TV shows require patience. Even the best of them won’t necessarily strike you as strokes of genius from the outset. Yes, we know, there’s an inherent handshake when you first watch a show – you must commit to giving a new one its proper due.
But four episodes is enough time, right? After four episodes, one can begin to see patterns. Four episodes provides enough narrative juice to contextualize each character’s role in the overall plot.
So why, then, are we watching the fifth episode of Touch? Four weeks in a row now we’ve been smacked upside the head with senseless melodrama and interconnecting plot lines that mesh simply for an overwrought need for plot resolution.
This was supposed to be Kiefer Sutherland’s grand return to TV. Sure, there was no misguided belief that somehow Jack Bauer, now forever on the run from both foreign and American governments, would again enter our lives and be the same symbol of gruff heroism. But Martin Bohm, Sutherland’s meek father on Touch, who desperately tries to make sense of his silent son’s bizarre ways, and the utterly unbelievable means by which random people’s lives are able to weave together? It’s all just downright disappointing.
All right. Let’s give the show one last shot.
At this point in the season, it should go without saying that during last week’s episode Jake, through his infatuation with sets of numbers that vary from one episode to the next, helped out a bunch of people in various, good-deed-type ways. Aside from this, there’s really not much that needs to be known from episode to episode. Well, except that Jake still hasn’t spoken, and Martin and his confidante, Arthur Teller (Danny Glover), are still trying to make sense of it all.
Per usual, we open with Jake’s otherwise unheard voice narrating a montage of the random people he’ll be “assisting” this episode. He’s mumbling something about the Northern Star. I’d tell you all the people featured, but you’ll meet them soon enough.
Martin is now with Arthur, who thinks that Jake is on the precipice of “something great.” It seems all the numbers he’s been relaying to Martin follow in line with something Teller calls the “Amelia sequence.” Martin, who is a baggage handler, goes to drop off a lost bag at a house. The police are there because apparently the family’s small child is missing.
Clea, the woman at Jake’s facility who has been by Martin’s side, visits the hospital to see her schizophrenic mom, who was arrested for shoplifting. Clea’s mom doesn’t recognize her and storms out. Clea learns that her mother had been caught shoplifting cough syrup. Just then, she sees the TV, and the news is issuing an AMBER Alert that a child (the one whose family Martin just saw), with a cough, is missing. OK, then. Clea’s mom nabbed the kid.
We’re now in an airport. A woman is doing a crossword puzzle, and a man seated next to her can’t help but give her the answers. They hit it off. But when the woman learns her baggage is lost, the man, who had been flying standby, is given her ticket, and he hops aboard the plane. Next thing we know the man wakes up in a field of wreckage, still strapped into his seat. The plane has crashed.
OK, hold up! Dude just survived a plane crash moments after helping a lady with a crossword puzzle? A kid is missing and a crazy shoplifting woman kidnapped him? We’re 10 minutes into the episode and Kiefer Sutherland still hasn’t delivered one meaningful line of dialogue? Frankly, we’ve had enough.
For a show with seemingly much potential – after all, this was to be the next chapter of Sutherland’s career – we can say with certainty now that Touch is nothing more than a hopelessly absurd disarray of epic proportions.
We’ll admit, there’s temptation in continuing to recap the show in the slight hope that it descends into such a pitiful mess that it’s actually entertainingly awful. Right now, though, we can’t even see that happening. The sad fact is, Touch is goop. And it’s stuck to our brains for long enough.
Last episode: The Circle of Life