This review contains spoilers.
1.4 Kate is Enough
This week’s Awake further explores the question of which world of Michael’s is real, and which one he’d actually prefer to live in. That might sound harsh, considering either his wife or his son are on each side, but this episode set the groundwork for future hard questions he might have to ask himself. Compared to last week, we barely see the family, with the action centring on the two cases Michael finds himself working on.
The Kate of the title refers to the common link between both investigations, as he sees/imagines an old babysitter’s of Rex in both realities. It’s a neat trick, and helps hold interest early on. In the red world (as I’ll try to label it from now on) Kate is a together career woman who just happens to be at a boat party where another young woman has drowned. In the green world, she’s a drug addict who’s tangled in the murder investigation of an ex-boyfriend. In both, she’s integral to solving the mystery.
The problem is with the continuing therapy sessions, which remove much of the tension from the action rationalising everything Michael does as a symptom of his delusions. Instead of audience interpretation, or wondering whether he will work it out for himself, we’re given incessant psychobabble that only serves to ask more irrelevant questions. This is a television show, so we can be pretty certain that the final reveal will not be as simple as ‘one of the worlds is a dream.’ Why try to convince us that this is the case week on week?
It’s more fun to block this out and theorise for yourself. I’m not buying that green-world Kate is a mess simply as a warning not to give up on a similarly distraught Rex. Is it a parallel universe where the same differing event that saved Rex/Hannah also led Kate to deal with her sister’s death differently? Or is it even simpler than that? I’m wondering whether the prominence of Kate is this episode means she’s more important than initially thought. Has the same phenomenon happened to her? That may be grasping at straws, but until the mythology picks up that’s all we have.
In terms of supporting characters, I feel like there’s a disproportionate bias towards Rex at the moment, simply because a motherless child is a little more interesting to watch than a childless mother. We’ve seen that Hannah has accepted her loss to an extent, and found ways to deal with Rex’s death, but a son with one dead parent and one absentee dad would find live quite difficult. That said, there’s no push and pull for the audience right now, as we have no emotional connection with either of Michael’s realities. It doesn’t help that the two partners are bland and interchangeable either.
As always, this episode was entertaining enough, and makes another great instalment of the procedural genre. The trouble is, it’s not just a crime show, and the glaring lack of mythology or expansion on the potential sci-fi elements are very troubling. Obviously, writing for this site, I’m more inclined that way, but it might not be enough to simply provide a case to solve each week. Is Michael creating the differences in each reality? And are there clues being dropped each week that we’re unaware of? Let’s hope a few crumbs are dropped soon.