71° Good Afternoon
71° Good Afternoon

'Awake:' Happy ending (and the meaning of it all)

Jason Isaacs as Michael Britten stars in the

Jason Isaacs as Michael Britten stars in the recently canceled "Awake." Credit: NBC

As we all bid goodbye to one of the most promising new series of the season — at least as I do — let's see if we can figure out exactly what happens in the closing minutes of "Awake," which ended happily and with words from protagonist Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs): "I'm perfect." 

Basically it ended with Britten reunited with his wife and son. Both were alive, and both standing there smiling, right next to him. He had just awakened and there was no green or red bracelet — the trick he learned to deduce which dream (or reality) he was in — the one in which his son was alive or in which his wife was.

It was just as if all was normal, and "normal" meaning before both or either were killed in that car accident engineered by the evil Capt. Harper .?.?.(Laura Innes, who really seems just too darn nice to play an evil character .?.?.) 

So to recap, he's in his final therapy session with the Cherry Jones character, who seems quite pleased with herself that he's chosen her reality, which of course then would mean Britten's sacrificed one of his cherished family members. Then he realizes, what if he was just having "a dream while he was dreaming .?.?."  In other words — I think — as opposed to having to make a choice between one dream, or potential reality, or the other, he merely has to make a choice  of  dreams — or in this case, the dream of having his family reunited with him. It's a perfectly reasonable choice because neither of the other propositions (the red bracelet world or the green bracelet world) were technically "provable" anyway, but merely one dream of the other, and vice versa.

That was — I think — the meaning of Cherry's line "it's turtles all the way down."  In other words, the idea of infinite regress, where to prove one proposition, you need another proposition, which in turn requires another, and so on ad infinitum. There is no provable reality, only the infinite string of attempts to prove the reality, like mirrors facing each other.

Britten says in effect, the choice is mine to decide how I want this dream to play out, since there's no earthly reason why I need to make a choice between red or green any longer.

Does any of this make sense?

Sorry, if not, but you can now see — I suppose — why "Awake" was canceled. This may be the first and last series in TV history based on some obscure logical proposition from Greek philosophy.

And bless the show for at least trying. We were lucky to have something this challenging and original, if only for 13 episodes.


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