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‘Awake’ Review: “Ricky’s Tacos”

Awake Ricky's Tacos
NBC

Awake’ orders up  its seventh episode in “Ricky’s Tacos” where Britten (Jason Isaacs) finds himself pushed into an old case that somehow ties into his car accident, while investigating a teen girl’s suicide and a body found encased in solid concrete.  The conspiracy aspect of the series might not all be there yet, but “Ricky’s Tacos” at least earns credit for attempting to bring ‘Awake” out of its more procedural comfort zone.

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 “Ricky’s Tacos” serve, indigestion, or a hearty helping of action?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about the sixth episode “Ricky’s Tacos”!

In the red world, Britten and Hannah confer with the realtor over some last-minute repairs the house needs before they make any attempt to sell.  While Hannah still questions if Britten is ready to go through with this, he assures her that the only thing left to do is tell Captain Harper.  He heads to Ricky’s Tacos for some lunch, when all of a sudden the voice behind the drive-through instructs him not to go to Portland, that he’ll never learn the truth of what’s really going on unless he keeps investigating the “Westfield Case!”  Of course, by the time he pulls up to the window, the employee has no idea what he’s talking about.

Britten travels to the Westfield distribution center, but the building has since been vacated, with no clue but a bag from Ricky’s Tacos.  In the blue world, Dr. Evans theorizes that the event might be his subconscious mind’s way of delaying the move to Portland, by presenting him with a new mystery that needs to be solved.  Britten attempts to investigate the case in the blue world, before being called to the scene of young girl Sabrina Ferris’ apparent suicide.  Apparently the young girl had invited over the portly, oft-picked on Tim Wax to study, seducing him, crying and fleeing to the roof, from where she leapt to her death.  Next, Sabrina’s father shows up (hey, it’s ‘Breaking Bad’s Ted Beneke!), who dislikes Tim, but knew that his daughter found him harmless.

Later, the case proves even darker as examination revealed vaginal tearing, suggesting Sabrina’s sex with Tim may not have been consensual.  Though in the interrogation Tim insists that he never meant to hurt her, he accepts culpability for the crime.

In the red world, after Britten fails to get any useful information from the captain on the Westfield case, Britten and Vega come across a well-preserved cement corpse at a construction site, revealed to be that of one Pablo Cabrera.  They notify his brother Jose of the news, as Britten observes a curious tiger tattoo on the man’s back that reminds him of a parking pass seen in Sabrina’s car.

Following up on the cue, Britten retrieves the parking pass from Tioga college in the blue world, inviting Byrd to take a drive to San Diego with him, as Byrd scarfs some Ricky’s Tacos.  Byrd declines, and Britten heads to visit Tioga college, where he visits with Sabrina’s ex-boyfriend Chris.  Chris reveals that Sabrina had come to see him some days prior, despite their having broken up a year ago over Sabrina’s abstinence, though when she arrived days ago she seemed distraught, intent on having sex and even talking of having a baby with Chris.  Chris insists there should be something in Sabrina’s omnipresent diaries, when Britten learns from Byrd that Tim’s been convicted, despite their theory that she might have been raped previously and attempted to cover a pregnancy.

In the red world Britten investigates the Westfield building once more, unknowingly followed by agents of the conspiracy between Captain Harper and the mysterious “Carl!”  Carl feels that measures must be taken to stop Britten from learning any more, though Harper insists she’s handling it.  Meanwhile, Britten and Vega have no luck tracking down anyone who remembers Jose Cabrera by photo, though they do note commonly heard stories about an “El Diablo,” a tattooed man known for his drinking and fighting on the job.

In the blue world, Britten finds the same empty space at that reality’s Westfield address, and when the results of Sabrina’s autopsy come back that she was four weeks pregnant, he and Byrd pay a visit to Mr. Ferris.  While searching Sabrina’s room, Britten notices that the dresser had repeatedly been moved to barricade the door, as well as the lack of any supposed journals elevates suspicion.  Given that Sabrina’s sister Ally seems reclusive from her father as well, they decide to bring Mr. Ferris in, insinuating that he molested his own children.  Mr. Ferris’ lawyer is of course outraged, but Captain Harper manages to get the confession from young Ally with some heartfelt one-on-one and cocoa.  With Mr. Ferris arrested, Tim Was goes free.  (Yeah, Fat Neil!)

In the red world, Dr. Lee notes that the artistic concept of “pentimento” might be relevant to Britten’s experiences, as he tends to replace concepts to better fit his dream’s narrative, such as a simple case like Sabrina’s suicide suddenly becoming more complicated and involved.  The discussion of art leads Britten to a revelation that the tiger tattoo observed on Pablo’s back could likely be a cover for an “El Diablo” tattoo.

He and Vega travel to Pablo’s house, running him down when he attempts to flee, and the interrogation reveals that Pablo is in face Jose himself, having killed and assumed his brother’s identity for the sake of his green card.  Jose insists the murder was an accident, but that he’s since done his best to clean up his act and be the man his dead brother always wanted him to be.

Later in his session with the therapists, Britten wonders why he found nothing of importance in either reality’s Westfield offices, but both doctors agree that Britten’s subconscious might have planted the mystery as a means to keep him from making the move to Portland, keeping him from facing his fears.  In time, he might be able to step back and see the situation more clearly.  Taking the advice to heart, Britten finally informs Captain Harper of his intent to move, and Harper wishes him well, making the call to Carl that their mutual problem seems to have solved itself with Britten’s resignation.

There are only be a few episodes left in ‘Awake’s’ freshman season, and there hasn’t been much movement in exploring some of the mythology behind the show.  ‘Ricky’s Tacos” certainly seems like the show is interested in developing its base a bit beyond simple variations on the common procedural, but there’s probably still a long way to go before it becomes any kind of runaway commercial or critical success.  Still…

What did you think of “Ricky’s Tacos”  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!

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