Last week the finale of ‘Awake’ aired leaving more questions than answers. Now that the official word has come down that the series has been cancelled many viewers have offered their own theories as to which reality was real and what the last scene could mean. In a way to help bring a conclusion to the series, EW interviewed creator Kyle Killen to bring in his perspective of the show and what season 2 would have brought.
If you haven’t watched the series finale, then you might want to stop reading here as Killen does touch on the ending and continued reading of this post will spoil the episode for you.
The one thing that Killen wanted to make sure was to let viewers know that the entire season was not a dream or something Britten’s mind was fabricating while in a coma (which he never was in). “The idea that we’re saying nothing happened,” he explains, “… was something we actively fought against. You can still hate the finale, you just can’t say that that’s what it did. It’s just wrong and can actually be disproven watching the last four minutes.”
The accident was considered a real event and the series was always meant to be about how Britten dealt with his unexpected grief and how the red and green worlds were a way for him to cope. “That was 100% the rules of the game as far as we were concerned,” Killen insisted. In the last few minutes of the series finale, you see Britten talking to Dr. Evans. According to Killen, in that conversation he comes up with the idea of “what if for the first time (he) had dream-like dreams in between being awake and being asleep? Once (Britten) does that, it’s almost as if his brain seizes that moment and creates precisely the thing that psychologically he’s dying for — and that is a moment with everyone together…That’s how the season ended — while he’s able to see his wife and child together, if you take a step back, what it really represents is a further fracturing of his psyche.”
The finale was actually written before the announcement of the show’s cancellation so no special thought was given to reveal which world was real. Arguments could be made for either world to be genuine and Killen was more than happy to leave viewers hanging. As to whether this would have been answered in the second season, Killen had this to say:
“… season 2 wasn’t about which (world) was real, it was about them both being real to him, and they’re going in very different directions, so how is he going to go on with them separating so dramatically.You still would have had red and you still would have had green. “
But what about that third reality with Britten’s wife and son both alive?
”We left ourselves open to the possibility… whether there was an ongoing narrative we wanted to tell there or whether we wanted to use it as simply a surreal dream space that we could access when we wanted to and how we wanted to that let us bring other weirder elements into the show that we’d always wanted to try.”
Killen likened this third possibility to the Black Lodge seen in the show ‘Twin Peaks’ where anything could happen. This third reality, although leaving us with a warm and fuzzy feeling, may not be the happy ending we were all left to think. Unfortunately we’ll never get to know what direction the producers would have taken with all three possible worlds.
The fact that the series finale of ‘Awake’ was controversial enough to garner different theories is a mark of a good show. It didn’t disappoint like some finales (i.e. ‘Lost’) and didn’t completely leave you hanging as most shows that are abruptly pulled often do. If you’d like to read more of Killen’s insights about the show’s finale, head over to EW.
Now that the first and only season is over, what are your thoughts of how it ended?