Jason Isaacs is an actor who’s been around for a while. This short series is actually a brilliant one!
The show had only one season. It is one that left viewers confused and wanting explanations.
After getting in a car accident with his wife and teenage son, Detective Michael Britten finds himself alternating between two different realities.
One minute he is navigating a world where his son survived, but his wife perished, and the next, he is in another reality in which his wife is the one that survived.
To keep both loved ones alive, Britten begins living in dueling realities. To try to regain some normalcy in his life, the detective returns to solving crimes in both worlds, with a different partner in each. — Google
At First Glance
Asking any author, one of the hardest subjects of a show or novel to write is crossing dimensions or time loops. The success of the entire story revolves around meticulous attention to detail.
One must keep track of every single breadcrumb left behind. As if this dimension crossing wasn’t enough to give birth to Awake, the creators added the detective factor.
I am not a cop/detective fan, I used to be all over Law & Order SVU, but it got to that one too many dark and depressing episode, and I decided it was enough. Then, I got to my cop show limit, and that was it.
For years, I gave up the genre, so Awake passed me by in 2012. While doing some research, I stumbled upon Jason Isaacs’ filmography and noticed the low sci-fi show. Intrigued, I tried overlooking the fact that it was a detective series and focused on the science fiction factor.
The show had impressive acting, good mysteries, and no dull moments. Every single episode was crucial to the next. The mystery remained a secret to the very end.
To some, it might sound like a complicated series, trust me, it isn’t, and the director had the right way of keeping it simple for the viewer.
Keeping It Straight
Imagine you wake up one morning, and besides, you are your spouse, yet, someone is missing because that person died. You go to the funeral and try to mourn yourself to sleep.
Then, the next morning you wake up alone in your bed, and the person who died is alive waking you up, and you go to your spouse’s funeral and again mourn yourself to sleep. The next day, that person is live and so on.
What would you think? That you have schizophrenia or having psychotic episodes or maybe night terrors? What if you believe it to be true because both worlds are too real and are aware of being awake?
How do you keep yourself straight in each reality? How do you process the notion of juggling back and forth between two dimensions and explain the science behind it?
Well, Detective Britten found away. He wears rubber bands around his left wrist. The red one represents life with his wife, while the green one is for his son.
Victim of a car accident where on his file’s notes it says he drank that night, Britten doesn’t remember anything from the accident and suffers from short-term memory loss or suppression of memory.
He has to go, in each reality, to a psychiatrist who is different in each dimension. Each episode shows Britten in a session, but don’t this those to be boring. They reveal something about his perspective and one of a rational outside psychiatrist.
When with his wife, the male doctor is more strict and insist on pushing him out of his fantasy where his son is still alive. Meanwhile, in his son’s reality, the woman doctor is impressed by how Britten’s brain managed to keep him above water by creating a sub-reality for his wife to be alive.
Awake with multidimensional rubber bands what does that mean? Two entirely different worlds. In both, Britten is an active detective resolving different cases. Each was bringing him closer to solve the mystery of why he is between two separate worlds.
The Beauty of Color
When Britten wakes up in his son’s reality, the color spectrum of the world is in colder colors of blues and greens and always a little darker. Cold colors are often associated with noble characteristics, as well as loyal, and related to hope.
In that reality, Britten is with his partner that he’s been for years. They work cases together, and ever since Michael Britten came back to work despite Captain Harper’s resistance to it, he has hunches about the cases. They’re not as many hunches as they are clues from the other cases from the different dimension he visits.
Following a day in his son’s world, Michael Britten wakes up to his wife in his arms. The colors are warmer in a palette of yellows and reds, which represent warmth, passion, anger, intellect, and sometimes disturbance.
While in that dimension, Britten is with a new Latino partner. Vega “Michael’s babysitter.” Captain Harper refused to keep Britten alone in a time he should be mourning.
To avoid a mental collapse, Detective Vega is there to assist Britten. His hunches are not as well received by the newbie; after all, he doesn’t know Britten. Despite always ending up right, Britten often has to stay vague about his clues coming from his other reality.
What’s Different Than Another Cop Show?
If only a cop show, despite Jason Isaacs’ acting, I wouldn’t watch it. However, the fact that Detective Britten has to jump back and forth between realities every single night. Moreover, he once found himself stuck in his wife’s reality believing the psychiatrist was right sand; it was all a dream.
There was a scene where you see a father’s heart shattering to pieces that had me on the verge of tears. The eyes slowly turning red, cheeks flushing, and the tears dripping faster and faster. I thought I witnessed an accurate mental breakdown.
The science fiction is the beautiful factor of the series. As a result, I watched the entire show in four evenings. Also, Britten must solve a total of two cases per episode or is working two at the same time in two different realities. One of them being the Super Bowl!
So, the difference between Awake and another cop show? First, Awake with multidimensional rubber bands is quite unique! The will of a father wanting to fight to keep both his son and wife alive, i.e., refusing to get better.
A Background Resolution
While the show lasted only for a season, I am giving the benefit of the doubt on how it ended. I suspect Awake had something in store for a second season. Otherwise, the ending is an epic fail for me. However, don’t stop yourself from watching the season because it does come to a resolution.
Also, my taste might quite differ than yours! It depends on how “dramatic” you can be. Because I am an author, science fiction, and horror fan and artist, I was expecting something grandiose.
*** WARNING: As of this point, there are spoilers!
Consider yourself warned! ***
From the second episode, I concluded that neither Britten’s wife or son was alive. I expected him to come to his senses eventually and realized he was alone. He was either mourning in his house or capable of functioning. But his nights spent working his stress by jumping back and forth between “realities.”
While the two realities vastly diverged from one another to the point wherein Britten’s wife reality, he ends up arrested and charged with the murder of his ex-partner, it concluded.
The big reveal? Britten was in a dream within a dream. He wakes up alone in his house, goes down the stairs, his left wrist missing either rubber bands.
Once Britten walks in the kitchen, his son comes in and asks if he could bring him to school. Then, his wife mentions something to him. All’s well that ends well. They lived happily ever after.
I couldn’t accept it.
So, I theorized that it was one possibility out of two. The first hypothesis being that in the second season, Britten’s mind is slowly coming together, and in one reality, his wife and son are alive and the other, he is alone.
The second hypothesis, Britten, was in a coma and died, hence him joining his family because of the episode before he had a mortal wound and lost much blood.
Either way, something was missing to conclude the series. Whether Awake got cancel before the end of the season and the writers had to rush the writing, or they expected other seasons to come forth. There was a possibility of a better ending.
*** NO MORE SPOILERS! ***
All In All
Awake is worth watching. It is only thirteen episodes, and they are worth it. As said before, the acting and quality of filming are excellent and entertaining. The mysteries and cases are intriguing and well explained.
The show is easy to understand and appreciate. It has enough intrigue to have the viewer coming back. The ratings are there to prove it, people who enjoy sci-fi give this a try!
The last episode disappointed me, but I still enjoyed it and always highly recommended it. Awake with multidimensional rubber bands must be scary! Hopefully, maybe one day, the idea can be picked up again!