Awake Series Finale Recap: Green Means Go

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The following recap, by the very definition of the word “recap,” contains major spoilers from the Awake series finale.

It’d be a fool’s errand to ably dissect what just happened in the very final hour of Awake‘s largely outstanding 13-episode run. But it’s definitely an event worthy of a knee-jerk discussion.

PHOTOS | Awake Finale: Britten’s Worlds Collide! Harper Pulls a Gun on [Spoiler]!

Put most simply, the “red” world continued to be very unkind to Detective Britten. Upon waking in the alley, where he had retreated after being shot by Hawkins (Alias‘ Kevin Weisman), Britten was cuffed up and carted away by his diminutive yet dastardly prey. Britten still had some fight in him, however, and used a series of brutal kicks from the back seat to make his abductor crash the car, allowing Britten to flee — though looking awfully suspicious in doing so, bloodied, handcuffed and wagging a gun.

Britten sought refuge — as well as impromptu medical care — from shrink Dr. Lee, whom he them compelled to drive him to the storage facility where Kessel & Co. had stashed heir heroin haul. But when the storage cell turned up empty, prompting Lee to phone 9-1-1, Britten locked up the shrink inside, then summoned partner Vega for a rendezvous.

Vega did his best to hear Britten out, but ultimately led Harper and a capture team to his location, at which point the reality-hopper was locked up in jail.

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Meanwhile, in the “green” world, Britten fared a bit better — if only in that he was free, and not hobbling around, feverish. Instead, partner Bird had uncovered the heroin in the storage locker, with all signs pointing to Kessel. But where was the dirty top cop? Harper, looking to save her own bacon as the walls closed in, had lured her cohort to a seedy motel, where she cuffed him up and promptly put a bullet in his head, leaving no clues behind.

Or so she thought.

Back in the “red” world, an incarcerated Britten, during a visit from his “concerned” captain, realized — thanks to the “Ed Munte” pseudonym showing up on her cell phone ringer — that Harper was in cahoots with Kessel. And had the bulls not come storming in, he quite possibly would have succeeded in choking his son’s killer to death. Instead, Britten seemingly broke down further, first by getting a jailhouse visit from himself, then listening in as Drs. Lee and Adams (competitively and rather amusingly) debated his condition, then being escorted to the “green” world motel murder scene by Vega… in a penguin suit (and I don’t mean tuxedo).

There, Vega made his partner aware of a clue that would connect Harper to the kill — the broken tip of her heel. Capping the wild dream state, Britten got the go-ahead from wife Hannah to nail Harper and good, then found his sleeping “green” self and kinda sorta like “melted” into it. (You had to be there.)

Upon awaking, “green” Britten added a bit of gum-shoe detective work — gleaning that Harper had a regular motel routine with Kessel — to the broken heel clue, landing his boss in the hottest of water (if not on the business end of his pistol).

The rousing, was-I-the-only-one-who-barely-blinked hour was capped by a session between Britten and Dr. Adams, who more fervently than ever argued that this was reality and the “red” world was but a dream. Britten contended that maybe there weren’t any rules, at which point Adams just froze. Literally, stopping midsentence. Her office door then opened into Britten’s home, where downstairs he was greeted by Rex… and then Hannah, and with no rubber band on his wrist.

OK, what?

Check back midday Friday for my debrief with Awake auteur Kyle Killen, who might shed some light on where Season 1 went, and what Season 2 might have looked like. But until then, theorize away! P.S. Any thoughts on what ED MUNTE might be an anagram for? (Update: TVLine reader AJ nailed it with UNMETED aka “Without dimension/measure”.) P.P.S. Here’s the Wiki backstory on the saying “Turtles all the way down.”


Comments (96)

  • Inception. He was having dreams within dreams.

    Comment by AJ – May 24, 2012 09:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have no idea what it means, but it was awesome! He didn’t wake up in the world with his son and wife both alive, so does that mean that this was simply a third dream world (or second, if you think that one of the others was reality)?

