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Awake: I See a Little Silhouetto Of a Man

Awake S01E11: "Say Hello to My Little Friend"

Ever since Awake started, one of the main drives for protagonist Michael Britten has been to hold on to two realities to keep his family together the only way he knew how. And over the course of the series' first 10 episodes, we've seen one reality occasionally threatened, and the result isn't good for Michael. As he said in the pilot, he doesn't want to figure out which reality is real and which isn't. He's quite content hedging his bets and accepting his new reality (err, realities) as long as he gets to see his wife and his son, one at a time, every other day. Or is it the same day? Or is it at the same time but with a split consciousness? Or is it just randomly through the cloth of space and time? However it happens, it's better than it would be if either Rex or Hannah was lost forever. He's dealing with it.

There's an old saying in scriptwriting: put your protagonist through as much hell as you can for the best results. Awake tortured Michael Britten to tears in tonight's episode "Say Hello to My Little Friend," which hit viewers in their core thanks to a mesmerizing performance from star Jason Isaacs.

There was a moment tonight that transcended the divide between fictional character and audience, between passive viewer and television show, between fabrication and reality. There was Michael, slouched on the floor with the realization that he'd never see Rex again. He blamed himself. It was the complete breakdown of a grown man who had just lost his only child. It was an odd, delayed display of grief to the outside world, but it was sudden and real for Michael. It was a moment where we just wanted to jump through the screen and give him a giant hug.

This is the power of Awake and what it has been building up to. When we first saw Michael in tonight's episode, he was talking to Dr. Lee and he was angry, he was frustrated, and we felt it. He couldn't wake up from Hannah's reality and enter Rex's reality, and that to him was the worst possible thing. Later, he was confused and panicked as his world began to fall apart. And we felt it right along with him. "Say Hello to My Little Friend" pushed and pulled at us in a way that never felt gimmicky or predictable, and that's probably the best compliment I can give a show. Anytime we're glued to the screen, unsure of how we'll feel or what will happen in the next five minutes, the people behind the show are making art. It's a marvel that Awake has been able to pull off being such a high-concept show, a family drama, and both of those at the same without the tired pretenses of other primetime shows.

But "Say Hello to My Little Friend" was as much a workout for the brain as it was for the heart. Tired of conjuring fake penguins, Michael was repeatedly visited by a hallucination we'd later come to know as Ed Hawkins. Ed's presence in Michael's head was just as much a mystery to Ed as it was to Michael, but there seemed to be a reason for it. It was only later that Michael figured out that Ed's real-life counterpart (we're in Hannah's reality, stay with me here) was the first responding officer on the scene of the accident.

And to mess with our heads even more, Michael was able to recall pieces of the accident that got him to this place, complete with annoying (to Michael; it was endearing to us) Queen karaoke ("Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality. Well played, Awake!) by Hannah and Rex, throughout the episode. The SUV tumbling over the side was no accident, as we suspected, and the person behind the wheel of the car that pushed the Brittens off the side of the road was Ed. At least, that's what Michael thinks.

Michael got suspended from the force after running into traffic and fleeing from crime scenes and generally acting like the kind of guy who lunatics point at and say, "That guy's a little wacky." Captain Harper seized the opportunity to boot him, claiming instability by way of grief. But that just gave Michael reason to live above the law as a vigilante madman out to kill a cop and find out the truth. Well, at least that's what I'm pretending happens next. It's a stunning change of pace for the series that sends Awake into a good kind of orbit. Conspiracy confirmed. Murderer found. Vengeance imminent. Of course, this idea relies on the very unreliable Michael Britten, a character who is either the best dad and husband in the world or a schizophrenic maniac about to cause more than a bit of mayhem in Los Angeles.

Here's a crazy theory just to throw it out there: We know that Michael bumped into Ed Hawkins in Rex's timeline at the carnival at the beginning of the episode. Hawkins gave him more than a knowing look, like their chance shoulder rub was some sort of mission complete. We can assume it didn't happen by chance. Can we go so far as to assume that Ed (in Rex's reality) planted himself in Michael's mind somehow? Maybe just a glance at his face is enough to trigger some memory that Michael can carry over to the other reality? Ed used himself in Rex's reality to put Michael on the track of Ed in Hannah's reality. Perhaps Rex-reality Ed is the good guy, and Hannah-reality Ed is the bad guy, and Rex-Ed knows this. We saw how different two Kates could be across realities in "Kate is Enough"; the very same thing could have happened to Ed. But unlike Kate, perhaps Ed knows that there are two realities (it's reasonable to assume he's aware of the conspiracy, right?) and he's pissed off at Harper and her cohort and his Hannah-reality doppelganger and he wants Michael to bust their asses for reasons we don't know yet (was he cut out of a deal in Rex's timeline?). I'm calling Rex-Ed as some sort of disgruntled employee who's using Michael to seek revenge. And that should be okay with Michael, because he's going to want revenge too.

