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?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (162 Votes)

Reviewing the series as a whole leads me to the conclusion that Britten, his wife and son all died in the crash and that Britten reconciles his two unacceptable realities—that his wife and or son are dead by solving their deaths and creating a reality that is free from that danger and they can now live in. For the most part “Awake� shares much of the philosophy inherent in the UK’s “Life on Mars�, which utilized much of the same alternate reality concepts to lead the protagonist work out issues from his past before he could accept his future. By-the-way, if folks really liked “Awake� I would highly recommend “Life on Mars� (on DVD), though some people may need subtitles due to the heavy Manchester accents.


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.


The finale just made it that much more sad that this show is over. Thank you, producers, for giving us such a powerful ending. Wow.


This show has such potential. Glad to see that they had a spectacular season finale. It is so sad that they could not get their act together before it was too late.


I don't see how anyone can be making strong declarations about what is "real" in this show. It's clear both from watching the finale and from Kyle Killen's remarks ( that we cannot draw any conclusions about what is real -- red world, green world, or status-quo-ante world. The only revelation, if it can be called that, from the finale is that Britten's mind is really messed up. Nothing is resolved, and almost anything is possible.


"As his therapist asserts there are rules like none of us can change the flow of time, Britten pauses her stands up and violates all the rules of reality." This comment makes sense to me. Britten can now violate the rules of time. So I imagine his future realities taking place in different time windows, including the 20 years that the captain spent with the other guy and telling more about their tale and that there was probably much more than heroin involved. Oh man, my mind is running along this track more than I'd like it to.


The number of possibilities are endless. Britten says he doesn't feel satisfied, but there is closure. Perhaps when he solves one "reality" it will lead him to another to solve, repairing his mind piece by piece. I imagine that Dr. Evans was going to say, before she got cut off, was "If you could end the cycle, by being satisfied with this reality instead of following this seemingly endless roundabout of realities, would you?", tying back to Dr. Lee's saying "Choices have consequences." So Britten has to choose between becoming static in one reality but never knowing satisfaction (he has his family, or so he thinks, but his detective instincts tell him otherwise), or moving onto new elaborate psyche-realities and progressing toward the truth, risking losing his "repaired" family but eventually knowing true satisfaction at the end goal/reality.


I prefer to go along with a completely different theory... Bear with me for the following explanation please... I was watching a rerun of a Stargate SG1 episode recently - where T'ealc found himself in two different realities and couldn't figure out which one was the real one. Finally in one of his discussions with his therapist (who was played by Daniel Jackson), he was told - "if you can't figure out which of the two realities is real, have you considered that NEITHER of them are?!". Subsequently T'ealc found this to be true and once he had worked through his trauma he ended up in a completely different reality, which turned out to be the real world, back at SG1 :). So, I believe, the same applies here. Neither Red or Green were real but was Michael's brain's only way to force him to solve the mystery and once solved, he was able to return to the real world and to have both his son and wife in his life...


Finishing: Where one of his realities fed back and affected all of the others.


You are all entirely wrong about the meaning name of the show. From Wiki, a well-known story: The most widely known version appears in Stephen Hawking's 1988 book A Brief History of Time, which starts:
A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!" Now, what does that mean for the episode? I think it means that a lot of what
Britten was experiencing was part of an infinite loop, where one of his realities fed back and affected all the others. Personally, I don't find it particularly satisfying.

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