“490,000 babies will be born today, each of them unique.” Martin sits at his laptop, looking at baby pictures of Jake. He packs up the laptop and leaves. “And each one of them a link in the greater human chain.” Jake sits on the floor of the boarding facility rec room, drawing concentric circles. We cut to a heavily veiled Middle Eastern woman watching two men talk. They get up to leave and she hurries to get away, hiding in her bedroom. “And the moment their umbilical cord is severed, they’ll become their own hopes, dreams and desires.” The girl hastily removes the niqab and texts someone, saying her father has arranged a marriage for her. She packs up a bag and escapes through the window. “But in fact, we’re each made up of a dozen systems, which in turn comprise sixty billion cells and those cells house countless protein, DNA organelles. What appears to be an individual is actually a network.” An Asian man walks through the crowded New York street, appearing confused. He stops another man reading a newspaper and asks, first in another language and then in stilted English, how to find Central Park. The man, also foreign, gives him directions. He thanks him and shakes his hand. As the Asian man walks away, we see he’s stolen the other man’s wallet. He opens it and sees a picture of a young girl inside. He sighs and goes to return it, not bothering to cover up his natural New York accent. “Each one of us is in fact a living breathing community. And it doesn’t stop there. Why would it?” On the subway, a man watches a woman reading a book. She turns around and he looks away. When she goes to get off the train (which, according to the language spoken by the conductor, is somewhere French), he follows but hesitates to get off with her. He steps off but walks in a different direction. “Every dream you attain, every desire you fulfill has an impact far greater than you can imagine.” A woman lights candles in a church. “At least that’s how it looks from where I’m sitting.”
Jake, Martin and Clea sit at a restaurant. Clea is on Martin’s laptop, looking at his photos. She says that the evaluation committee will want to see Jake and Martin connecting as proof of their bond. Jake is to be evaluated on his mental functions and motor skills and Clea suggests that Martin be with him when this happens. Bu she seems to think that Martin has a strong case, between Jake’s improvement and testimonials from Martin’s friends. She also mentions that Jake’s aunt sent him a package but Clea hasn’t opened it yet. Martin asks how his aunt, named Abigail, even knows the address. Clea says that she just assumed Martin told her. Martin says that after his wife died, Abigail tried to take Jake away from him. Jake knocks a glass of orange juice onto the floor and Martin scrambles to pick up the broken glass. Clea takes Jake and reminds Martin to be there at five. Clea takes Jake outside and Jake presses his hand against the window, leaving a concentric circle on the widow made of maple syrup. On the floor, Martin finds that Jake has made the same shape out of sugar packets.
At the Teller Institute, Martin tells Arthur about the pattern and hopes that he’s just so desperate to communicate with Jake that he’s starting to find meaning in anything. Martin knows that this is an important day for things to seem “normal” but Arthur says that if he really wants to help Jake, he’ll follow the patterns. Arthur gets on his computer and types in something called ‘The Golden Ratio.’
Outside of a school in what appears to be Afghanistan, a girl in a niqab waits on the sidewalk. A car pulls up, running over the curb before parking. The window rolls down and the girl is asked if she wants a ride. She says she’s waiting for someone before realizing that the man inside is her friend Norah, disguised in a man’s keffiyeh. The girl worries that they’re going to be caught and thrown into jail for driving, but Norah is confident that they won’t be caught. The girl notes that Norah is just trying to get back at her father because she doesn’t like the man she’s arranged to marry. Norah says that she has no choice but to go through with it, because it will raise her family’s stature, and she’s jealous that her intended got to go to college and travel the world. “If boys are the ones who get to make all the choices, then today we’re going to be boys.”
Arthur explains that Jake is still communicating to Martin using geometrical patterns, and says that the circle he made has 22 points, and is called a heptagonal number. The number Jake’s trying to tell him is 22. Martin wonders why Jake is changing up his methods of communication. “That seen to me remains.” Arthur says and Martin notices the jumbled up words. Arthur starts to see the heptagonal circle expand into a 3-D geometrical object but Martin doesn’t. He mixes up his words again before snapping out of it. Martin asks if he’s okay, to which he responds “Never Better.”
The French man from the train enters his office and sits down. He’s a doctor and works in a hospital in Montreal. Another doctor enters and asks him if he talked to the mystery woman from the train. He says he had no idea what to say. The other man tells him that he’s running out of chances, because this is his last day in the city. Apparently his parents have controlled much of his life and this girl is the only thing he ever seems to be genuinely excited about. The other doctor tells him that he wants him to catch up with this girl on the 8 pm train.
