‘Awake’ Season 1, Episode 12: ‘Two Birds’ Recap

Published 3 years ago by

Jason Isaacs Awake Two Birds Awake Season 1, Episode 12: Two Birds Recap

As the creator of Awake, Kyle Killen, put it on Twitter, “Awake is canceled, but still on. Zombie show!” So, in that respect, continuing to cover the late series is somewhat bittersweet. But with ‘Two Birds,’ the writers do seem to be heading toward some kind of resolution that has the unenviable task of explaining the two realities while also tying in the corrupt cop conspiracy in such a way that it doesn’t feel as though the show was waiting for season 2 to be completely resolved.

Ever since ‘The Little Guy,’ Awake has been hinting at a scheme surrounding Det. Britten’s accident (Jason Isaacs) that has Captain Harper (Laura Innes) and what we now know is another precinct’s captain named Carl Kessel (Mark Harelik) as major players. Apparently, the whole thing started when Britten got too close to discovering a large amount of heroin that Harper and Kessel were mixed up in. So naturally – or at least according to Britten’s questionable memory/sanity – the thing to do was assign a fellow detective, Ed Hawkins (Kevin Weisman), to run Britten, his wife Hannah (Laura Allen) and son, Rex (Dylan Minnette) off the road and hope they all died. As luck would have it, the accident left Britten alive, and now full of Jack Bauer-like rage.

Acknowledging the possibility this is all just prelude to a massive twist, the idea that a small group of corrupt cops decided to kill one of their own because he was getting too close to the truth is concrete enough – if you signed on to Awake looking for concrete answers of that particular flavor. If you were hoping to find something a little more tuned to the acknowledgement of Britten’s struggle with grief, the concern of his dual realities, and the promising science-fiction elements contained therein, well, maybe next week’s episode will have what you’re looking for.

All pondering of the conclusion aside, ‘Two Birds’ does manage to start off strong by having Britten try and plead his case to Dr. Lee (B.D. Wong) and Dr. Evans (Cherry Jones), as they both remain highly skeptical of his evidence linking Det. Hawkins to the crash that claimed his wife, or son – depending on the therapist he’s talking with. As in the pilot, there is some fantastic editing and writing that allows two conversations between three people to appear as one cohesive interchange, basically setting up the remainder of the episode.

One of the things Awake has excelled at is showing Britten’s ability to cope with the situation he is in, even if that means not really addressing the catastrophic loss he was dealt. Now, following the breakdown Britten suffered at the thought he was responsible for Rex’s death, that pain has been channeled into anger upon the flimsy excuse he remembered seeing Hawkins’ face in a side view mirror, in the dark, while traveling at high rate of speed. Dr. Lee and Dr. Evans think of this convenient memory and conspiracy as yet another coping mechanism created by Britten to escape the anguish of losing his child and/or wife.

In his determination to chase down Hawkins, Britten sends Rex to his aunt’s house and tells Hannah to stay away from their house. It’s unfortunate that two key players would be pushed aside like that in what is now the series’ penultimate episode, but here’s hoping more of them will be seen next week.

Laura Innes Jason Isaacs Awake Two Birds Awake Season 1, Episode 12: Two Birds Recap

Britten confronts Hawkins in his house, and after shooting him in the leg, manages to get a confession and knowledge of another conspirator (Captain Kessel) before he’s forced to shoot Hawkins in a struggle over a gun. When Det. “Bird” Freeman (Steve Harris) shows up at Hawkins’ house, Britten handcuffs his partner so that he might explain the not-so-subtle details of said conspiracy. After offering a solution to the encrypted laptop containing the proof Britten needs, Freeman knocks his partner out, sending him to the Hannah-verse.

Once there, Britten moves to enlist Freeman’s help again, not once complimenting alternate reality Freeman on his soul patch and mustache. Freeman agrees to copy the file Britten needs from Hawkins’ computer, and in a tense, Pepper Potts vs. Obadiah Stane sequence, the audience waits wondering if some files will copy to a flash drive before the bad guy notices. While Britten is off getting the files hacked, the trio of evil cops, Harper, Kessel and Hawkins decide their only option is to kill Britten and Freeman.

