This review contains spoilers.
Is Awake the most frustrating show on air? After last week’s step backwards, this week goes one worse with a dull procedural episode devoid of any mythology or forward motion. For a show on the bubble, and in very real danger of being axed, you’d think now was the time to up their game. This may sound like a rant, but for fans of any show, it’s thoroughly annoying to see characters and plots flatlining so close to crunch time. Will Britten and Hanna actually move to Oregon next week? I blooming well hope so.
Nightswimming is a strange episode in several ways, and actually begins with a promising image of a naked Jason Isaacs atop a roof. We begin, not with Britten, but with those receiving the report of a break-in. Of course, we initially assume this random nakedness will tie in to the show’s central mythology in some satisfying way; has he gone mad? Is he sleep walking? None of the above, as we find out by the end of the episode that it was simply a consequence of some late night skinny dipping with his wife.
Another weird thing about the episode is the absence of Rex. Though I think Awake should be applauded for not including both worlds if both worlds aren’t needed, it does seem a little odd after so much favour going his way towards the beginning. On the other hand, though, it allows plenty of time to really get to know Hanna, important should Rex turn out to be dead, and we really feel by the end of the hour that Michael and his wife have reconnected.
That reconnection comes about as a reaction to Britten’s green world case, in which a wealthy couple have terminally drifted apart. Both must be placed in witness protection for their own safety, but the wife soon runs away from the situation, reminiscing about how happy they were before her husband took the ill-fated, yet lucrative, job. This kicks Michael into action, as he takes Hannah on a date to the same place they met, a public swimming pool. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely, but doesn’t drive the story forward one jot, yet again giving the impression that Britten is simply running on the spot.
Isn’t he interested in what the Gemini killer wanted? About how much he found out while searching his therapist’s office? Apparently not. Nor is he worried about the Ricky’s Taco oracle from last week. There’s a rumour going around online that Awake‘s episodes are being shown out of order, and that’s a theory I’m inclined to believe. As clever the writers have been with straddling the two worlds without coming across too confusing, don’t they realise that watching Michael move to Portland is a lot more interesting than watching him pack?
I can’t be the only one losing patience with Awake, but I’m also keen to see more. If it gets cancelled, I won’t be surprised, but I also get the feeling that, given the grace of more time, the show could end up being one of the smartest things on television. Almost everything sci-fi/crime based starts off procedural (Fringe; Angel), but in this cancellation-happy world, Awake can’t afford to make the little mistakes with the most loyal of fanbases.