Awake episode 9 review: Game Day

A last-minute twist rescues the latest episode of Awake from being consigned to the 'yawn' pile. Read Caroline's review here...


This review contains spoilers.

1.9 Game Day

It’s time for another procedural-heavy episode of the most irritating show on the telly – Game Day, in which Britten solves two mind-numbing cases, before uncovering a zinger of a twist, which just about saves the episode from ‘worst-to-date’ status. While we don’t get any further with the central mystery of how Britten can straddle two worlds, we do get some flavour and peril introduced to the dual realities, as we discover that Rex’s girlfriend became pregnant before the fateful car crash.

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I can’t really overstate how great I think this twist is, and it got me as excited about the next few episodes as the Gemini killer did a few weeks ago. Let’s hope it isn’t dropped with the same disregard (although I assume Gemini will pop up again in the season’s final weeks), as a pregnancy, lost in the Rex-hosting green reality but ongoing in the red world, could really liven things up in terms of the push and pull for Britten.

I’ll stress though, this reveal happens in the last ten-minutes of Game Day, and the rest of the episode is dedicated to the two cases Britten must solve. Both are seemingly unrelated, but feed back into the central theme of small events making huge differences to people’s lives. In the green reality, Michael must uncover who has killed a sports fan after his team won the game. His first instinct is to arrest a drunk driver who we see interact with the victim in the teaser, but it turns out his brother did it.

The red world mystery stars Lost‘s Francois Chau, who I’m so used to being creeped out by that I assumed he was up to something in Awake, too. It turns out he’s lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on bad football bets, and his wife decides enough is enough. Burning down their business in order to collect the insurance money, she doesn’t realise that an employee has been staying in the flat above the dry cleaners. With blood on her hands, she’s eventually caught out by Britten. If the game had gone the way it had in the green world, she wouldn’t have had to start the fire.

But really, who are they kidding? Not many people can care about the cases after the fade-to-black. They may be entertaining enough for the 40-minutes they’re on screen, but that’s down to the charisma of Jason Isaacs, and what viewers will take away is always going to be whatever the episode added to the central mythology. Last week had zero progression on that front, so at least this week the pregnancy spanner is thrown into the works this time. Will Britten and Hanna still move to Oregon? I very much doubt it now that they have a potential grandchild living in L.A., but I worry where that leaves stuff with the Gemini killer.

I’m pleased with the storyline, not because of the soap-opera elements present in the set-up, but because it’ll provide some much needed emotional turmoil for Britten. Rex will presumably be grieving the loss of a child he never knew about, at the same time as his father is attending ultrasounds and making plans for said son/daughter. The showrunners seem to be hinting that the dream explanation holds true, which means one of these worlds doesn’t really exist. One way or the other Britten will lose someone, and I’m betting it’s Rex.

Will Awake sort itself out next week? I can’t see how it won’t, seeing as there’s some invested interest in the personal storylines, and limited time to deal with the cause and intentions of the original crash. Depending on what the writers come up with (and their big ideas have been stellar so far), it should be a thoroughly entertaining final run.

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Read our review of last week’s episode, Nightswimming, here.

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