by Josie Kafka
“Something must have really turned her around.”
This week, Awake presented us with one likely possibility for what’s going on, and one mythological long shot. Kate’s radically different fates in both worlds seems to confirm that one of these realities is a dream, since her paths diverged before the accident that claimed Rex’s and/or Hannah’s life/lives. On the other hand, we could argue that this means there are two universes that exist regardless of Britten’s personal experience, and Britten just happens to exist in both of them, perhaps because his double died in the accident that didn’t kill him.
Too Fringe? Too Lost? Too Community? I don’t know, but I do know that the first two of those shows taught me two important life lessons: theorizing about alternate realities is an obsessive occupation, and I absolutely love it. Logic tells me that the answers here are simple, because the goal seems to be a character-based drama with police elements rather than a crazy sci-fi madcap romp. But, for now, we can romp it we want to.
Last week, Britten had trouble connecting with Hannah because she missed Rex in a way he did not. This week, the difficulty comes from Britten’s relationship with Rex, who is working through the anger phase of grief while Britten is still stuck in the denial phase…or an alternate reality. Or whatever. The lesson from Good Kate was to keep pushing: her mother’s 1001st time of forcing her to live her life and not her grief is what got her past the tragedy of her sister’s death. Britten did that with Rex: pushed, pushed, and finally broke through.
It’s good that he did, if Blue Kate’s fate is any indication of the extremes that grief can lead us to. Blue Kate’s desperate lostness was horribly affecting, particularly given her brief testimonial from Hannah, and the symbolism of the paper airplane that wouldn’t stop flying: unlike the toy, Sad Kate fell, crumpled, died without dying.
Good Kate’s mother pushed her, and Britten pushed Rex. But who pushes him? Dr. Evans and Dr. Lee encourage him, and Dr. Lee is often confrontational. But if one of these realities is a dream, is Britten’s refusal to accept that any different from Kate’s refusal to move beyond her sister’s grief? Britten saw the parallels with Rex’s case, but Britten resisted applying that interpretation to himself, despite the coaching. Britten is a savior, but can he save himself?
The mystery this week was fairly well done, all things considered: the red wine stain in the red reality was a nice red non-herring (a tilapia, perhaps?), and I love that this show never relies on wacky CSI stunts in lieu of good ol’ fashioned shoe leather. Blue Kate’s complicity in the murder of Charlie is fascinating from a dream-symbolism perspective, too: Is it just a sign of how far she’d fallen? Or a remnant of Britten’s own guilt about being the (possibly intoxicated) driver of the car during the crash?
In the red reality, the answer was equally tantalizing: an alternate reality (aka, “a lie”) was constructed in order to hide something bigger. Originally, the detectives looked for the wrong cover-up, searching for proof of the victim’s affair with her boss. But Britten’s “instinct” (aka, “knowledge gleaned from dream world/alternate reality/real reality”) showed them the real story—something they hadn’t suspected at all.
Is that a clue to us? That we’re looking in the wrong place? The safe in the green universe led Britten to the shaving can in the red universe: that would seem to indicate that the green universe is real, since Britten can’t (as far as we know) see the future in his “dreams.” But we saw red-reality Kate before green-reality Kate, which would indicate that green-reality Kate was a dream that made use of that coincidental meeting to let Britten work through his fears about Rex. Of course, Britten’s shrinks seemed to play havoc with his sense of which came first, even though we know we saw the red world first.
My whole alternate realities theory is looking more and more likely...
Bits and Pieces:
• I used to play tennis, so I speak from experience: a few broken strings do not constitute a broken racket. And I don’t mean that metaphorically, and I know I’m ignoring the symbolism with nit-picky nonsense. And, yeah, 'cause I'm awesome I realized it was his mom's racket, like, way early.
• I’m trying not to project Lost onto this show, but the title of this episode is making it hard. And the paper airplane.
• Speaking of names, Kate used the stage-name of Amber Blue in the green reality. (That’s why I’ve called her Blue Kate. I like the pun.) That’s a lot of colors.
• Completely random quibble: I’m having a hard time remembering the character’s names. I think of them as “the young detective,” “the wife,” “the son.” Anyone else?
Three out of four rackets.