Awake Finale Review: A Visitor From The Other Side

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"Turtles All the Way Down" turned the entire concept of Awake on its head, while leaving just enough there for both a satisfying series finale and season finale. It's just too bad we're stuck with it being the former.

Britten's Held Captive

We all wondered how Michael would work his way out of the perilous positions he put himself in last week, and he did it in a way I never would have guessed: changing the rules of the game.

For the entire series Michael has operated on the sole concept of red and green. One is real and one isn’t, and in order to make progress and move on as a person he needs to accept that only one is real. By closing the door on one reality he will need to say goodbye to one of his loved ones. It’s one of the biggest roadblocks he’s had for making progress: letting someone go.

But to avenge his family on one side, Michael opens himself up to the possibility that only green is real so he can finally nail Captain Harper for her role in the conspiracy. He breaks off from that part in an emotionally laden final scene with Hannah.

However, for all the acceptance Michael ultimately works towards afterwards, he wasn’t ready to give up seeing them both. So he goes back to the mantra he had in the premiere, that he’s not sure which world is real. You can literally watch as Michael begins to talk himself into ambiguity about whether Green is real.

Michael is giving himself the one thing Dr. Evans said we can never have: lost time. He’s building a new world for himself with Hannah and Rex both alive. One that he can accept without question, and one that he could easily live in without ever needing or wanting to wake up.

It’s an interesting note to rest the entire series on, but it works. The running theme of the entire show has always been not whether one or the other is real, but about time and family. To make up for those that were lost and to forge ahead with those that are still here.

So, if you’re in Michael’s shoes, and you have this unique ability to dream in a way that feels real, why not recreate what was once lost? By opening the door to that possibility he opens the door to a life he desperately wants back. So while Green may or may not be the real reality, it is the one that “won out” in the end. It is the one that provides a landing pad for Britten as he dreams how this new reality will play out.

Other thoughts:

  • I find it very fitting that the show ended with Michael closing his eyes.
  • Loose ends: The Gemini Killer, what happened to Tara, Michael telling Bird.
  • What on Earth does “turtles all the way down” mean?

What did you think of tonight's series finale of Awake? Will you miss this show?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
  • 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (162 Votes)

Nick McHatton is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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To everyone saying it was a lame cop-out because "it was all a dream" I just have to say its a shame there are so many people out there whose minds are so shallow they can't understand the concept of what happened. It clearly was not all a dream, but I wont waste the time to explain further because 20 people already have and if u don't get it by now u never will. Just go back to ur sitcoms.

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Also, Wilson is entirely correct. "And then he woke up" is absolutely not what just happened. Either he just went crazier, or his consciousness just shifted to a third timeline, or something even weirder.

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It's not a reference to Pratchett; it's a reference to the much older model of the world being shaped like a flat disc perched on the back of a turtle. (Sometimes with elephants in between the disc and the turtle.) According to the story -- I don't know if this really happened or not -- somebody was giving a talk about science, and said that the world is a globe in space, and an audience member said "You're wrong! It's a disc that rests on the back of a turtle!" The speaker said "In that case, what does the turtle stand on?" Audience member said "Oh, you can't fool me, young man. It's turtles all the way down!" (Pratchett's world-bearing turtle doesn't stand on anything. It swims through space.)

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Turtles all the way down is a reference to Terry Pratchett. His books on Discworld tell of a flat Earth on the back of a turtle. When the character asks what is under the turtle the response is "it's turtles all the way down"

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Actually Wilson, I like your interpretation better than mine; like the ending in "Brazil". Well done!

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Lots of folks are getting this wrong. At the end, his mind breaks even further, creating a reality that does not exist...Hannah and Rex both alive. The world that was coming into focus, with just Rex alive, is real. But Michael couldn't handle it. He fractures one last time.

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"Are you uneducated flyover state people seriously that retarded? They had no idea what they were doing. The show was cancelled prematurely so they opted for the, "...and it was all a dream..." exit.
Seriously morons. No wonder al Qaeda hates us. @emperorhasnoclothes. Funny you say that, because ignorance like yours is actually why other countries view us negatively. Believing that your view point is the only correct one and not giving other opinions a chance. Maybe you should take a look at yourself first before calling other people morons. Have a great day!

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To all of you who think this ending was genius: My Dad used to pull this when we were around a campfire. He'd weave an extravagantly terrifying tale. We'd all lean in wide-eyed. He'd get this ****-eating grin and say, "And then he woke up." We were just little kids and we knew a lame ending when we heard it. We murdered him in his sleeping bag. He's still at the bottom of that lake in the Sierras as far as I know. It was really the only thing to be done.

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The writers were brilliantly humming along with options as to how it could end in spectacular twisting fashion that we never expected. Then they were told, "We're cancelled." "Fine," they said. They looked at each other. "All in favor of the lamest "and then he woke up" scenario say 'Aye'. "The ayes have it. Indian food for lunch today?"

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Hmn... Has anyone considered that the show did not conclusively conclude in order to leave space for its viewers to draw their own conclusion? Cases can be made for endless possible conclusions, which is the beauty of a great story, it's never really concluded...