Another week of dual lives is upon us as Michael (Jason Isaacs) tries to understand his emotionally distant son, who has begun acting out…though if you’ve watched these in order, it’s not for the reasons that you expect.
Let’s bitch it out…
I knew going into the episode that this was one of the later ones produced thanks to reading Alan Sepinwall’s thoughts, but I imagine that folks watching last night may have been confused about the change of heart in Dylan Minette’s Rex. Last week he was kidnapped and left to dehydrate in the desert. This week he’s pulling away from Michael and starting fights at tennis, and Michael doesn’t understand what’s happened.
If you didn’t know the episodes were airing out of order (thanks NBC!), then you may have thought to yourself: Isn’t Rex doing this because he’s recovering from the kidnapping? Why doesn’t Michael realize that?
And therein lies one of my problems with the show. As much as I think it’s a daring concept and it’s being brilliantly acted (especially by Isaacs and Minette), if this is actually a later episode and we’re still addressing issues of Michael not understanding his son and Rex acting out – like we saw in the pilot – then there’s a very real danger that we can expect there to be no character development in upcoming episodes. Perhaps I’m wrong, and I’m not suggesting that we need to focus on the mythology introduced in episode two, but I am expecting Michael to make progress with both his wife and son as the show progresses. I need something more than the case of the week connecting between the two lives because that is absolutely not what I’m watching the show for.
If anything, this week demonstrates the limits of depending so much on the case of the week format. Although I really enjoy Brianna Brown (she played Lynne, the undercover agent on Homeland, in1x02-1×03 ‘Grace’ & ‘Clean Skin’), neither of the two Kate cases are really intriguing. The point of having the former nanny on board is a) to make the emotional connection to Rex and b) to demonstrate to Michael (after speaking to both Kates about what led to their recovery or spiral, respectively) that he needs to play an active role in helping Rex recover from losing mom, Hannah (Laura Allen).
I can appreciate that this is the main point of the episode, but there’s no reason why this message had to be delivered through casework. Why not just have Kate as the center of the stories: either directly involved in both murder cases if we have to have murder, or just forgo the murder plots completely and have Michael run into her outside of work? I know that the series needs to have an entry point for casual viewers, but after only four episodes I’m already really bored of these cases. Do we actually think that they’re going to contribute anything to the larger world of the show? So far, they haven’t and they reduce screen time for both Rex and Hannah. Considering the realness and intimacy of the Rex/Michael scenes, I’m just not satisfied spending huge amounts of time investigating crimes that don’t matter.
And somehow I have a feeling that this is going to be an obstacle for my enjoyment of the show moving forward…
- I thought the credits are new, but I wasn’t sure (Thanks to Speakeasy for clearing that up). This smacks a bit like NBC worrying that the premise is too complicated for late viewers, though it’s no biggie to sit through shrinks Wong and Jones talk out Michael’s Red vs. Green lives for us
- At one point, Hannah has to wake Michael up because he’s slept late in Red world. Is this a sign that living two lives is beginning to take its toll on him?
What did you think, Awake fans? Was last night’s episode enough of a case vs family balance for you, or did you find, like me, that the cases simply aren’t interesting enough? Did you call Rex’s racket being his mother’s when we first saw the fight? And do you miss the mythology elements introduced a few weeks ago? Sound off below.
Awake airs at 10pm EST Thursdays on NBC.