"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.
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.
- 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?