"Say Hello to My Little Friend" was probably the best episode of Awake since the pilot, and it managed to hit all the right notes while pushing the series into a fascinating place with two episodes left to go in first season. This is going to be very fun.



Dream Log

– Bird rockin' the Bird-stache! Nice look there, Bird.

– I didn't mention the second scene with Michael meeting up with Emma's dad, but it was fantastic. That was some real talk, right there. Nice to see Emma's dad get the stick out of his ass.

– I can't say it enough: Jason Isaacs was AMAZING in this episode. One of the best performances of the year by anyone.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I agree with Tim's critique. I might add, humbly I mean, that something wonderful is happening here. An audience has come forward that is tired of watching just the outside of actors and actresses. The good news is that we are not asking for death in the arena to amuse us, as did one or a couple of societies in process of demise. We want to know each other. In "The Plague", Albert Camus--- the plague, a metaphor, was really about isolation and lonliness in society. As in this 1940's setting, as is today, we are all lonely to an extent. And, I think most of us are running from this isolation. I think part of this is that we miss each other and our real selves and a home we can't remember (suggesting a long ago relationship). Michael has not only let us in, he is showing us the way, in his own way. And, when he falls, "Two Turtles All the Way Down", we will be there with him. Cathartic and real...it will be us who will be left to grieve the loss of a great friend.

Emmy for Isaacs...oh goodness of course Emmy for the writers...what other show comes close???
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i quit tv....well i quit watching new tv shows.



AWAKE was the only new show worth watching and it got canned.



from now on, i'm not watching anything new until it has a season or 2 under its belt and then i'll just rent/stream them on netflix or amazon prime video. i'm tired of wasting my time.
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One of the most engaging shows I've watched since Lost...



word's can't describe how well-acted, and amazing this episode was.



I hope some other channel like TNT picks this up, because NBC or it's viewers just can't appreciate quality television.
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best episode and best performance by Jason



the scene where he was talking to Emma's dad about losing someone you love hit me so hard i started crying, i've never cried over a tv show since LOST finale. that was a powerful speech, it reminded me of the people i would do anything to see them again for just one minute.



fuck you NBC, fuck you.
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Best episode so far, and it SUX that NBC decided to pull it off air.



The only problem i have with it is the part with the reality shifts. I don't think even the creators know what exactly is happening to him yet. It can't be alternate realities, because the time line is not consistent between the two worlds (he spent 3-4 days in Hannah's reality, and then when he went back to Rex's reality it was still the carnival night) and it can't be a one is real, one is dream type of thing, because well dreams are not THAT real and consistent and a coma would just be anti-climactic. Meh, whatever it is the show is superb and i really hope NBC sees its potential and decides to revoke that cancellation.
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Having anounced the shows cancellation does this mean that Awake / Jason Isaacs are out of the running for Emmy's ? I'm not from US if this is a silly question.

Would be great if it won loads of awards having been axed and the awards would be well deserved. Best show, best actor for starters.
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WOW! First of all, can't believe this got canceled. Wtf is wrong with NBC?! This episode was amazing. Now I just hope they will not leave us with thousand questions that stay unanswered. That will drive me crazy... Just one of the best shows on television right now. Sad NBC! You're letting go of something really great.
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Fantastic episode.



Isaacs is great.



I cried.
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So disappointing that this show got cancelled. It is definitely one of the top 5 shows out there in terms of concept, storytelling, and definitely acting.
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I thought this was a fantastic episode. My complaint before was that the show wasn't "sci-fi" enough, with the dual reality aspect not being explored properly, while the story gravitated more around the family drama. But this time we had it all: heavy psych stuff, solid character development with real human interaction, and even the conspiracy aspect, which many people had reservations about, came into play and beautifully completed the general portrait.



Particularly I was impressed how Michael was delaying to talk to the girl's father, but he only got ready to do it when he felt himself what it would actually be like to lose his son Rex. Then his conversation with the other parent became heartfelt and meaningful.



