Awake Review: Lacking Substance

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"Slack Water" leaned towards mostly predictable tonight. In fact, it’s probably one of the poorer episodes Awake has doled out.

Britten, Emma, & Hannah

The case was rather underwhelming. It was pretty easy to see the landlord wrote the check for the murders. He wanted all of his rent-controlled tenants out of that building. This is really one of the most numbing cases Awake has every done.

The biggest things to come out of the episode involved Emma and the conspiracy.  While Emma is an engaging high school student, I’m finding it hard to see where this plot thread is heading. It’s a great way, as I mentioned in last week’s review, to keep Michael and Hannah in L.A., but where’s the long term in this story?

Plus, it’s just full of awkwardness. I understand Hannah’s need to keep a connection open with Rex, and her intuition in recognizing that Emma’s choices weren’t really being considered were wonderful. However, we still don’t really know what Emma’s real choice is, and it ends up feeling like Hannah is putting her own spin on Emma’s predicament.

I suppose since Emma is staying at the Britten house that she truly wants to keep the baby, but what happens if she wants to move away? Or she doesn’t want Hannah and Michael to adopt it? Hannah has grand ideas and plans in the wake of Rex’s death, and it's still unknown just how much of those plans are fueled by her grief.

Perhaps this story would have felt more connective had Michael had some sort of actual role in it, but he stood idly by and let Hannah make all the decisions. It would work if this is an ensemble show, but, let’s be honest, this is Michael’s story and journey – not Hannah’s. As an audience, our main connection is with him and the choices he makes. At the very least, allow Michael to have an opinion and take on things that are happening, but once Hannah’s intuitions were confirmed he took a backseat.

Also, I’m curious why Hannah thinks Rex would tell her all about the sex he had with Emma. Yeah, he might have told her about his girlfriend, but even then we didn't know for sure they were couple until a few weeks ago.

The conspiracy, while short, offered up some rather good developments, though I think we all were hoping for something that might have been a little grander in scale or story. It makes sense that - in Britten’s world and being a cop - that the conspiracy and things he could have been looking into were about drugs and where it could lead him.

As it turns out Mysterious Man has a lot of heroin that’s going bad, and he apparently can’t move it until Britten is out of L.A. for good. This feels like a forced plot development, especially since it looks like Harper is part of keeping the police off his trail. But I’m willing to go with it since it looks we’re finally being pushed on path that may begin doling out answers about the accident.

Real Reality Check

Tonight isn’t a hard decision: Red. When all of the plot developments happen in Red with Emma and the conspiracy there’s no need to really even take a look at Green since it only had a case to deal with.

What did you think of tonight’s Awake?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (31 Votes)

I enjoy every episode of this series for the great acting and seeing how one reality ties in with the other. I don't think Harper is a dirty cop. She and Britten have a long history together and she's not going to throw him under the bus, although it took the wind out of her sails somewhat when he let her know he was not planning on quitting after all. More likely,she's playing the mysterious heroin guy for reasons that haven't been revealed yet.


The green reality is the real one. This whole heroin conspiracy is a figment of Britten's imagination and it's his way of trying to make it seem as if the car crash wasn't his fault. Hannah is dead, her son's baby was miscarried and he's all alone in the green reality.


Heroin dealing cops with anti-smoking messages?!


This seems like Emma is going to be like the daughter, living in the house and all, to counterpoint the son, Rex. I was disappointed that the "conspiracy" we had been hoping to see more of turned out to just be about drugs. How lame is that? Are we to believe that the accident was just the seperation point, that it was just an attempted assassination of Britten because he was getting too close?


Liked the episode but one thing that was missing is michael's discussions with his 2 psychologists-- their explanations as to why the other world is fictitous usually help frame the theme and episode. The cop story of the week has almost always been very predictable (similar to Alcatraz) but what is better about this show is the dialogue and the acting.

Sarah silva

Personally I liked this episode!
They had to have a reason for Hannah and Michael to stay in LA. Emma wants to keep the baby as it is a part of Rex and the baby is all they have left of Rex. So I can see Emma staying with the Britten's as she was kicked out of her house. I see the 3 of them raising the baby together or Emma giving the baby to them.
I did not think it was odd that Michael let Hannah take the reigns with Emma and the decision making in regards to the baby. He knows Hannah needs that, Michael still has Rex in the alternate reality, Hannah does not!
Harper is a dirty cop, she used to be in narcotics and has been tied up in drug smuggling for a long time and I am still trying to figure out why he wants Britten gone or dead, we have had not indication that Michael knows anything about the heroine, so maybe that will be revealed in time.


I might be in the minority here but I liked this episode. Maybe because I watch it after watching POI, and the slow pace doesn't bother me. It was a filler episode no doubt, but I don't mind them if the story moves in the right direction.


When Hannah turned to her cutting board in the kitchen near the end, I was certain she would find a knife missing and that Emma would be sitting in the tub with her wrists slit. In any event, they needed this episode in order to keep the Brittens in LA. I'm sure they could have done more with it, but I didn't think this episode as any worse than the last couple.


Boring, disappointing episode.

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Awake Season 1 Episode 10 Quotes

Wow, under the mattress, criminal mastermind, no?


Maybe you can want something so much that it's easy to project.