    Perhaps Britten’s happy ending comes from a complete mental break where he doesn’t accept that either member of his family is dead.

    Man, I wish this show was coming back.

    Comment by Drew – May 24, 2012 09:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m really hate that this show got canceled. Because BOY DO I HAVE QUESTIONS!!

    Comment by Mark – May 24, 2012 09:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • And yes, it’s tragic that this show was cancelled. It only got more interesting the farther it went. If he wasn’t dreaming maybe he was in some bizarre psychological regression therapy or something.

    Comment by AJ – May 24, 2012 09:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • dreams within dreams. that’s how it would have continued.

    Comment by Michael Sacal – May 24, 2012 09:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah, I think it could have wound up very Inception-like.

      Comment by Kaa – May 25, 2012 06:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Anyone else notice that both Hawkins and Bird told Britten to “be with his boy”?

    I always felt that if either world was going to be real, I wanted the world with his son to be real. Not necessarily because of the plot, but because it just seems more natural. People who lose a spouse are widows/widowers. People who lose their parents are orphans. There is no word to describe someone who lost a child.

    Comment by madhatter360 – May 24, 2012 09:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • With Hawkins’ “be with your boy” comment, when Britten was in his car back seat, practically bleeding to death, Hawkins also said something like, “it won’t be long, or, it’s almost over.” I thought with both of those he meant he was about to finish Britten off, and he could “be with his boy” in death…

      An incredible episode no matter how it’s spun – lots of options, which I like- leaving it up to us, the viewer, for some creative interpretation – I like the “third reality” one I’m hearing, as Britten certainly didn’t look super fulfilled to be with both his son and wife at the end – yes, he said “it’s perfect” but I took that to mean, perfect in that he was, finally, with both of them at the same time, whether that be in “reality” or not. (he had just told his shrink that all he wanted was to be with his family…)

      Comment by Tommy Petersen – May 25, 2012 09:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I was hoping for the red world to conquer. While your logic is indisputable, I felt it would provide a stronger support system, and more room to continue on (notice I did not say ‘start over’).

      Of course, this is also a strong matter of perspectives. You see, I do not have children as of yet.

      Who knows…

      Comment by Claire – May 25, 2012 10:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You forgot to mention that in the 3rd reality/dream, Hannah looks pregnant. It was an emotionally satisfying finale.

    Comment by Yuki – May 24, 2012 09:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • She Is pregnant in real life, so that has nothing to do with the show finale. They tried to hide the bump under a flowy black shirt and they only showed her from straight on.

      Comment by Shannon – May 25, 2012 06:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Maybe Ed Munte is Unmeted? Having no dimensions or measure? Kinda goes along with the turtles comment. Meted is “To find the quantity, dimensions, or capacity of, by any rule
    or standard; to measure.”

    Comment by AJ – May 24, 2012 09:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was happy with the ending. I liked the show, and I really was very pleased that it ended “happy” I’m sure had it been renewed there are stories that could have been written, but I felt like it had the chance to be summed up sort of.

    Comment by Robin – May 24, 2012 09:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hate endings where the user interprets what the story is about……For me that’s not satisfying. I want the creators to do what they do: create and complete, not have something open ended. I’d rather hate the ending than guess and never have the satisfaction of knowing. It defeats the purpose of telling a story.

    Comment by JamJam – May 24, 2012 09:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This wasn’t meant to be an ending to the series. They were instructed to create an ending that could continue into a second season. By NBC’s own rules it is impossible to create a season 1 ending that finishes off the whole series neatly. They decided to end the season with Britten going even further down into his delusion and get further away from reality.

