun that Howard stored in the bathroom. It wasn't quite unpredictable as I wouldn't have expected Peter to go through with it given the sort of character he is, but the episode did a good job at escalating the situation, injecting plenty of tension into the mix and almost pushing him over the edge completely. It turns out that once again Peter's luck is there to help him, as a mole reveals herself to him so she can take the fall as Shadow for Clare. It's clear that there is more that Peter has to do for the cause, and they aren't just done with him yet. He'll take the fall when they want him to take the fall.
Clare once again comes face to face with Spencer, and the two reconnect without Peter's knowledge. In fact, Clare doesn't know just how close Peter came to either ratting her out, killing himself or getting caught, and that could have changed things, but for now, she ended up sleeping with Spencer as the two reconnect their old feelings that they shared. Presumably this will lead to greater conflict between her and Peter in the future as her loyalties are continuously questioned.
Much of the build-up of the last few episodes was spent pushing Howard Alpha into a point where he would have to be forced to take a life, or do something that he wouldn't do but his other would. It's a ruthless moment, and although it is a bit far fetched that he would remain undetected by Mira's team given how effective they were at dispatching the other inmates during their prison raid, he at least doesn't remain completely hidden. As if to highlight the differences between the two Howards in this chapter we see Howard Prime return to Howard Alpha's old position, where he does a lousy job at pretending to be the Howard he's supposed to be and blows his cover. Both Howards are pushed into positions that they aren't particularly keen on being in, with Howard Prime offering up no solution for Peter Alpha for once when he always seemed to be in control.
It was good to learn a little bit more about Mira's motivations in this chapter and her connection to Yanek. Yanek's been a key player in helping Howard Alpha try to understand himself and what makes him different from his other all this time. His point eventually hits home a bit later than Yanek intended, but it got through to Howard Alpha all the same. Those who don't fight during wartime are doomed to die at the hands who do. It's interesting to learn a little bit more about his involvement in the creation of the Prime world and how he's been investigating it, and it's also interesting to learn his connection that he shared with his Others when they first met. Presumably the next episode will delve more into the past now that this new information has come to life and Yanek may play a broader involvement in things than first appeared, especially now that the Lamberts from both worlds are off the table.
There was also an interesting observation in regards to Peter Prime about the VHS tapes of the same Rugby game but from two different worlds that he was able to get a copy of in this episode, and how one slight change can affect everything. Peter Prime realised that his actions at the game caused the two worlds to seperate - which would suggest Peter Alpha's importance to Indigo. He's obsessively gone through the tapes and is the first to notice that they're stolen. This only adds to the confirmation that he's a key player in the grand scheme of things, and it may end up being vital to the future of both worlds that Peter Alpha didn't end up taking his own life.
Yanek is not the only one who has escaped prison as Howard Alpha got out too, thanks to the help of Emily Prime. But with Emily's slashed tyres, her car isn't going anywhere fast. It's up to them to come up with an escape plan before it's too late, and it'll be as ever, interesting to see how they get out of this situation in tomorrow's episode.