Touch’s second episode entitled ironically 1+1=3 is kind of an early father’s day gift. I suppose that destiny child Jake finally feels some connection with dad Martin and has decided to offer some more evidence that he does. Again, we are treated to characters around the world and in New York (although somewhat less expansive or dramatic as in the pilot.) The continuing trouble with this is that each of the characters get so little time on screen that the transformation feel rather forced and unearned. And given the ralatable lack of connection between Martin and his son this continues to weaken my interest in them as well. On the plus side though, this isn’t another police procedural, so we have that to be thankful for.
So how did the father’s day ep of touch go? Well…
The episode starts right after the first ep with persistent social worker Clea showing up at the Bohm’s door and threatening to call the police if Martin doesn’t hand Jake back over to her (although she does make it sound like she’s trying to help.) While Keifer get’s a little jack Bauer for a moment, he caves and Jake willingly goes along with the idea, scribbling that very important phone number on his dad’s hand before going off. At the facility he quickly gives Clea the slip, marks mysterious door number 6 with a fingerpaint handprint and then heads off. At least Clea learns how he’s getting out so easily, as somehow the little destiny child has learned the code for the exit door.
In the meantime, in Russia a miserable and lonely teenaged boy tries to make friends by learning magic tricks. But it doesn’t matter because they are all afraid of his father, a Russian mobster. said Russian mobster is a loanshark in NY, and spends the episode threatening a guy who owes him $10,000. That guy is a baseball stadium vendor who won a ball he caught in a lawsuit and sold it, but has found everything in his life has gone to crap since then. He has an agreement with a pawnshop owner who is dying of cancer to shot him in a faked robbery attempt. The pawnshop owner has an estranged daughter (yes with daddy issues are never actually revealed) who’s a flight attendant who has been put in charge of a dog the Russian mobster that has escaped its cage and has been chasing it all over town, when she isn’t helping an Indian man (also with daddy issues) attempt to spread his father’s ashes over the infield of said baseball stadium. And yes, this is the rube goldberg machine that Jake is trying to set all right
Oh, and yes, it’s up to jake and dad to fix everything in this machine that’s going wrong. This involves Martin foiling the fake robbery/suicide, joining his son in breaking into the Pawnshop owner’s apartment, beating up the dying man’s friend, taking the $10,000 fee (and we never actually see him give it back. maybe he’ll be putting it towards Jake’s child sanitarium costs?!) But at last Martin is feeling like a real father. And his monolog at the end is something I’ve heard from a least one father of an autistic child, re: ‘his child being there to teach him’.
But the insta change of the mobster from brutal loanshark to kind father came across as particularly unearned. The flight attendant’s reconciliation with her dad was a little better done (she at least had the indian guy’s situation to invoke her feeling.) As with ep one, it has a whole warm fuzzy treackly feel that I get the impression will get even stronger in future eps? And where does this feeling come from? Well, apparently Maria Bello has been cast as an ‘earth mother’ type recurring character for later this season with a girl who has similar abilities to Jake (perhaps the patient behind that mysterious door #6). Fasten your seatbelts, this show may yet achieve even more dangerous levels of warm-fuzziness than the high level it’s already started out with. Especially since the Tokyo Cosplay hooker and her friend have arrived in the states (for no actually apparent narrative reason but to be ridiculously Kawai.)
The real problem with the narrative structure of the show so far is that 40 minutes is just not enough time to get invested in all of these characters. It would make more sense on a empathic level between the show and the audience, if the narratives were two episodes long.
Rating: 3.0 out of 5 (-0.5 for the rather unearned nasty mobster to nice-guy father turnaround.)