      Comment by cool8man – May 24, 2012 09:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Preach it brother. The writers for a television show don’t make up a first season thinking that it will be their only season. An entire season is filmed, prior to the pilot ever being aired, meaning the Awake’s low ratings had no factor in what the season (series) finale would have been. When it is a season finale the episode is suppose to leave you wanting more for the next season; sadly this will never come for Awake. The final episode was in no way suppose to be a happy ending for Michael, but to be a twist of how much more his life would some how become messed up with getting what he wanted the whole time.

        Comment by DB – May 25, 2012 12:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • DB, actually, in the case of Awake, they found out the show would be cancelled BEFORE they’d written and filmed the last few episodes. Look it up

          Comment by REESE – May 25, 2012 12:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Yet, Killen said that this was the idea for the season finale from the very beginning. There is no way this was written filmed after they were canceled. Remember this was a 2-part episode and it was canceled after last week’s first part aired.

            Comment by bkwrm – May 25, 2012 05:39 AM PDT  
          • There’s an article where Jason specifically says when Kyle did what was supposd to be SEASON finale they had no idea it would be LAST episode.

            Comment by Jennifer – May 25, 2012 05:43 AM PDT  
          • actually i just read an interview with kyle killen on hitfix where he said that it was already in the can by the time the cancellation happened

            Comment by Alan – May 25, 2012 12:53 PM PDT  
          • Nope, all 13 episodes were filmed well before the cancellation.

            Comment by EJ – May 27, 2012 02:10 AM PDT  
        • A few other shows have rarely been picked up by other networks – perhaps Awake is a better fit for CW or Science Fiction Network.

          Comment by Paul – May 25, 2012 09:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I prefer open endings. I like that show runners trust me to fill in what i think happened. I feel like if you watched the show, and are invested in the characters, then you aren’t guessing. You know. You know what they will do next because you know them. Like with Chuck, everyone was so mad that it was an open ending but I didn’t see it as that open because after 5 years, we know Chuck and Sarah, they will end up together. We don’t need to be told everything. Use your imagination!

      Comment by Ava – May 25, 2012 07:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • exactly. i hate this idea that we need to be spoon fed every last detail, to me it sounds like some people are just too lazy to pay attention properly and understand where the ending would go

        Comment by Alan – May 25, 2012 12:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • On the contrary, most stories leave SOMETHING open to interpretation. Part of the fun is thinking for yourself, and then discussing that perspective. But in the episode, the detective does say that maybe he had a dream in a dream.

      But to be clear, the show was cancelled….so perhaps this was the best justice they could do.
      JamJam…is that a name from the Flintstones? lol

      Comment by Claire – May 25, 2012 10:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seems like he created a third reality when he decided he couldn’t accept either of the other two. Dr. Evans was wrong in saying that we can’t change time, you can change time if you are dreaming.

    Comment by cool8man – May 24, 2012 09:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think he was entering a third reality at the end, and we would have explored the world where both his wife and son survived. However, ending that way let us think that Michael got himself a nice, tidy happy ending. I’m happy with that!

    Comment by TV Gord – May 24, 2012 09:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Thats what I was thinking. I believe the the “creators” of the show decided to give Michael AND the fans a nice happy ending considering the show was going to be cancelled. I mean who doesnt love a happy ending? In addition, ending the the show as they did leaves the door open for more to come should they get picked up by another network.

      Comment by Hump-B – May 26, 2012 02:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve not missed a single episode, and I was very disappointed with the ending. I was hoping for an answer but now I don’t know what in the hell is going on. The ending made it all the more confusing. Great show, hated that it got cancelled…….but the best shows always, and I mean ALWAYS do. TV’s not about quality anymore, it about money.

    Comment by Rob Wilson – May 24, 2012 09:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It’s always been about money. When do you suppose it wasn’t about money? And to say all good shows get cancelled? Well, that’s just absurd.

      Comment by TV Gord – May 24, 2012 09:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • No… it’s not THAT absurd. Almost all the good shows do get canceled.