The two girls drive through the desert, now both wearing keffiyehs and listening to dance music. Ahead, they see a woman on the side of the road, waving at them. Norah wants to stop, but the other girl is hesitant. They pull over and the woman runs forward, nearly collapsing on the hood of their car. She’s pregnant and the baby is on it’s way.
Martin is walking down the street when his laptop is snatched out of his hands by the Asian pickpocket. He chases him down the street and the pickpocket starts to get onto a bus. Martin looks down to see the bus is numbered 22. He gets on the bus and attempts to catch him but the pickpocket knocks him down and climbs off the bus before it starts to drive away. Martin picks himself up and sits down. (Martin, do you even know where this bus is going? I know it’s got a magic number on it but your laptop just got stolen and the guy will probably pull over if you ask.) He looks down to see the person sitting next to him with a bag that says ‘Hudson University’ with the heptagonal circle next to it. The owner of the bag also happens to be holding a gun. She tells him to keep quiet and that it will all be over in five stops.
On the bus, Martin’s phone rings. He sees that Clea is calling but the woman presses the gun into his stomach and tells him not to answer. Clea paces around, while she leaves a message on Martin’s machine. Jake’s evaluation is about to start and Clea’s been trying to stall them but won’t be able to for much longer. Martin pleads with the woman to let him get off the bus so he can make it to Jake’s appointment. “I have to believe that no one’s supposed to die today.” A big man gets on the bus and Martin asks if he’s a part of this, but she just tells him to shut up.
At a Chinese restaurant, a man sits around talking to a group of teenage girls. A little flag on the table says ‘congratulations graduate!’ The pickpocket enters, and the girl at the table jumps up, calling him “daddy.” She admonishing him for being late when he hands her Martin’s laptop with a red bow on it. “I’m gonna find someone’s vacation pictures on here, aren’t I?” she asks. But she seems weirdly okay with the whole thing. The man at the table stands up and greets them. He appears to be the girl’s stepfather. He notes that the restaurant they’re in is kind of a dump, but the pickpocket notes that he’s been bringing her there since she was three. The stepfather, along with her mother present her with a small box: inside, a set of keys to a new car. “Only the best for our girl, right?” the stepfather says smugly. They shake hands and the pickpocket walks out of the restaurant with the man’s wallet.
At the hospital, the young doctor watches as an older man gives some nervous looking couple some bad news. He tells the doctor that the couple have a son with leukemia who needs a bone marrow transplant and that he needs to find a donor, telling him to check in with all the other hospitals about their donor logs. The young man looks at the clock and sighs. He knows he probably won’t make the 8 PM train.
At another hospital, Arthur approaches a nurse, Maggie (his daughter) and tells her he needs medical assistance, claiming he hit his head in the shower. “It happened again, didn’t it?” she asks him before beginning to call a neurologist. He hangs up the phone, saying that all he wants is to get in front of an MRI scanner, so he can map out what’s happening inside his head and study it. “I found another one.” he says, much to her dismay. He begins to describe Jake’s abilities to her but she cuts him off, telling him that he’s sick and that all she wants to do is help him. Apparently last time he did something like this, they took “everything” from him, even though he still have no idea what Arthur tried to do and what the consequences were. She urges him to talk to a doctor. “I’m seeing clearly for the first time in years.” he says to her before walking away.
In the desert, the girls drive the pregnant woman back into town. She tells them, while going through contractions, that the baby is six weeks early. Norah tells her that everything is going to be okay before quietly saying that they plan to drop her off a block from the hospital and call an ambulance. Her contractions are getting closer and closer together. Before they can discuss it any further, the car sputters and slows to a halt in the middle of the empty road.
On the bus, Martin continues to plead with the woman to let him go. He’s now 10 minutes late. He looks at the man at the front of the bus and asks what he has to do with any of this. The woman, named Marisol, starts to tell him a story: 10 years ago, the man walked into her village, killed her neighbors and her family. Today, she wants to even things out.
At the boarding facility, Sherri admonishes Clea for putting so much faith in Martin, calling Jake unresponsive to any of his evaluations. Clea says she’s seen Jake communicate to both of them. Sherri knows that Clea wanted Martin to succeed, and that for the most parent, they always do but it’s clear he’s failed them this time. Clea looks over to see that Jake’s been arranging blocks in the shape of the heptagonal circle.
Back in the desert, Norah calls her brother Fahad, while her friend monitors the woman’s contractions, which are now three minutes apart. Norah says that her brother is coming with gas. Her friend yells at her for letting the car run out, to which she replies “How was I supposed to know that E was bad? They should have picked a more threatening letter.” The pregnant woman tells the girls that her husband is away on business and asks if she can use their phone. She begins to call her husband.
