Trying to figure out what happened on the series finale of “Awake” may keep you up at night.
The NBC series, which is a bit complicated to say the least, ended its run Thursday night, leaving many viewers wondering if the show would answer which one of Detective Britten’s (Jason Isaacs) worlds was “real.” Ever since surviving a tragic car accident, he’d been “dreaming” in two alternate states, one in which his wife had died and one in which his son had died.
Thursday’s concluding episode may have answered that big season-long mystery, but it was left in one of those maddening “open-to-interpretation” states.
In a final mind-bending twist — shown in the clip above — the grieving cop found his “green” world literally frozen (eerily, with his shrink (Cherry Jones) in mid-sentence). He then walked through a door that opened up an entirely new world, one where Britten was stunned to discover both his wife AND son in the kitchen for breakfast.
Was this “third world,” where he had no colored band on his wrist, the “real world”? Or was it a new dream-within-a-dream that Britten manifested to continue escaping the reality of losing a beloved?
Well, we’ll never know since NBC canceled the show.
Before confused fans blame the network for pulling the plug early on the series (which was pulling just 2 million viewers by the end), they should probably know that the producers were never planning on answering that question in the first place, even if the series had seen a second season. Wait, what???
Series creator Kyle Killen revealed in a live chat with Entertainment Weekly during the finale that answering the question “Which reality was the real reality?” wasn’t part of his game plan.
“If your question is simply ‘Which is real?’ I can’t help you,” Killen writes. “We didn’t approach the show that way. It was about a man living two lives, not a man trying to figure out which was real and which wasn’t. We have our own answers, but really prefer to leave it open for interpretation and debate.”
He added: “The ending you see is the ending we intended for the first season before it even began. It wasn’t hastily slapped together in response to cancelation. It had been shot long before cancelation.”
Too bad for us then, as THAT’S the only thing people who invested their time in this show really cared about. And admitting you never dreamed of telling us is just bad TV business, particularly for the serialized genre … because this very thing (axing a show before fans get satisfying answers) keeps happening over and over again. Just like Britten’s dream state, allegedly.