        Comment by John DeMayo – May 24, 2012 10:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • So do almost all the BAD shows. It’s the nature of the beast. If shows didn’t get cancelled, we’d still be watching I’ve Got A Secret, The Danny Kaye Show and Land of the Giants.

          Comment by Rock Golf – May 25, 2012 06:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • agreed.

      Comment by Claire – May 25, 2012 10:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I actually saw it as the reality with his son as the one that ended up being the dream, and since it was that he could manipulate it to include his wife as well and anything else that would have made him happy. I am really going to miss this show!

    Comment by Mel – May 24, 2012 09:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Madhatter360, I love what you said there at the end about there being no word to describe someone who lost a child. This show was wonderful, and I’m very sad to see it end so prematurely.

    Comment by Roger Market – May 24, 2012 09:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That line is straight from Six Feet Under. Sigh.

      Comment by EJ – May 27, 2012 02:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Honestly I was a bit upset. I was hoping that the ending would be Michael waking up from a coma from the accident. So his wife and son are alive and Michael was the one was seriously injured in the accident. O well though.

    Comment by Albert – May 24, 2012 10:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree the ending was VERY disappointing…say goodbye to his wife…but end up wit both?? was they ever in the car accident? what bout his job as a cop?? he can’t work wit those people anymore? the ending just leaves faithful watchers feeling like WTF!!!

      Comment by upset n unhappy – May 26, 2012 07:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That was exactly how I hoped it would end! Further, Michael had solved the mystery of the accident while in his coma and awoke to accuse his boss with all the evidence he had figured out.
      But then with that ending, the show could not be picked up by another network and continue on like I hope it will. I miss it already.

      Comment by Chris Linard – June 2, 2012 11:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Every “Writing 101″ student knows that the weakest possible ending for a plot conundrum is, “It was all a dream!” I can’t believe the writers of this show could possibly disgrace themselves by taking that route, even if the “dream” is gussied up as a “third reality.” I have to believe that the writers took a gamble that somehow, in some venue, they will find a way to explain what actually happened to Brittan, and not leave us with a “Lady or the Tiger” ending. –Ron Pies

    Comment by Ronald Pies – May 24, 2012 10:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think Kyle Killen should wait awhile before revealing anything… just on the off-chance that Netflix or someone else decides to revive the show. If he tells all tomorrow though, I guess that’s it.

    Comment by John DeMayo – May 24, 2012 10:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So happy that this show had some closure. I would’ve really hated seeing this end with a huge cliffhanger.

    Comment by Polly – May 24, 2012 10:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have one question… Did the accident ever happen and if yes, When?????

    Comment by eli – May 24, 2012 10:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t think I’ve seen anyone suggest this, but the last episode dealt *a lot* with time and space; frames freezing, rewinding, time stopping, seeing things even when he wasn’t there, etc. An interpretation (it is, I think, the writer’s stated interpretation) is that this was his subconscious working things out – but it seemed to me that Michael’s “fractures” (or, maybe, his power), was getting bigger. What seemed like a loss of control throughout the episode, I think, actually gave him the insight to swap not just back and forth between the Red & Green worlds, but back in time and space to before the crash (or perhaps to a new dimension).

    I hope that this is where the writers would have taken it; and in season 2, the conflict wouldn’t be between Red or Green (which I don’t think is sustainable), but between the reality of the past and his knowledge of the impending future. In that world, everyone expects him to be *completely* normal all the time; they don’t treat him with kiddie gloves like in the Red & Green worlds. So he’d have to be really slick to play off like everything was fine while also trying to cope with what was *going* to happen (pregnancy, for instance) and catching his crooked boss.

    My 2 cents.

    Comment by AaronM – May 24, 2012 10:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s this simple THE ENTIRE SHOW WAS A DREAM. both realities were part of one crazy dream. When Britain woke up His family was alive, all the stuff that happened was a dream.

