Fox’s new Kiefer Sutherland drama Touch is a smash hit! Or so say the ratings gods: The world premiere of the show starring Sutherland as Martin Bohm, a father desperately trying to piece together the mysterious, people-connecting, number-infatuated ways of his silent son, Jake, scored gobs of eyeballs last week, drawing an estimated 11 million viewers. But enough about the sort of stuff TV suits get giddy about.
Where we left off, Martin had just been led on a wild goose chase around town as Jake, divulging number patterns as Martin’s only real clue, helped random people (a stewardess, a pawn shop owner, a burglar who moonlights as a peanut vendor) connect with one another and make nice at episode’s end. As Jake launches into what appears to be his customary voiceover to start the new episode and we see shots of various people – an African woman, a homeless man, a girl at Coachella – it’s safe to assume their respective storylines will soon be woven together.
The episode opens with Martin receiving a call on his cell phone . . . it’s silent. Naturally, it must be Jake. So he rushes over to the child-care facility where Jake resides. What do you know? Jake isn’t in his room. Instead, he’s sitting outside of a random room, in the hallway, repeatedly writing the numbers 3287 into a notebook. (Yay, 3287 is the number-of-the-episode!) “Can I ignore the numbers?” Martin asks Arthur Teller (Danny Glover), a wise dude who seems to understand Jake’s weird ways. He says Martin can’t ignore the numbers. Why? “Bad things will happen.” Such as? Well, for one “Jake feels the pain of people touching those numbers” and “until things get right, he suffers.”
Right. OK, so where to now? We’re in Africa. A woman is taking a computer test. She hopes to move out of her village to the big city, but her friend, who is in an abusive relationship, is not likely to join her. The abusive man threatens to hurt the woman if she doesn’t stop butting into her friend’s business. The woman’s younger brother, we learn, is also trying to enter an online dance competition.
Now we’re at Coachella (yup, it’s become this mainstream). A young woman, after being creepily complimented by a security guard, is going to the very same dance competition the young African boy is entering, to meet a guy. On stage, the reigning dance competition champion, the Beastmaster, grinds and convulses in dance ecstasy to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.”
Back to Martin. He’s walking down the sidewalk when a woman runs by him, into the street and is hit by a car. As she lies on the ground, a homeless man grabs a notebook out of her purse. Of course Martin pursues him. Turns out the notebook is just like Jake’s, filled with the number 3287. The homeless man tells Martin he’s the “Invisible Prince,” that the “dragon is loose” and they need to stop it. He also says he gave “a magic sword” to the King that can make everything better. The man leads Martin around; they follow two women who end up at a building with (wait for it) a dragon emblem. We learn the women are involved in a lawsuit with the company housed in the building, which has fleeced them out of money. The case will settle at 6 p.m. . . unless, that is, Roger King’s people uncover any new evidence. (Get it? Roger King = THE KING. Deep stuff here, people.)
Martin follows the women upstairs, where he sees a reporter he knows who is covering the lawsuit (Martin was once a reporter) and he decides he must find this Roger King character. The reporter says King lives at 3287 Avondale. (We know those numbers from somewhere, don’t we?)
Martin goes to visit King; it turns out he’s dead. But when he mentions the “Invisible Prince” to King’s son over the intercom, Martin is let inside. The Invisible Prince, we learn, was a character in a bedtime story that King used to tell his other son (who we now realize is the homeless man). We also learn details of the lawsuit. The homeless man, a.k.a. King’s son, had developed a product for his father’s company that ended up ripping people off due to its flaws. At the apartment, King’s son (the other one) leads Martin to a box that the now-homeless brother left for the father before disappearing. (King lost all his money due to the flawed product.)
There’s a safe. Code: 3287. Inside is paperwork. It’s the “magic sword.” It’s a memo explaining that King had informed the company about the faulty product and they knowingly kept using it. Martin delivers this information to his reporter friend, who prints a story about the company’s misdeeds before the plaintiffs settle. Yay! The dragon loses.
Time to get back to Africa. The African woman’s younger brother and his friends prepare for the dance battle. In completely unsurprising fashion, they beat the Beastmaster! Nearby, what looks like all the women in the African town surround the abusive man and start banging on tin pans. The woman is now free from the man (tin-pan banging does that, people), and she can leave for the city with her friend.
Oh, and yes, as all things must wrap up smoothly here, the Coachella girl, who was stood up by her date, ends up getting cozy with the Beastmaster, who is sad he lost the dance competition. The homeless man also reunites with his family.
As the episode closes, Martin is now back with Jake, who helped save the day yet again. As all the concurrent story lines came to a climax, Jake erupted into a yelling fit, which Teller observed. But now Jake is OK. “Once upon a time there was an invisible knight,” Martin says to his son, the quiet savant. This time, Martin was that invisible knight. Things just work out tidy like that on Touch.
Last episode: Take a Number