'Awake' tried to jump-start a mythology, but will it wake up viewers?

AWAKE

Image Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Last night, the second episode of Awake spent most of its time with Jason Isaacs’ cop Michael Britten flicking back and forth between his alternate worlds, tracking down a “little guy” (the title of the episode). But it reserved its deeper mystery for the final couple of minutes.

Britten’s boss, Laura Innes’ police captain Harper, met with a guy on a park bench, which is a traditional TV and movie visual signal that hushed, confidential info is going to be exchanged. She made a disparaging comment about how the fellow and the people he represents were “insane” in “taking out [Britten's] whole family.” This would suggest that the car accident we saw in the series pilot, with Britten behind the wheel, was no mere accident.

Innes, who’d been seen peeking at Britten’s computer screen and advising him to take early retirement, or at least more time off, earlier in the episode, said she would “protect” mystery man’s interests, but implored him to let her “handle Britten … You do anything else, this will get much worse before it gets better.”

Innes’ Harper had a question for mystery man: “That guy you used for the accident — was he short?” MM became a tad anxious. “I suppose so — why? If you think he remembers anything… ” But Innes cut him off, saying, “It’s nothing.”

But we know it is something. Is Britten slowly beginning to remember more details about what led up to the auto accident? Why are people above this cop’s pay grade interested in him, and in doing him harm?

I’ve said before, I kinda hope Awake does not go down the mythology-that-must-be-decoded route — I don’t think the series needs that extra bonus of perplexity at a time when too many TV shows try to layer in thick backstory mysteries. On the other hand, Awake‘s just-okay premiere ratings suggest it may need an extra layer of viewers to keep it going.

What did you think of last night’s final twist?

Twitter: @kentucker

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