    Comment by angrykirby (@angrykirby) – May 24, 2012 11:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I actually prefer that complete cop-out to Killen’s explanation, where he bluntly states one real reality, one dream, and one dream within a dream introduced at the end. Lame.

      Comment by EJ – May 27, 2012 02:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Awake had way too many plot points. Pace of the show was too slow. Vega was poorly cast/acted. To name a few of the reasons why ratings were so poor.

    Watch Person of Interest. MUCH MORE SATISFYING SEASON FINALE, the writing in that show is so much more sophisticated. Pace is excellent Hello, Jonathan Nolan!

    Comment by REESE – May 24, 2012 11:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Except Person of Interest is a show where you can do the laundry for 40 minutes instead of watching it and when you come back, you didn’t miss anything.

      I need a little more than that sometimes.

      Comment by Kaa – May 25, 2012 06:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • When you troll for viewers for a show you like by means of trashing another show which a lot of people appreciated, it makes me not want to watch your show. In fact, it actively turns me off from wanting to watch Person of Interest, even though it’s on my summer to-do list to get caught up with season 1. Also, caps lock is unnecessary. Thank you.

      Comment by Lola – May 25, 2012 07:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think that none of the worlds that we saw in the show were real. I think that in the car crash Michael got hurt and has been in a coma the whole time. The worlds are just his way of working out what happened to him

    Comment by Ski4life20 – May 24, 2012 11:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You think? How boring is that though, from a writing/creative point-of-view: “let’s go through a whole elaborate season of cases and mysteries, and in the end he’s actually just in a coma having a inconsequential dream” ??

      My contention is that one of them was definitely a reality, probably the green one where his boss gets arrested etc, but Britten’s coping mechanism is to not actually COMMIT to one reality, so he creates a third delusion where it’s a happy ending with his wife and son alive, etc….

      Comment by REESE – May 24, 2012 11:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Also known as Life On Mars, the American version.

      Comment by Rock Golf – May 25, 2012 06:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • There already was an Anerican version, which sucked–especially the finale. This show did the premise potential much better.

        Comment by Tammy – May 25, 2012 06:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My first interpretation of the ending was that both realities were in fact real to him, but since he made everything right and restored justice to those involved in the murder of his son/wife, the universe gave him back his family.

    But then I am looking back now and realize the last point we see him at in the “red” reality is in a jail cell after he chokes out Cpt. Harper after he fails to provide evidence when he storage locker was empty and got turned in for the accused murder of Detective Bird.

    So… He never brang anyone to justice in the “red” reality because Hawkins was still alive after the car crash, and Cpt. Keslar and Harper were too. Everyone in the “red” reality thought he was crazy and that was that.

    He only cleared his name in the “green” reality and only justice was served there. I am starting to think that the “red” reality is the truth and he fabricated his elaborate success in the “green” world by bringing down all “the bad guys” as a scapegoat to his ultimate reality that they got away with it and there’s nothing he can do about it.


    Comment by Taylor – May 25, 2012 01:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • WOW! Really interesting thoughts! Kind of depressing, but I like your interpretation. When he was in jail, he seemed to be ready to fall asleep when the guard came to get him for his visitor. I wondered if a dream started then since that’s when all the real crazy started to happen.

      Comment by Cyndi – May 25, 2012 09:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Dude! I’m so with you in this theory… I really think that when he’s about to sleep in the jail and he the sound of the guard, makes him open his eyes, I think in that exactly moment he starts to dream, until the end of the episode. And just one opinion, I think that Michael makes that “success mission” in green world (what I think, it’s the unreal one), just to comfort itself for being failed in the red one, trying to take revenge of his son’s dead, smothering Cpt. Harper. In the end, I’m so upset because NBC it’s not precisely known by making good TV shows, in fact, I think that Awake would be an excellent option in the future, but we’ll never know that. Hope another network acquire it in order to see 2nd season. :(

      Comment by Carlos G. Rapalino (@Rapalino) – May 25, 2012 08:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Finale was a huge disappointment. Such a brilliant device — story in which at any giving moment everything could be explained by ether concept of person living it two worlds, or person suffering from a delusion and paranoia in one of those worlds. The brilliancy of the idea in it’s clarity. Now everything is flooded with layers of metaphysical, surreal visions, mystical dreams introductions of other worlds… all that is taking away from simple and mind-bending storytelling device.

