'Awake' Review: "Nightswimming"


Awake’ stirs up its eighth episode in “Nightswimming” where Britten (Jason Isaacs) finds himself relocating a couple through witness protection, while dealing with his wife Hannah's eagerness to move to Oregon in the other reality. The action is pretty lacking this week, but "Nightswimming" does continue the rich thematic character development the series has been known to build for ‘Awake."

Now, you’ve seen the episode and want to know how the show fares toward the ending run of its first season, whether or not the show can hold up under its continually convoluted premise! We’ve seen the latest, so what does “Nightswimming” bring to the surface, waves of pleasure, or a riptide of incoherence?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about the eighth episode “Nightswimming”!

One random night, some uniform cops make smalltalk waiting in their patrol car, when a call comes in about an illegal entry.  They speed to the scene, catching a glimpse of a naked figure running away from them, seeming up a tall diving board.  With their guns drawn, the figure steps out from the shadows atop the diving board to reveal…Detective Britten!  Not sure why he’s naked, but he explains his job, and carefully tosses down his badge to identify himself.

Some time earlier, a man exits his home and attempts to drive off, but the car stalls.  When it overheats, the man gets out to examine the engine, realizing the destruction under the hood and diving out of the way before a bomb blows the car sky high!  It turns out the man is named Marcus, an accountant for a deadly mobster whose decided to eliminate any potential threats in his organization.  Britten and Byrd inform him that they’ll need to place him in WITSEC, along with his wife.  Once they’ve tracked down his wife Alina and brought her up to speed on the situation, Alina breaks down at the thought of leaving behind their old life, not having known of her husband’s real job.

They take the couple to a motel in the interim, though Alina continues protesting the things they’ll be leaving behind, words that reverberate in Britten’s red world as he observes Hannah packing away a number of old boxes for goodwill in preparation of their move to Oregon.  Britten protests that he may wish to save certain items, including an old mix-tape he made for Hannah, but makes sure to explain that he’s being sentimental rather than hesitant to make the move.

Some time later at a local bar, Britten takes Vega to meet with his confidential informant Jake, with the intent to pass him off to Vega after he moves to Oregon.  Jake doesn’t take too kindly to the idea however, but offers up a tip about a potential heist from an electronics warehouse later that night.  Later that night, Britten, Vega and a team surveil the warehouse, with a team via radio, though nothing ends up happening.  Vega theorizes that Jake was playing Britten, as the whole evening turns out to be a bust.

Back in the blue world, Britten wakes up to news that Alina disappeared from their hotel, and Marcus insists that he wont testify against his mobster boss until his wife is found, extolling his love for her in spite of their having grown apart.  Britten and Byrd check her phone and credit card charges, and Britten notes a prior charge for The Palace Hotel, which seems like a clue linked with the Palace electronics warehouse of his other reality.  Investigating the hotel, Britten and Byrd learn that Alina didn’t stay there alone, and gather from the bartender that she palled around with a rather fit companion decidedly not her husband.  Scandal!

Across town, mobster Maxim’s thugs break into Alina's suitor Greg Holland’s home, looking to find Alina!  They tie him up, and attempt to remain silent while Britten and Byrd visit the property, but an upturned glass table on Greg’s part alerts the detectives to something wrong, who then bust in and take down the thugs.  Greg, as a non-sexual companion and friend of Alina’s genuinely professes not to know where she is, but alerts Britten to her genuine love of her husband prior to his job, and Marcus himself confesses that Alina might have gone to visit a motel they frequented in their youth.

Britten indeed finds Alina there, offering to put the pair in WITSEC separately, though Alina ultimately decides she loves her husband enough to start over with him, rather than hold on to memories of the past.

Britten takes her lesson to heart, as in the other reality Hannah wakes to find Britten loading the boxes onto the Goodwill truck, having decided he doesn’t need to hang onto old memories if he doesn’t have to.  Our hero then tells his wife to prepare for a night out, stopping to visit CI Jake beforehand.  Jake confesses that he gave Britten the wrong information about the heist, but agrees that even though Britten bungled their friendship, he’d be willing to at least share a dinner with Vega to determine if the two could work together.  The info was good, just the wrong details, something he’ll share with Vega alone while Britten rots in Oregon.  Poor bastard.

Later that night, Britten takes his wife to their old college hangout, the pool where they first met.  They reminisce about their initial courtship, before deciding to re-live old times by skinny-dipping off the high-dive!  Of course, technology has changed a bit, and a a pool surface sensor alerts authorities to their presence, bring us back to the episodes beginning as authorities chase Britten back up the diving board, while Hannah makes a naked beeline for the car.

There may only be a few episodes left in ‘Awake’s’ freshman season, and there still hasn’t been much movement in exploring some of the mythology behind the show, but "Nightswimming" paints a nice portrait of how the series can operate by exploring some of its more philosophical and emotional beats rather that waste every episode on action.

What did you think of “Nightswimming?”  Does ‘Awake’ still seem too slow and involved for you to get into?  You’ve heard our take, now let us know in the comments below if you’ve “awoken” to this fascinating series as well!

Filed Under: Awake, NBC
Categories: TV News, TV Reviews
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