We are left with Hawkins dead in Rex-land and Freeman dead in the Hannah-verse, while Britten is stuck in a holding cell in one reality and possibly dying from a gunshot wound in the other. Beyond how to get Britten out of his respective predicaments, the conspiracy thread appears to have been presented entirely – leaving the larger question regarding the true nature of Britten’s divergent realities and how his existence in both can continue now that he’s ostensibly dying in one.

Since Awake began as an exploration of grief and loss, the conspiracy still feels like an odd disturbance. Here’s hoping the writers find a way to integrate it into the remaining unresolved elements so that this frequently great show may end on a high note.


Awake ends next week with ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ @10pm on NBC. Take a look at a revealing and intriguing preview below:

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  1. Such an utter shame that this show is cancelled. It is hard to watch it knowing that you are watching a dead show. All the possibilities of where this show could have gone from season one were immense. And now we are stuck with Snooki and the Kardashians. Complete and utter shame. I will miss Awake.

    • I am also so disappointed that Awake has been cancelled. I love this show. It’s so frustrating that NBC didn’t see fit to give it another chance. Considering some of the lesser quality shows that are on the air, I simply do not understand how quickly they were willing to let this show go. I’m really going to miss it!

      • I think, at least by NBC numbers, it should have been given a second chance. There are numerous other shows NBC could have cancelled but didn’t. Awake was such a jem and I should have known from the minute it premiered that it was going to be cancelled. Great shows like Awake can’t last anymore. Now people want a trashy sitcom (Whitney) or some mindless reality TV shows. (Jersey Shore) I will be watching next week and it will be bittersweet knowing that I will never be able to watch Michael Britten again.

  2. Still one more left at least. this one wasnt as good as last weeks, but what could be. last weeks was so amazing. Oh well. its weird, when they first introduced the conspiracy element I was like “NO! NO! NO! It doesn’t need that” but they just didn’t bring it up for a w hile. and then when they did it didn’t seem to get in the way. and now I’m actually enjoying that aspect of it. Figures it got cancelled. This show didn’t have any sex or sexual tension storyline. Frankly I’m tired of that kind of crap in shows anyway. Seen it a million times, don’t really care about it. anyway, I though they might kill off bird cause at least hes still alive in the other reality, but then I thought “nah they’re not going to do that” but then they did. I’m glad they were willing to cause its interesting how it played throughout the rest of this episode, probably will affect next week, and might have affected season 2 maybe. so I’m glad they were willing to, but I’m sad for bird. he did not deserve that. Hawkins neds to take a beating next week. oh well awake. this is the best show on right now besides breaking bad. Oh well. this is one of the best shows ever. up there with breaking bad, boomtown, the wire, dexter, malcolm in the middle, trailer park boys, king of the hill, and some more I cant think of right now.

    This episode was so good!

  3. wish it wasnt getting cancelled fml

  4. They coulda done such exciting things with a second season too. Like one reality where he’s in prison for murder, and another where he’s proved his case, and is seeing how far the rabbit hole goes.

  5. If this episode accomplished only one thing it was showcasing the genuine talent of every cast member involved with this short-lived and brilliant series. Though the absence of Rex’s tennis coach has been noticeable, the addition of other characters has been welcome and really made it uneasy to prefer one reality over the other. Initially I hoped that Britten was the one in limbo, comatose and being visited by both family members who wanted to see him recover. The conspiracy works for me and I’m anxious to see how the writers will tie-up the two realities with equal aplomb. Sadly, this show was better than network television deserved.

  6. Not happy at all. Love this show!!

  7. I’m sick of the networks pushing good shows off the air. It’s like they require a show to be a big colossal hit right away. They have no patience for something to build a fanbase and then expound on that. Awake is one of the best made shows on tv right now. Thankfully TNT picked up Southland so there’s something good on tv. Otherwise, it’s stupid vapid reality shows that pander to the lowest common denominator. Brilliant shows like Seinfeld would have never made in today’s market.

  8. Cant believe they’ve cancelled such a show. I really looked forward to watching this and will miss it terribly. Reminds me of Life From Mars and Amsterdam which were so good but the networks didn’t give them a chance. Also His Own Worse Enemy. I’m so disappointed but glad for a good finale which I’ve already watched as it was leaked online. I’m watching it on right now though at its scheduled time. Thanks Kyle Killen for a great finale.