    Comment by Pasha Shapiro – May 25, 2012 02:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think the accident was real, but it wasn’t his son or his wife who died, but it was the detective himself who wound up in a coma, and we are seeing his attempts at creating sense out of what happened. Both “realities” were his own creation…as was the “third” where he was reunited with his family. Hence…the turtles title. Dreams on top of dreams.

    In reality, I would like to think both his wife and son survived the crash and take turns watching over him in a coma in the hospital and he’s piecing together parts of their lives into his “dreams”.

    Comment by Ken – May 25, 2012 03:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My problem with the idea that he’s in a coma and everything has been a dream while his wife and son visit him at the hospital and whatever is that it makes the show far too much like Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes. I’d like to think that this was a bit more original than that.

    Comment by Michael Sacal – May 25, 2012 04:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Personally, and I wondered this for a while, I think it’s possible that it was Michael (Detective Britten) who died in a car accident.

    The red and green worlds represent purgatory where it is necessary for Britten to confront his unfinished business before he can move onto heaven – which is the third reality.


    For a more science fiction explanation, it could also be that Britten’s conciousness has become detached in time. Therefore every reality is real and Britten’s mind is just jumping between each alternate reality.

    At the end he realises that he can jump into a reality where both his son and wife survived, and thus does this.

    Comment by Paul Penna – May 25, 2012 05:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Issacs has alreadydismissed science fiction over at ew.

      • In our pre-show chat, Isaacs said this wasn’t a sci-fi show. “One of those worlds is a dream,” he said. “It’s not a rip in the fabric of time. It’s not string theory. It was nothing more or less extraordinary than a man who had been in a terrible car crash and could not bear to lose either his wife or his son, so he unconsciously constructed a whole universe in his head. It is a man who is teetering under the weight of this psychological denial.” So I wouldn’t read too much into Britten’s time travel comment to Dr. Evans, though perhaps it’s what planted the seed for him to jump to a time when they could all be together in the dream.

      Comment by Michael Sacal – May 25, 2012 07:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • there is no doubt in my mind that there are to many people who dont get the magic of story telling harping on about closure and happy endings great stories dont need forced happy endings there is like a great climax to a story asking the audience to make there own mind up that ending was a cliffhanger i think britton has gone back in time before his accident it was a life on mars rip off but enjoyable in places but happy endings what a bore

    Comment by mick minas – May 25, 2012 05:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I take Kyle Killen at his word. This has always been a series where one of the worlds was always real and the other always a dream. His son was real. His wife was not.

    Comment by Rock Golf – May 25, 2012 06:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The way he shut his eyes in that last scene, maybe he is about to wake up somewhere else?

    Comment by MOhammed Baig – May 25, 2012 06:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Somewhere entirely new? somewhere real?

      Comment by MOhammed Baig – May 25, 2012 06:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Every time michael closed his eyes the option was there for the writers to completely change the story line. I watched each and every episode religiously for that very reason.(DVR) The show was so so UNPREDICTABLE!!!!! I have never took the time to read or comment on a TV show until right now. Just reading the varying commments and theories that “we” are posting here says it all. It is my view that there was an happy ending given to us but one never knows what to expect when Michael closes his eyes again!! I really loved this show. Its a dog gone shame.

