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‘Awake’ Review: “Slack Water”

Awake Slack Water
NBC

Awake’ dreams up its tenth episode in “Slack Water” where Britten (Jason Isaacs) and Hannah meet with their son’s pregnant girlfriend Emma to see how involved they could be, while Britten investigates a robbery that isn’t what it seems.  There are only two more episodes until the season (possibly series) finale, and “Slack Water” doesn’t really work much toward any over-arching plot, but once again splits the difference for a solid procedural effort.

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 “Slack Water” bring to the surface, a tense who-dun-it, or a paint-by-numbers mystery?

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

Picking up where we left off last week, Britten tells Hannah that Rex had gotten his girlfriend pregnant about 5 months ago (carefully ignoring how he knew), and Hannah quickly resolves to stick a pin in that whole moving thing to figure out how they’re going to be involved.

Meanwhile in the blue world, Britten and Byrd try to figure out the murder of a local drug dealer in a shady building, whose video games and stash were stolen, the gunman also killing life-long resident Maya King in the process of his escape.  Poor Maya had no family anymore as the landlord Curtis Wilson explains, and he’d hoped that she would move out of the building rather than place her faith in the community to improve.  Hmm, wonder if that might come into play later…

Back in red, Captain Harper hands off a high-profile drug lord bust to Vega, given that Britten is theoretically leaving for Oregon any day.  From there, we delve back into the conspiracy plot as Harper meets with the mysterious Carl, who remains impatient about Britten’s departure, while his mysterious shipment of heroin oxidizes waiting for the detective to clear town.  Is that all the conspiracy is about?

Britten and Hannah get a chance to meet with Emma and her parents to discuss the pregnancy, though Emma’s parents Angela and Joaquin remain adamant that Emma carry the baby to term before giving it up in a closed adoption, in spite of Hannah’s offer to raise it herself.  Regardless of Emma’s parents insistence, Hannah seems to think she saw a glimmer of regret in Emma’s eyes, perhaps that she wasn’t speaking entirely for herself.

Meanwhile in the other world, Britten and Byrd manage to track some of the stolen video games and laptop to a pawn shop, in the process tracking down the suspect who sold them.  Rather than their man however, the nigh-homeless delinquent they catch turns out to have found the stolen equipment in a dumpster, putting the detectives firmly back at square one.  After all, why would the killer steal the video game equipment, only to dump it later?

While Hannah tries once more and fails to convince Emma to give the baby to the Brittens, questioning her own projections in the process, the whole station congratulates red world Vega for his successful drug bust, even putting the young detective on TV!  Still, it catches Britten’s eye that the house Vega made the drug bust at seems suspiciously familiar to one on the cover of the blue world’s recovered video games, providing new inspiration.  A technician helps Britten set up the video game, even finding the murder victim Deon’s international playing buddy, who reveals in a video chat that Deon heard a gunshot before his own death.  But if that were true, wouldn’t that mean that Ms. King were the first to be shot?  Who would want to kill Maya King?

Britten and Byrd pay a visit to Maya’s friend Pearl in a local nursing home, who in between mistaking Byrd for her absentee son reveals that the landlord Curtis Wilson had been paying for most of the building’s former residents to move into this nursing home, something Maya repeatedly turned him down for.  As it turns out, Wilson had been buying up the whole block, and the few tenants remaining prevented him from selling them out.  But given that Wilson’s alibi for the murders checks out, who could have done the deed?

The pair manage to track down local tweaker Milo Owens, who fairly easily cops to Wilson having put him up to the task of killing King, and murdering a second innocent to make it look like a simple robbery gone bad.  Owens agrees to wear a wire in a meeting with Wilson, and once they catch Wilson on tape uttering the magic words, LAPD swoops in to catch that law-breaking landlord!  Truly, justice for the King.

Back in the red world, Emma shows up to the Brittens’ doorstep, having finally been reached by Hannah’s words that she might want to keep part of her baby’s life.  Having walked out on her own parents for trying to manipulate her decision, Emma comes to stay with the Brittens, taking comfort in the simple things like baths and fresh tea.  Husband and wife discuss the matter on their own, coming to the conclusion that they shouldn’t move to Oregon after all!

Not all is celebration however, as Britten politely explains to Captain Harper at his (ruined) surprise going away party that he won’t actually be leaving anymore, and the captain’s face sinks when she realizes what her mysterious conspirators might do with this news.  After a long party, the Brittens arrive home to find Emma curled up with an ‘X-Files’ marathon (we love this girl already), and asking that they stay with her to watch in a tender, strangely saccharine moment.

Realistically, ‘Awake’ has reached a point in its first season where it can no longer ignore its own over-arching plot, so it looks like we’ll have to wait until next week before the show really starts ramping up.  In the meantime, things aren’t looking great considering that NBC moved the two-part finale out of sweeps week in favor of ‘Community,’ but at the very least, ‘Awake’ remains if nothing else solid.

What did you think of “Slack Water?”  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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