‘Awake’ 1.08 Recap: “It’s Kind of Hard to Explain”

Did anyone else notice that last week’s episode of ‘Awake’ didn’t feature any murders? Isn’t Britten supposed to be a homicide detective?

In ‘Nightswimming’, a Mob accountant named Marcus narrowly avoids getting blown up in a car bomb explosion. He agrees to testify and go into Witness Protection, but his wife Alina (who allegedly didn’t know what he was involved in) gets really upset at having to leave her entire life behind. She runs off, and Marcus won’t testify without her, so Britten has to track her down and make her understand the importance of starting a new life.

In the other reality, Britten continues to make plans to move to Portland. He tries to transition Vega to work with his most reliable C.I., but the man (who considered Britten a friend, not just a business contact) feels betrayed at being pawned off on a newbie, and gives them a bad tip about a heist at an electronics warehouse. Things all work out when Britten makes apologies for being so insensitive.

Both of these cases tie directly to the events in Britten’s personal life, as if preparing him to move on. He has difficulty letting go of all the crap he’s accumulated, but eventually decides that his wife is more important than his stuff. The episode gets its title when Britten and his wife re-create an old date by secretly skinny-dipping in a public pool late at night. (Well, it gets the title from that and the R.E.M. song.)

Back to the question I asked in the introduction: Why would a homicide detective work cases involving armed robbery or Mob informants? Is this intended as some sort of sneaky clue about the nature of Britten’s two dream-like realities (maybe he’s not a detective at all!), or is it just sloppy writing from TV hacks who don’t know anything about what police detectives actually do? I want to give the show the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes I wonder.

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