      Comment by Hump-B – May 26, 2012 03:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My interpretation of the ending is that — given that the writers assumed they might get a second season — Michael still hadn’t solved the entire mystery of the what and why of the accident, and of course, the mystery of who died. I think the accident was utterly real, but Michael had only solved PART of the mystery (the conspiracy) and in Season 2 we might have found out there was more to it than that. In any case, his conflating of the two worlds was a mental construct of his – a workspace so that he could keep working on the problem. That was my interpretation of his uncertain look at the end: he knew this wasn’t a happy ending. He knew the blended world wasn’t real, but rather something he chose so that he could continue gaining insights into reality.

    Which is… pretty deep!

    So, I’m thinking Season 2 would have taken place in the blended worlds… which we would understand to not be real. I would imagine in Season 2, he would have been visiting both shrinks (maybe as a team!) and insisting that he was living in a dream, while the puzzled shrinks would be saying “No, this is reality.” Of course, Michael being the hero, his appraisal would be correct… or WOULD it? (Therein would lie the disorienting aspects of Season 2.)

    Wonderful, fascinating (if convoluted) show. I think people will be talking about it for years.

    Comment by Kaa – May 25, 2012 06:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • In five years it wouldn’t surprise me if network tv is nothing but reality shows and talent competitions. Thank goodness for cable.

    Comment by Beckstle – May 25, 2012 06:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh and PS – cancelled or no… Jason Isaacs MUST be Emmy nominated (at the very least) for his work on this.

    Comment by Kaa – May 25, 2012 06:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Is everyone missing the major error with the green world being reality? One could believe the red world was just his subconscious breaking down the green world and helping him figure out what happened, but what about Kessel’s murder?

    All of the sudden he becomes all-knowing in an event he didn’t witness in what is supposed to be reality, knowing details he couldn’t have put together ( the heel). He becomes omnipotent, and that means that something is seriously wrong withhe green world.
    I think the red world had a better chance of being real, as it isn’t as happy-go-lucky with everything turning out so perfectly. The red world leaves him a victim of the truth, losing a son, but with a pregnancy as well.

    In order to cope with the harsh reality of the red world, he lapses into the green world and then explores the idea of another reality which he chooses.

    Comment by Jobe – May 25, 2012 06:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Matt, I can’t wait for your follow-up with Kyle Killen. I loved the show and I can’t wait to hear what his vision was. Also, kudos to Jason Isaacs. He did a great job!

    Comment by Luminosity – May 25, 2012 07:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The pace of the finale was frenetic, which leads me to believe the ending was Britten’s dream world and reality collapsing in on one another. He was being forced to choose one world as real, and knowing this meant losing one, his mind crashed allowing him a new world in which both were alive. I always thought ultimately the world with Rex alive was the real world. It was the one in which the least amount had changed after the accident, whereas in the Hannah world, he had a new partner, plans to move to Portland, a grandchild on the way etc. It seemed the more ‘invented’ world. I’m sad the show is gone as I thought Jason Isaacs was brilliant, the creative thread of the show inventive, and it was shot beautifully. It seems less and less that smart television is being written on the broadcast networks, and that the best storytelling is done on cable where there are less ‘rules’ to hamstring writers and creators. It’s too bad Awake did not start out as a creation on HBO, AMC or the like where it might have been given more of a chance to tell its story without the din of all-important advertiser demos.

    Comment by Ron – May 25, 2012 08:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This is so true. I really wish that the producers had sold this show to a cable network.

      Comment by Chester – May 25, 2012 08:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i love the idea that he might have been dead the whole time. and the reality is he had to work out his problems before going to his third reality which is his heaven…although the red reality does seem more legit, because he doesnt know everything there.

    Comment by croncho – May 25, 2012 08:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Haven’t watched the finale (boo) but I had a feeling that a third world would come into play be it him in a coma (such as in Life on Mars) or his psyche breaking further since, in actuality, both his wife and son perished and these other realities are his own coping mechanism for now.

    The show should have been sold to a cable channel rather than network where, more than likely, it would have been more successful and had a better chance at a second series (hopefully Isaacs’ Case Histories will get a second series on the BBC).

