There wasn’t much to "Nightswimming" other than some very well disguised nudity.
No conspiracies, no killers, not even murders. Just a procedural case that mirrored Britten’s life at home. And, although I’m always excited to look at and analyze the layers of all those overarching plots of Awake, at the end of the day a solid, well done procedural that pushes the characters forward is more than enough to be highly entertaining for an hour.
Which is exactly what "Nightswimming" does.
I had my doubts in the beginning of the episode. I had assumed tonight might be another penguin-esque outing as we watched Britten stark naked on top of that high dive. Could this be the episode that all of the stress of dealing with two realities causes a mental break? Could this be his San Diego moment?
Instead, just as it served as the introduction to the episode, it also served to introduce us to what makes Hannah and Michael so special. For most of the series, there hasn’t been much chemistry between the two. It’s understandable, and I didn’t (nor did I expect) things to change quickly. They both need to work towards a life without Rex.
That (red) reality is made even more apparent as Rex isn’t to be found in the episode. Stylistically, and narratively, it’s the right decision. The weight of Britten and Hannah’s journey together would have been diminished had we watched Britten and Rex together, and Awake must be given its due credit for only utilizing characters when the plot necessitates it rather than because they’re just there.
Getting back to Hannah and Michael, it’s nice to watch as they reconnect with each other. Michael is able to begin the move emotionally by giving away the things Hannah has decided they don’t need anymore – blindly putting his trust in her. The Green reality replicates this theme as well. The couple heading into witness protection had started to grow apart, and it seems once they were able to rediscover why they love each other; why the stuff they accumulated together didn’t have the same meaning as being together; they were able to put their trust back into one another.
Again, this is further brought home as Michael and Hannah share their high dive moment together as they decide to go skinny-dipping into their old college pool.
However, as nice as everything is about “Swimming” I’m still having a few lingering doubts about the episode. Did Britten decide to donate those things to Goodwill since he technically has a copy of them in the Green reality? Is Vega always going to be this insufferable all the time? I get it buddy, you’re not into the way Britten conducts his police work, but can you at least pretend to go along with things?
Real Reality Check
This is a tough one because there really isn’t a need necessarily to figure out which one is the real one in this episode. If Dr. Lee and Dr. Evans were present tonight this might be slightly easier as we here their takes on each side. But where’s the fun in saying neither or both? Britten is certainly much more open to moving now compared to prior, and this could point either way: he could be ready for a fresh start or he could be dreaming and it doesn’t really matter what happens because the dream will eventually become a distance and foggy memory.
Of course, that could easily be argued for the Green reality if slightly tweaked. He could easily be trying to keep everything the same after losing the love of his life and the woman who had such a direct impact on everything in his daily life. Hannah has an impact on their home, their possessions, Rex.
But, it could be argued that, as Britten is more and more willing to move on with his life, that the Green reality is the mental chain that is holding him back. The more steps he takes to begin to break the bonds that are keeping him there, the better his chances of moving on, and the move is the first step in the break.
We could debate and analyze ourselves in circles for the rest of the year and still never be any closer than we are right now, and tonight’s winner is Red because it is so nice to see why Hannah and Michael love each other.
What did you think of tonight's Awake? Is the show still holding your interest? What did you think of cases tonight? Were they a nice change of pace or is Awake better off with their tried and true formula?