From the beginning, Awake's Michael Britten has seen his delusion about seeing two different versions of reality as a possible strength: He can learn something in one world and use it in the other. As he tells Bird in last night's episode, sometimes he knows stuff that he shouldn't be able to know. So being out of touch with reality is like Britten's superpower — but it carries a huge cost. And last night, we finally started to see Britten unravel in both universes.
I'm calling it: Neither world is the "real world." Either that, or Britten really is psychic. At this point, we've seen major information cross over in both directions — in the episode where Rex is kidnapped in Green World, Britten learns the location of the kidnapper's safe house in Red World. But he learns about Emma's pregnancy in Green World and it turns out to be true in Red World. And then there's the computer password he learns in Red World, that works in Green World.
If one of these worlds was a dream and the other one was "real," he couldn't bring factual information from one world to the other — or rather, it wouldn't go both ways. So either they're both real, or neither of them is. I'm guessing neither, based on a lot of little inconsistencies that people have pointed out.
So the real question is, is the "conspiracy" that has encircled Britten also just one of his delusions? The show certainly seems to flirt with that idea, having him leap to huge conclusions that just randomly turn out to be true. And both of Britten's shrinks sensibly point out that there's no way he could have identified Det. Hawkins late at night through his side mirror, when Hawkins was in the process of running Britten's car off the road.
Plus think about this logically: the dirty cops (who include Hawkins and his boss, plus Captain Harper) are smuggling stolen heroin through a front company, Westfield. Britten gets an anonymous tip that Westfield is moving heroin, and he starts looking into it. At this point, the dirty cops have a chance to cover their tracks, moving the heroin to a safer location (as they, in fact, do.) But they decide to try and murder a decorated police officer, instead of just putting him off the scent. Instead of killing Britten any one of a hundred ways, like having him die in the line of duty, they decide to stage a road accident when he's driving with his family — and then they fail to kill him. But his stint in the hospital gives them a chance to cover up the Westfield trail, and have one of their crooked cops investigate it and close the case. So even though they failed to kill Britten, they don't try again. Does any of this make sense?
(I know that Harper argues against making a second attempt on Britten, and it's a thing in a few episodes. But still.)
Either this is the most bumbling conspiracy of all time (possible, to be sure) or Britten's imagining the whole thing as his psyche splinters further.
In any case, last night's episode saw Britten go way, way over the line of no return. In one reality, he shoots Det. Hawkins, meaning that if he doesn't expose the conspiracy he's going away for a long time. In the other, he gets accused of murdering his ex-partner Bird, and every cop in his squad is basically instructed to shoot him on sight. Plus he goes around acting like a crazy maniac, and leaving at least one of his therapists concerned he could be a danger to others.
Is this a portrait of someone who's going to extreme lengths to avoid confronting the fact that his son or his wife is dead? (Or both, I'm guessing.) Or is it really the story of someone who gains amazing knowledge and insights from being able to live in two radically different versions of reality? I guess to the extent that we find out anything ever, we'll find out next week.