Last night saw the ending of one of the most creative new dramas of the last few years, as Awake aired its thirteenth and final episode "Turtles All The Way Down". Shortly before the show aired, EW.com caught up with series creator Kyle Killen, and star Jason Isaacs, to discuss the finale. The interview is pretty much spoiler free, so those that still have the show sitting on their DVRs can read without fear. Here's some excerpts from the chat.
Isaacs on what Awake was able to accomplish in a short time frame and his feelings about the finale - "I think we burned briefly but brightly. The fact that we’re not coming back for a second season doesn’t in any way diminish what we managed to do in one season. Some really smart people put their heads together and came up with something different. NBC was very brave to make it and very supportive while we were on. We left nothing off the table. It feels like a real ending. Nobody who’s watched the show is going to come up and want their money back in the street.”
Isaacs on the resolution of an emotional story - "One of those worlds is a dream. It’s not a rip in the fabric of time. It’s not string theory. It was nothing more or less extraordinary than a man who had been in a terrible car crash and could not bear to lose either his wife or his son, so he unconsciously constructed a whole universe in his head. It is a man who is teetering under the weight of this psychological denial."
Killen on whether we'll get a 100% answer to which world is real - "The episode certainly feeds one of those theories. When we wrote the episode, we didn’t know it would be the end of the series, so it would have been impossible to answer that question,” he says. “But you don’t need every question answered. I think what you need is something that feels like an emotional resolve, and I think it definitely offers that. It’s a really satisfying conclusion, and I think it will be a satisfying way to leave the show."
Killen on whether Awake might continue somewhere other than NBC - "There’s so many things aligned against you. Another network doesn’t want damaged goods from a competitor. It’s hard when you’re moving from network to cable, because the budgets and the deals are structured differently. So it’s sort of worse than starting from scratch. It’s not that I wouldn’t be open to it, but I think the limited number of fans that there is needs to be prepared to enjoy the last episode and hopefully see some of the potential of the series realized."
Closing comments about the finale - Killen: "Britten’s still fighting for his life in one world, and in the other world, he doesn’t know that he’s walked right into the heart of the conspiracy against him. He’s asked his Captain, one of the very people who was trying to get rid of him, for help. So there’s just as much explosive craziness in this episode as the last one, but it then takes itself to a whole other level when it becomes about Britten’s state of mind."
Isaacs: "When the script came in, I had to go down to the writers building and check that they weren’t all drinking because I felt they had really finally gone insane. This very tenuous hold that Britten’s had on his sanity all this time begins to fray. It’s clear that you’re watching a guy with deep psychological problems from the beginning — but he’s a pretty good cop in both worlds, and he’s a reasonable father and a reasonable husband, and he managed to hold it all together because he’s that kind of alpha male. I can promise you by the end, he’s not holding very much together at all. I hope everyone’s just sitting there in silence for 10 minutes thinking, Whew, I couldn’t have taken anymore of that. Hopefully, your brains and hearts will hurt.”
And I'll leave you with this humorous anecdote from Isaacs about shooting the naked skinny dipping scene at the campus pool from the episode "Night Swimming" - "I thought it would be very, very funny to show my butt going up and down the stairs there, and somebody somewhere thought it would break Standards & Practices. Also, there was a lady at the campus swimming pool there, god bless her, who came up and said right at the end of the night, ‘Are you naked?’ I said, ‘Well, not naked, I’ve got a small piece of material taped over my genitals,’ and she went, ‘That’s naked!’ I said, ‘It’s completely different.’ She said, ‘I can see your butt crack.’ So I taped a piece of material over my butt crack, too, and we had the last shot to do, where I ran up the stairs. It fell off, because it was just held on by a piece of Scotch tape, and she was furious. I thought they were going to have to withdraw the footage. I’m glad that some of it ended up in the episode.”
Did you watch Awake? Did you find the finale satisifying? Should Killen change his mind about shopping the show around to other channels?