Now I'm really saddened the show is being cancelled.
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Agreed. I was originally really excited for the show given its premise, but after 3 or 4 episodes became disillusioned because it seemed like it was drifting too far into the "procedural cop show" territory. Last night's show, however, renewed my faith that the series can be ground breaking when it tries to. Of course that would mean it would be cancelled the very next day, lol.
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One word: Amazing.

I was crying during Britton's meltdown on the floor. I'm not kiddin' ya. I was bloody crying! Jason Isaacs really pulled out all the stops and beyond.
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This was one hour of awesome. it went up down sideways and I never knew what was coming next. first I thought Ed was like Michael, then when it was revealed he was one of the first responders I thought that Ed might have played a role in who might have lived. Ed was forced to make a choice, but no he was responsible.

Also I think Michaels break down was done really well and from an outside viewpoint would look really real.

My personal theory about what's going on is something along the lines of the film Jacobs ladder, with an extra scoop of decisions that have to be made.
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The "Jacob's Ladder" scenario is what I'm actually afraid of. I'd hate to get this involved in the story and then have the rug pulled out with it all turning out to have been a hallucination he was having as HE was dying. I'm not sure what other ending would work, though, so ::shrugs:: In any event, I've really been enjoying the show and I hope that NBC will at least allow them to finish it's run with a decent finale.
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Tim I hope this site can get NBC exec to see how much love this show is getting
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Jason was spectacular, this episode was amazing both thrilling and tearjerking
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Just one word I can think of with this episode : Wow.....
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It is a crime more people don't watch this show! This episode was honestly one of the most emotionally riveting hours of television I have EVER seen. I knew Jason Isaacs was a very good actor, but I have acquired a whole new level of respect for him. You are absolutely correct, Tim, in stating that the highest compliment you can give a TV show is the perception of an absolute lack of gimmicks or predictability. Where in those rare instances you forget you're sitting in front of a screen and just let the story sweep you away. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it is art in its purest form. I, for one, loved every heart-wrenching minute of it.



Theory Time:



That is a great thought, Tim! I was toying with the possibility that Ed is like Michael and is aware of his dual existence, but your theory makes more sense. Why else would Rex-Ed brush up against Michael, if not to implant his image for a subconscious memory to resurface? It's all very intriguing.



Final Note: Please, NBC, renew Awake!
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It was a really great episode .They started to get a move on finally

They really fooled me I almost thought it was over and Rex reality is gone

and they added a twist which reset the cards and moved us forward

(Just to be clear I want both realites to be true It whould really bumped me out if one of them or both of them is a dream)

My theory about all the Ed Plot was that maybe Ed in Rex reality was working for the suite guy (The one who meet with the captin all the time) and was keepint tabs on michael

(He is a Bad Guy)

but when he bumped in to him and Michael saw his face that triggered in michael somthing that started to all the mess in Micheal realites

We can even see in the flashback of the accedent that Ed is signaling to someone

(maybe the suite guy) with his head that Micheal is still alife

and he failed to kill him





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We love fast food, we love things that free us from doing and thinking! We don't even care if masterpieces are forged in worst possible ways and are shown to us.

As long as we are like that, shows like Awake will be canceled in a season or less and garbage about vampires and stupid knock-off comedies will go on for years!
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Arguably the best show on TV right now (With consideration that Fringe only has the one season left)... Hopefully Awake has more than one



Time for people to "Wake" up and start watching this!!! Stock up on wristbands just in case.

Renew NBC... Renew
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If only people would watch this episode...!
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This episode was exactly what I was expecting/wishing from Awake after watching the pilot (so yes, for me also the 2nd best episode). It was intelligent, mind-bending and unbelievably heartfelt (I had a lump in my throat for about half an hour). This season so far only gave us a glimpse of Michael's insanity but now we really got to see whats down at the tip of the iceberg. I sat through the hour actually wishing that Michael would not "suddenly" wake up in Rex reality because I found it to be an amazing character development that he finally let go of him - especially so early into the series.

However, the last 2 minutes disappointed me. I kinda saw it coming but taking the conspiracy as a reason to return to status quo and have "higher stakes" was really weak if you think what else they could have done. I HOPE Tim's theory partly turns out true. Ed implanted himself in Michael's mind before passing out - maybe he is a memory maybe he is not. Bottom line: He used this guy he just saw to make up the whole conspiracy theory:

The conspiracy theory revealing to be a symbolic substitute for Michael's guilt - something he has to fight against to come to terms what has happened - would (for me) be the best and ONLY way they can naturally conclude the conspiracy in a way this series deserves.
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May be show will make some buzz in finale in media amongst crirics. And bosses will see it and get it a chance for second run. It could happen. Why not? NBC sucks this year with new shows except Awake. And it was brilliant tense hour of TV. I was worried that it was a final episode for some reason, coz we kinda got the letting go explanation the postponed grief resolution and I was fine with that coz it's realistic humanly. very emotional stuff right there. Kudos to Jason Isaacs. Wonderful acting. I always knew he more of feature movie calibre guy. television is small for him.