    Comment by Barb – May 25, 2012 08:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved the show, and also wish it was coming back…but maybe like he said he was dreaming and in that dream he was dreaming, the third world. But maybe the whole series was him dreaming…that at the end was him finally waking up from what would be the worse nightmare ever! but i guess we will never know.

    Comment by Llauren – May 25, 2012 10:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • All I can say is that even though the show was cancelled I do not feel that I wasted one minute by watching it. It was well written, well acted and I am glad that I was able to enjoy the time I spent trying to figure the plot out. A great mystery for sure!

    Comment by Lynda – May 25, 2012 11:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I concur. Not one minute wasted.

      Comment by Hump-B – May 26, 2012 03:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • To me this is simple. It was all a dream. Both lives. He even suggests that to Dr. Adams – and that’s when she froze and the door opened. He woke up w/no cuts/bruises – no wrist bands. Son and Wife there. This either means no one died in the accident or there was no accident at all. Could it have been something more? Sure the writers can do anything. If it had not cancelled they could take the story in many different directions. One where his dreams help him solve cases like they did throughout the sean, but that reminds me Medium which was also on NBC and picked up by CBS before it was cancelled. I think the bigger question here is — what in the heck is wrong with NBC cancelling such a fabulous drama show.

    Comment by deb – May 25, 2012 12:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think he died in the accident and that is his heaven

    Comment by bob – May 25, 2012 04:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Awake episode 113 –Awake finale was awful! What a crappy ending to the series! Total cop-out to say that both red and green were all just an elaborate bad dream. Then Michael gets to go to third “reality” where both wife and son are alive. Extreme let down for the audience.

    It would have been a lot more powerful to say that all three “realities” were fantasies and that in the “real” world both wife and son are dead (either through accident or homicide)and that Michael is all alone and cannot deal with his grief so he creates these detailed dreams.

    If this happy ending/ happy family is what Killen and the writers intended all along, then I’m not surprised that the series was cancelled. Only good thing about Awake was Jason Isaacs amazing acting.

    Comment by SteveR – May 25, 2012 06:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Is there any talk of or hope for Awake being picked up by another network? Say Syfy, another NBC venue?

    Comment by Emilio – May 26, 2012 11:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The simplest explanation is that there never was a conspiracy or an accident, and that both red and green were simply elaborate dreams. Then he woke up. The end.

    Comment by Temis – May 26, 2012 01:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Actually Killen (the writer) said that he didn’t dream the whole thing. The world with Rex and Hannah was a third dream world , showing that his psyche was fracturing even more .

      Comment by Emmet – July 28, 2012 12:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by MARY – May 26, 2012 06:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This was a great show. I really though it was well written and very interesting. The episode before the finale was probably the most genius, IMHO. Jason Isaacs should get an Emmy, but he won’t since the show was cancelled.

    The fact that it was cancelled isn’t surprising because NBC (Universal, really) has burned me so many times. Whether on Syfy or NBC, I never trust seeing a show I like continue. It’s exactly why I am not wasting my time with Touch.

    Comment by Nate Fish (@natefish79) – May 28, 2012 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Awake is (was) the only show worthy of replacing “Lost” and one of the few worthy of my time. The other outstanding show is “Prime Suspect” with Maria Bello and I’m wondering what happened to it. Both shows have outstanding, complex, interesting characters. They both have amazing plots that keep your attention and make you think. I like character driven shows with intricate plots that make you think about them long after you’ve watched. I wish NBC would judge shows on their merit more than how much money they bring in at a given moment. AWAKE was an intriguing show and I think anyone who started to watch the show well into the season or even the next season would not be completely lost by what was going on – which is why I think they cancelled it – the network execs probably felt that if they didn’t get a large audience right off the bat no one would watch it. I really hope some other network will pick it up. There are a lot of ‘good’ shows out there but this one was great and deserves to be continued.

    Comment by Blue Skies – May 30, 2012 12:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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