Stars: Jason Issacs, Laura Allen, Dylan Minnette, Cherry Jones, Steve Harris, Wilmer Valderrama, BD Wong
: Kyle Killen, story by Killen, Leonard Chang, Noelle Valdivia
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
: NBC, airs Thursday nights
Original Telecast
: May 24, 2012

There’s two ways to look at the challenging NBC series AWAKE. On one hand, the network gave a greenlight to a challenging, original and incredibly high-concept police procedural that in any other NBC era it wouldn’t even make it past the pilot stage.

On the other hand, you can view it as another missed opportunity – a chance to build and grow a challenging, interesting series that is unlike anything else on network television (and the ratings increase the last two weeks proved there were viewers interested).

Either way, after thirteen episodes, AWAKE leaves the airwaves with a complex and intriguing series finale that will keeping die-hard fans talking and frustrate anyone who clicked on it by accident.

“Turtles All The Way Down” is the second part to last week’s “Two Birds” where detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs) finally discovers there was a conspiracy to kill him by fellow cops and his own Captain Tricia Harper (Laura Innes) because he was getting close to uncovering some pretty deep police corruption.

This resulted in Britten’s worlds being split in two – one where his son Rex (Dylan Minnette) has died and one where his wife Hannah (Laura Allen) has died. He also has two psychologists (BD Wong, Cherry Jones) in each respective world giving him guidance and advice – trying to help him decide which reality is the true reality.

As he gets closer though to the truth, the two worlds start to cave in on each other. In one world, his actions (although justified) backfire and he ends up in jail framed for murder. The other reality has him succeeding in blowing the lid off the corruption and getting his Captain arrested for her involvement.


Then the series takes its next big step – where Britten comes to the conclusion that one of the realities he created in order to deal with the death in his family. Of course, that reality also appears to be false, when he realizes he can create a third reality, one where both his wife and son live.

Yes, it’s that confusing, but it gives fans a lot of detective work to go back through all thirteen episodes to see how the clues add up and if there’s a bigger answer here to the series – was it a third reality, was it all a dream, did he die and is he now in heaven with his family?

Frankly, for a show like AWAKE, I prefer to have more questions than answers. It leaves it up to the viewer to put its own interpretation into the mix. It also allows AWAKE for its last episode to be insanely crazy. It’s well directed and incredible strange making for a riveting hour of television.

Isaacs gets a chance to really go full-on crazy – even, at one, trying to strangle his Captain to death.

Writer Kyle Killen, whether he knew the show was headed for cancellation or not, has crafted something that does feel more Series Finale, than Season Finale, which is a good thing. Too many good shows go off into the sunset without a single resolution and this one at least strives for something more.

It would have been nice if NBC put a little more promotional push behind the series, but then again, it kept it in its Thursday night slot for its entire 13-episode run, so there’s not much to complain about there.

And the concept itself, really lends itself more to a cable model or even a Netflix model, where you can sit down and watch every episode in a big, orderly chunk.

Will there be more series like AWAKE in the future of NBC. I sure hope so, because being in last place allows for one major thing – risks. And those risks, every once and awhile provide some of the best rewards. AWAKE may have not been a ratings success, but creatively it kept your interest and made you talk about it – and that’s the bigger success story out of all of this.


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Related Link: Exclusive Interviews with AWAKE stars BD Wong and Cherry Jones

Related Link: Exclusive Interview with AWAKE star Steve Harris

Related Link: Exclusive Interview with AWAKE creator Kyle Killen

Related Link:TV Review – AWAKE – Season 1 – “Guilty”

Related Link:TV Review – AWAKE – Season 1 – “The Little Guy”

Related Link:TV Review – AWAKE – Season 1 – “Pilot”

Related Link: Exclusive Interview with AWAKE executive producer Howard Gordon and star Wilmer Valderrama

Article Source: Assignment X 
Article: TV Review – AWAKE – Season 1 – “Turtles All The Way Down” – Series Finale

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  1. Really disappointed that this is over. Did not realize it until the end of the show and the said “what the hell?” and how to google to see what was going on. Really sad it is the end. Agree it was an interesting show and always looked forward to the next episode.

  2. I thought it was a terrific series. Intelligent and intriguing. Enjoyed each episode. I am glad that it was ended with a resolution and not some contrived cliffhanger.

  3. Amazing show!! NBC made a mistake to cancel this. Hope this show is picked up by another network.

  4. This was a great show – wonderful concept, terrifically executed by actors and production. I think it’s good that it’s over now – we hold on to shows too long here in North America. We should have more Brit-style of great shows that only last a couple of years. Then everyone involved can move on and do more great work. Thanks Jason Isaacs and everyone who gave their all.

  5. I watched the whole series because I am into psychology and mental stuff and the space time quantum mechanics kind of deal.. So I enjoyed the show a lot.. I wish they had more mystery even.. But this is what happened …Britten’s realities were always balanced.lif something happend in one it usually happened in a diferent way in when the red reality goes belly up he really is having a problem thisis why he agrees to merge with the other Michael because he has nothing in the oher reality but betrayal. Not because he realizes it was made up. it wasnt! But he was willing to give up Hannah to stop Harper…and then at the end when he realizes that he can change the realities.. He does! He makes a better chouce for himself..s it really is a deep metaphysical show and that is why Dr.Evans freezes as frwaky as that was, because that world ended and a new one began.. And new one he made.. And we dont really know what he des on the new reality but he seems way happy, doesnt he?

  6. it did end with a cliffhanger. this third reality isnt probably real, which is what i think kyle killen said. oh well rip awake. hopefully it can be picked up on cable but i highly doubt it. i delude myself sometimes, but i think i need to accept the loss that its dead.

  7. Argh! Liked this series and was so disappointed in the finale. Felt like it took the easy way out. Couldn’t he at least have been in a coma and finally awakened to find out that he was the one injured, not his family?

    Once I cold we they were drawing the story to a close I thought that perhaps they would explore a different storyline for each season. Disappointed to find out it was a one and done series.

  8. An absolutely fantastic show that ought to have at least one more season to explore the intriguing themes opened by it. In every respect (plot, characters, cinematography, music, etc.) it felt more like an extended feature film than a TV series.

    My sense of the “three” worlds: the red world only appears to have collapsed in on itself because Britten has gone to a deeper level of dreaming that begins shortly after he attacked Captain Harper. In that dream state, he accesses clues from the subconscious that had been working in the green world while asleep there, and appears to wake up to uncover Harper’s role in the conspiracy. However, because the passage into that world was itself a dream, his next awakening is perpendicular to it, leading into a “third” world. Therefore, it seems his next awakening will unfortunately be in the prison cell exactly where he had been sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall.

    There’s so much rich territory for a season 2, but even if that doesn’t happen, I have no doubt Jason Issac could win an Emmy for his breathtaking performances throughout the season.


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