In final minutes of episode I felt that something will turn out. That Rex reality will appear again or something fucked up will happen. But I still don't know how heroin conspiracy thing linked to switching realities? and if we end up on cliffhanger it would be tough. no resolution. I want kinda get an answer and kinda not get the answer finale. (for perspective for second chance) and kinda get emotional pay off if NBC cancels it. And it will be very sad sad day on TV.
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Great show. Please renew it.
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First, I thought no matter what, Rex-reality will comeback.



Then time goes and I was convinced (because of the contents of the episode and the rumors that they might cancel AWAKE) that 'Okay, REX-Reality is finally gone' and now its only matter of time that Hannah-Reality will follow too and soon we'd learn that both 'REALITIES' were made up in Britten's mind. But he comeback!



It's for sure that we're getting into a dashing finale. Awake is one of the most beautiful, mind-teasing show ever. If they don't renew Awake, it would be sad. But still, it would be great to remember this show for its intelligent plot, wonderful cast and for sure, Jason Isaacs.
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I have to confess, I've been really worried about the Conspiracy plot. I generally don't like them (because they're executed so poorly so often), and I've been worried it'd ruin this show as well.



So far, to my surprise, I've enjoyed the conspiracy plot so far - or at least it hasn't offended me...it's (mostly) worked.



Though on one hand I'm still really worried. Just LAST EPISODE we saw Carl throw down the gauntlet with the Captain and specifically say that if Britten wasn't gone in 3 days he'd take care of him himself. Now perhaps his plan takes time to "get him", but the fact that it wasn't addressed or even referenced really bothered me. I expected things to come to a head in this episode because of that...not because Britten just happened to finally remember Marshall from Alias caused his "accident". *shrug* we'll see where they take it.



Also I don't know why he thinks he can trust his shrink. I thought the police department mandated that he see a shrink, didn't they set him up with her? Regardless, while I like her character I certainly couldn't trust her.



Still, I'm sad this show likely won't get picked up.
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This was the finest hour of television so far this season. To your theory, Tim, I think that the events that happened the night of the car crash were before Michael split realities, so only one set of events took place, those being Ed crashing Michael's car. However (got me thinking me here), were the scenes of Captain Harper and the conspiracy only in one reality, or both?
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"However (got me thinking me here), were the scenes of Captain Harper and the conspiracy only in one reality, or both?"

I believe if you go back and watch all the episodes again, so far the Captain/Conspiracy plot ONLY happens in the "Wife" reality (one of the reasons where if ONE reality is real I believe it has to be that one - though my money is still on neither being real).



In fact, I believe tonight's episode was the first time we have ever seen the Captain in the "Son" reality, interestingly she's there when he wakes up and starts hugging his son at the end of the episode...why's that interesting? Because she happens to be wearing an angel costume. Makes you think.
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Yeah, why was she there? And why the hell was she wearing an angel costume? I suppose it must have been more symbolism from Michal's subconscious. It's impossible to believe his partner and captain were actually there. But what does it mean?
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Actually I thought that was either a police sponsored carnival or the department was all going to one. Unfortunately I delete the episode already, but I thought they mentioned something to that affect right before they saw Bird.
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Oh, I just remembered her other major son-reality episode. She was instrumental in getting that little girl to come forward about how her dad had raped her sister. Another instance of Captain Harper seeming to be a definitively good person in the son-reality.
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I got that impression as well, that the carnival was somehow police-sponsored. However, this is not the first time we've seen Captain Harper in the son-reality. She played a major role in the episode where the FBI lady suspected Michael of being a copycat serial killer. She's also appeared in son-reality in at least one other episode and has always seemed to genuinely care about Michael in that reality. You are right, though, that the conspiracy plot has only been discussed in the wife-reality.
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Tough call on the Emmy submission episode for Isaacs. I think this episode would win out over the pilot except for the fact that they will need to introduce most Emmy voters to the show in the first place.
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stunning episode. Extremely disappointed that this will most likely be the only season. At least this show will go out with a BANG and not a whimper (Office!).
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