By Mandi Bierly
Updated May 18, 2012 at 08:35 PM EDT
Michael Desmond/NBC


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If you started watching NBC’s Awake and fell off along the way (shame), you may want to tune back in. Last night, the series aired the first hour of its two-part finale. Watch it below. The second and now final hour of the series airs May 24. If you’ve been waiting to see Jason Isaacs’ Det. Michael Britten kick some butt, it’s go time. Some viewers never warmed to the conspiracy-theory aspect of the show — who was behind the car accident that, depending on which of the two realities Britten is awake in, either claimed the life of his wife or his son? It’s been a slow burn. But I suspect even they enjoyed last night’s episode, which went full throttle into Britten trying to find out why he was targeted, how he could prove it, and who needs to pay. Isaacs’ stone cold glare was worth the wait. A rundown:

In the reality where son Rex is alive, Britten had spent the last two days in his garage combing through police reports surrounding the car accident and all the information he could find on Ed Hawkins, the cop he believes he saw run him off the road that fateful night. After a visit to Dr. Evans, who tried to argue that Michael couldn’t possibly have seen Hawkins’ face in his mirror if Hawkins’ headlights were off, Michael decided he’d had enough theorizing. He went to Hawkins’ house and shot him in the leg to get his attention. Hawkins said he’d trade information for protection and immunity, and when Michael put a gun to his head instead, he revealed that cops were taking the heroine that the narcotics division confiscated out of evidence and selling it themselves. They’d kept it at the Westfield Corporation until Britten started asking questions about it. They had to move the shipment and sit on it, which is when “they” decided Britten had to go. Britten wanted to know who “they” is, and Hawkins said he had a lease agreement on his laptop with proof. Unfortunately, Bird, who’d gone to see Evans and then Michael’s house, where he spotted the pictures of Hawkins, showed up at Hawkins’ place just then. Hawkins used the distraction to fight back with a fireplace poker to Michael’s head, and in a struggle over Michael’s gun, Hawkins ended up dead. Michael had to take Bird hostage until he could convince him he was telling the truth about Hawkins and the conspiracy. Bird was able to knock Michael out in the car as Michael reach for Bird’s phone so they could dial a guy who’d be able to hack into Hawkins’ encrypted file on his laptop.

Michael awoke in the reality where Hannah is alive, and knew he had to get Bird to copy the file from Hawkins’ laptop, which was at Hawkins’ work desk in this reality. Michael is suspended and had been acting strangely, so Hannah had hidden his gun — which meant he left the house without it. He met up with Bird, and Hawkins photographed the meet. Not knowing what was on the piece of paper that Michael had handed Bird — the name of the file he needed — the mysterious man who meets with Capt. Harper convinced her that they had to have Hawkins take out both Britten and Bird now. Capt. Harper cried later, but she went along with it.

Britten went to see Bird’s computer guy, and maybe it’s because I’m sleep-deprived in the midst of finale season, but I teared up when Britten was willing to give the watch passed down to him from his father, who’d gotten it from his father, as payment — and also when the hacker gave it back to him after his team cracked Hawkins’ password (Tulip). Britten told Bird that the file was a lease for a space at a self-storage facility dated five months ago — the day after Westfield was shut down. That must be where they moved the heroine. Carl Kessel’s name was on the lease, Britten told Bird, and Bird told him that was his Captain.

Britten was supposed to meet Bird at Bird’s house after work and use the spare key if he beat him there. Britten arrived and found Bird dead on the floor. Out walked Hawkins, who said he’d make it look like Britten had stormed in and shot Bird and he’d simply returned fire. Britten managed to flee, but he took a bullet to the abdomen. Capt. Harper told her team that Britten had murdered Bird, and they should use lethal force if necessary to bring him down. Vega tried to tell her he’d gotten to know Britten well enough that he knew he would never hurt Bird. We could tell Harper was trying to figure out if Britten had shared any of his suspicions with Vega, but when she concluded he hadn’t, she rudely dismissed Vega and his defense of Britten. Britten passed out from loss of blood while hiding in an alley. He woke up in the reality where Rex is alive, seated in the backseat of the car with Bird in the driver’s seat.

Britten convinced Bird to open the file on Hawkins’ laptop, which they had possession of in this reality. Britten knew the password now, and, for some levity, tried to spell ‘tulip’ for Bird. Ha. Bird took Michael into Capt. Harper’s office, and they told her Michael had killed Hawkins — but before she locked him up, she had to hear what he’d uncovered. Again, she wanted to know who else they’d told — no one but her. Did they have anyone else tied to it? Just Kessel. She agreed to let Bird take a small team to see what was in the storage facility, and she had Michael put in a holding cell. If Bird comes back empty-handed, she’s not sure how he’s getting out of it, she said. “I don’t know how you know what you know,” Bird told Michael as he locked him up. “But I damn sure hope you’re right.” The last shot was Michael peering out of the small window of the door — stone cold.

The promo for May 24’s final hour:

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