Martin Bohm - Kiefer Sutherland
Jake Bohm - David Mazouz
Clea Hopkins - Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Arthur Teller - Danny Glover
OTHER TOUCH SEASONS
OTHER TALENTED TYPES
Martin Bohm lost his wife in the 9/11 attacks. This makes looking after his autistic son Jake. Martin, though, begins to suspect that Jake's condition is not what it at first appears.
TOUCH is the new TV show for Kiefer Sutherland following 24 and is created by Tim Kring of HEROES fame and so it is only natural that expectations will be too high for this pilot episode to satisfy. Which is not to say that the show is bad - it isn't, but it's not stand out brilliant either.
The cast is a good one, anchored by Kiefer Sutherland as the struggling parent. It's hard to shrug off his Jack Bauer persona and so it is a bit of a shock to see him pushed around, but it's a strong showing from him. The rest of the cast are pretty good too.
The problem isn't in the main plotline either as Bohm starts to understand his son's communications through numbers (this is taken directly from the Nicolas Cage movie KNOWING), but there is a whole side story in which a group of people from around the world are brought together by a lost phone and broken oven. It's whimsy and it's unconnected to the main story, something that you can't have in a show about connections.
It's also a concept that is open to repetitiveness and so the show will have to work hard to stave that off.Top
Jake brings Martin into the life of a pawn shop owner whose store is robbed, but who has a story that is more compicated than that.
Phone numbers are the key starting point to this week's story and that is the first sign of repetition. Fortunately, the manner in which the rest of the main story is resolved is less straightforward.
Unfortunately, it's also not very believable. A russian gangster mends his way because his son has no friends? A dog is sent as a present of the day of the birthday without thought for quarantine laws? Security at a baseball stadium is lax enough to allow ashes to be spread in the diamond? Really? And that's before we get to the major twist about the pawn shop owner and the air stewardess.
The performances just about pull it through the whimsy, but there are worrying signs here already.Top
Safety In Numbers
Jakeís latest number puzzle puts his father in touch with a man who just might have the same condition and a group of people fighting a class action suit for lost investments.
Echoes of the Terry Gilliam movie THE FISHER KING abound in this episode as a homeless man who dubs himself the silent king wants Martin to help him find a sword of truth and slay the dragon. The mythical world inside the manís head has real world significance that will solve the case and save the day. This works well enough and isnít so far off the reservation as to lose itself in whimsy or unlikeliness.
The supporting stories, however, involving women and kids from Soweto and internet dance competitions do fall prey to both whimsy and unlikeliness. Unbelievable, mawkish and having no relevance or connection to the main plot or characters, they are simply there to fill out the running time.Top
Martin is still struggling with the loss of his wife in the collapse of the Twin Towers. A visit to her grave introduces a new man into their lives, a man whose information might not be to Martinís liking.
This story is personal to Martin and concentrating on him and his personal life gives the episode a central focus that improves matters greatly. It gives Kiefer Sutherland another reason to use his concerned and moping expressions, but the connections have pathos and real emotion even if the connections that bring them together arenít all that believable.
The continuing supporting stories regarding the kids in Iraq and the lottery winner are a distraction, but they are less annoying than others have been.Top
On the day that Jake's testing starts, Martin is sent on a journey that will save two lives, reunite a family and give a young girl her rightful chance.
TOUCH can be both hard-nose and annoyingly twee all at the same time, as in this story where a Saudi Arabian girl who brings a child safely into the world is then berated by the mother she saved because of the shame that she has brought compared with a man missing his train to find the girl of his dreams.
It's still difficult to get a grip on the show as a result, but you can't deny the quality of the drama and the performances within it. If only it hung together better.Top
Lost And Found
A chance meeting in the wake of a child kidnapping leads Martin and Clea to believe that her mother was responsible. Meanwhile, two plane crash survivors decide to turn their lives around.
The coincidence of having Clea's mother involved in the child's kidnapping is a bit too much, but it at least focuses the drama on one story, keeping the plane crash story in the background where it belongs and keeping it from becoming too annoying.
Arthur Teller's story comes to an abrupt sort of an end, though, even as it throws up an interesting plot development in terms of ghosts.Top
Following up on Teller's last clue, Martin finds himself using Jake's numbers in a high stakes poker game. Meanwhile his sister-in-law makes a play for custody of Jake.
This episode contains all that is good and all that is bad about TOUCH in one package. The worst is the annoying and horribly twee side stories of a female blogger wanting to buy the world a Coke (or something) and a man wanting to ride a horse to please his father. This second story is so clunkily worked into the main plot that it's almost painful.
On the other hand, the arrival of Martin's sister-in-law promises more angst and the plot is thickening around Teller's research.Top
Zone Of Exclusion
A trip to the museum brings Jake into contact with a woman via a videolink to Paris. This leads to a twin and a story of child trafficking.
The stories in TOUCH are getting more and more outlandish. The video wall link up with Paris is fascinating with Jake actually connecting with someone, but the backstory of child trafficking is just too far-fetched to fly.
Speaking of flying, the astronaut on the International Space Station who supplies the side story must be worst in history. His carbon dioxide levels are getting dangerous and he's been out of contact for minutes and he hasn't even noticed until someone calls him from a New York taxi despatcher's office? Really?Top
Music Of The Spheres
Jake bonds with the challenged brother of a child who is being forced to commit crimes by a parole officer.
This story, though mundane, is at least believable and even the links to the latin musician trying to romance the woman of his dreams don't grate with their levels of circuitousness.
Elements of an underlying plot are starting to come together to make the show a little more like a thriller as well, which is an unexpected (though not unwelcome) turn of events.Top
Martin is forced to pretend to be a criminal in order to solve Jake's latest puzzle. Clea learns more about the forces surrounding Jake and an Isreali boy in love finds his girlfriend making demands of him.
TOUCH veers into the wildly unlikely again with this rather tired story of a man being mistaken for a criminal and having to play along. How it ties into the story of the love interest between Israeli and Palestinian is pretty unlikely as well.
Much more interesting are the secrets that are starting to come about Arthur Teller's previous experimentation and what powerful corporations might be doing with Jake.Top
Gyre - Part One
The shadowy corporation starts to move in on Jake whilst Martin finds information that the previous test subject might not be as dead as she appears.
The story is starting to accelerate as we come toward the season finale and the concentration on the story of Martin, Jake, Clea and the forces that want to tear them apart lifts this episode out above most of the others.
That said, the supporting story about a beachcomber trying to wipe away an old shame by reuniting Japanese tsunami victims with their belongings has more dignity than most and manages to stand even against the flood of sentimentality.Top
Gyre - Part Two
Martin is determined to gets custody of Jake back no matter what. A series of familiar faces just might allow that happen.
Forget the supporting story of a man trying to get musicians to sing together one last time; that's just filler material to give the episode, and season, a nice musical ending. No, the real meat here is the way that so many previous threads weave together to create the storyline.
It's clever, it's exciting and it displays just what this show is capable of. It is a shame that so many other episodes failed to live up to this, but there may yet be a chance for that to happen.Top
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