The best TV shows make you think, analyze and ultimately find a deeper meaning. Just the other day I found myself trying to rationalize the existence of a show such as Touch. Could I find something deeper in its construction? I still don’t know the answer to that. But what I did realize is that Touch is like so many before it: it’s following the most commonplace, overused metaphor in literary, cinematic and TV history – the Christ figure. And Martin‘s son, Jake, the muted know-it-all who endures pain for other’s misdeeds, is it. Martin? He who is so desperately trying to connect with his son. Well, he’s Christ’s disciple, trying to decode the mystical message. Maybe I’m just trying to find meaning where none exists? I’m giving myself a headache.
Where we left off, Jake, all through his mysterious people-connecting ways, had just miraculously helped save an injured soldier and gave a metal band of Iraqi teenagers a chance to play, a distraught minister a second shot at life and his late mother’s friend a sense of closure. As is customary on this show, the opening montage gives us a peek at which random people Jake will be helping “touch” this week. Give it to us! On this week’s helping-hand agenda: a Saudi teenager, a pickpocket, a random man on a Montreal subway and a grieving woman in church. Let’s do it!
Today is a big day: Jake is being evaluated by child services to see whether Martin should get custody of him or whether he needs to be transferred to a different facility. Martin is going, well, a little bit crazy. “I’m starting to see signs where there aren’t any,” he tells the crazy-scientist-of-an-old man that is Arthur Teller (Danny Glover). Martin is recounting Jake’s latest oddity: that morning at breakfast, Jake arranged packets of sugar in a circle-like shape, and then, a moment later, as he left with Clea (the one worker at Jake’s facility who is on Martin’s side), he left a hand print on the restaurant’s glass of a similar circular shape. “Jake’s progressing,” Teller says. The circle pattern represents a number, he explains: 22 , which is how many “points” are in the circle. OK, so 22 is our number this episode.
We’re now in Saudi Arabia. A teenager name Norah is wearing a burqa. She’s frustrated by the social constraints placed upon women in her country. More specifically, she doesn’t want to be forced into an arranged marriage that’s set to go down with a young man who is currently in Canada. Deciding to rebel, Norah sneaks out of her house and gets in the car – women apparently aren’t allowed to drive, so this is a big no-no. Norah hops into her family car and goes to pick up her friend. They joy-ride until they come upon a woman stranded on the side of the road. She’s pregnant. And about to burst! They pick her up – she still doesn’t know these are women driving her (how, we don’t know, considering they aren’t wearing their burqas). Their car dies. What now?
In Montreal, the random subway dude works at a hospital. He and his friend talk about this woman he always sees on the subway – he never has the guts to talk to her. Plus, he’s set to marry a girl he’s never even met back home in Saudi Arabia. (I wonder who that is?) He’s going to talk to his crush later tonight on the subway. But his hospital boss needs to stay late to find a bone marrow donor for a sick teenage boy, and he can’t leave until he does so.
Back in New York, Martin is on his way to Jake’s evaluation. He bends down to tie his shoe, and as he does, the pickpocket from the opening montage steals his laptop. Martin chases him onto a bus, but the man escapes. Martin takes a seat next to a woman, Marisol – the same woman we saw grieving at a church earlier. Marisol jabs Martin in the side with a gun. Huh? Turns out she’s planning to kill a guy on the bus who murdered her family years ago in a village raid in El Salvador.
In Saudi Arabia, the pregnant woman is about to deliver her baby. She calls her husband in a panic. He’s in New York, and she wants him to come back home to help. Unsurprisingly, he’s right near the bus that Martin is on. He runs in front of the bus in an effort to catch a cab. This causes the bus to swerve. Marisol is knocked over and her gun falls. Martin gets up, grab the man she’s trying to kill, and runs off the bus. The woman catches up to them and is now holding them at gunpoint. A scuffle breaks out and the man Marisol has targeted escapes. The woman chases him, but then she’s hit by a car. Martin helps her and calls 911.
Norah, the Saudi teenager, thinks her brother is coming to help them. Instead, her pissed-off father arrives and starts scolding her. But the pregnant woman is going into labor. Miraculously, the teenage girl is able to help deliver the baby (oddly, she never cuts the umbilical cord. Oh, TV).
Marisol is now at the hospital with Martin. (Side note: Martin has now missed Jake’s evaluation . . . uh oh!) Martin goes to talk to the man Marisol wanted to kill. It turns out the man never killed Marisol’s young brother: he says the brother is still alive, and lives in Canada! Back at the hospital Martin sees Jake’s circle design on a computer monitor, which shows a listing for someone in Montreal from El Salvador who needs a bone marrow transplant. It’s Marisol’s estranged brother, and she’s a match!
Even better, now that a match has been found, the Montreal man can leave the hospital. He goes to the subway and finds the girl he has a crush on. They go on a date and we later find out he has decided to stay with her and not marry the Saudi girl! The Saudi girl’s dad has also decided he needs to give her more freedom, and he is letting her go to New York for college.
Wow! Things are crazy complicated. But here’s what happened: oppressed Saudi girl is now going to college and isn’t being forced to marry Montreal dude. Montreal dude met girl and also helped arrange a donor match for the estranged brother Marisol didn’t know was alive. Martin, well, he just screwed shit up and missed Jake’s evaluation. And that pickpocket? Whatever happened to him? Nothing important. He gave the stolen laptop to his daughter. That’s about it!
And Touch hasn’t relieved my headache.
Last episode: Nine and a Half