Martin tells Marisol that killing the man won’t bring her family back. He refuses to believe that he’s just supposed to sit there and let it happen. He starts telling her about how his wife died and how he wasn’t there to pick up the phone when she called. He tells her not to let this man define her life and take away everything she has by killing him. “Your father wouldn’t want this for you.” He says that she followed the man home one night, noting how he didn’t have a care in the world. “He’s alive and my family’s dead. I have nothing left to lose.” At that moment, the pregnant woman’s husband, who’s on the phone with her, runs across the street to catch a cab and the bus screeches to a halt, several passengers falling to the floor. Martin rushes forward, telling the driver to open the doors and warning the man Marison is here to kill him. They run off of the bus and down and alleyway. The man asks Martin why she’s going to kill him and Martin tries to remind him of the murder in the village but the man doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about. On his chest is a tattoo: Exodus 22:22. Marisol catches up with them and tells Martin to step aside.
At the Chinese restaurant, the pickpocket speaks to someone named Quan over the phone before pulling the fire alarm.
Marisol tells Martin to move out of the way, telling him he’s not supposed to be here. “This is exactly where I’m supposed to be. You can’t kill a man in the street like this.” He tells her.
Outside the restaurant, the daughter steps outside to see people carrying a Chinese New Year dragon, and signs that say ‘Congratulations Mandy.’ Mandy hugs her father, thanking him for it, even if he did pull the alarm. He lets Mandy give some of the credit for the surprise to her stepfather and the two men awkwardly shake hands. The pickpocket slips the wallet back in his jacket. Firecrackers go off in the street.
Martin tries to get Marisol to put the gun down, but she’s distracted by the noise of the firecrackers. The man rushes forward, knocking her over and running across the street. She follows him and Martin tries to catch her, but she’s hit by a truck. Martin kneels beside her and checks for a pulse: she’s still alive. He tells the bystanders around them to call 911.
It’s night in the desert, and the girls are still waiting for Norah’s brother to arrive. They spot a car in the distance while Norah tries to coach the woman’s breathing. The car pulls up and Norah rushes forward, thinking it’s going to be her brother, but it’s her father who exits the car. He quietly reprimands her for breaking the law and Norah tries to get him to prepare to deliver the baby. He asks her what she knows about delivering children and she says there’s a lot she could do, if he let her. “We either define our fate, or we are defined by it.” she says. “Who teaches you this nonsense?” he demands. “You did, father.”
Martin calls Clea from the hospital, telling him that he’ll be over to the facility very soon. Clea tells him that she tried to stall for him but he’s too late, and the evaluation is already over. He pleads with her to get a second chance and that he needs to follow the map Jake has given him. She hangs up on him. He’s about to get into an elevator when he notices the sign next to the hospital chapel: Bible Study: Exodus. He enters the chapel and goes through the bible, looking for Exodus 22:22. “Do not take advantage of children whose fathers have died.”
In the desert, Norah begins to help the woman deliver her baby while her friend reads instructions to her from her smartphone. She looks for something to wrap the baby in, finally removing the keffiyeh from her head. The woman realizes that she’s a girl (I thought this was kind of obvious but okay.) “I’m scared.” Norah says to her friend. “You’re the bravest person I know.” her friend says back to her. Norah finally delivers the baby, which is a girl. Norah’s father looks proud of her.
At the hospital, the doctor continues to look for a donor match, while his friend tells him he’s cutting it a little close. He sets his totebag down next to the doctor’s which is identical. His friend grabs some files and walks away, taking the doctor’s totebag by accident.
Norah’s father intends to drive the woman and her newborn baby back to the city and tells the girls to get in the back. But the woman protests, saying she can’t ride with them, because of the way they behaved. Norah asks her what would have happened if she hadn’t picked her up and the woman stonily replies “It’s in God’s hands.” Norah’s father decides to send her brother back for them and the car. Norah watches as they drive away in disbelief.
In a seedy apartment building, Martin catches up with the man Marisol wanted to kill, asking him what his tattoo meant. The man starts to tell him about the civil war that he had been caught up in, but that he refused to kill any of the children like some of his comrades had done. He tells Martin that he took the children to a mission where they were told they’d be safe. The children were sent to Canada. Martin quickly realizes that her brother is still alive.
At the hospital, Martin asks Maggie, who’s on duty, if he can talk to Marisol. Over her shoulder, he sees the heptagonal circle as a logo for the bone marrow donor page. He goes to look at the design further when he sees the chart for the child who needs the transplant. He’s from Canada, but El Salvadorian by birth. Maggie is about to call security but he begs her to let him prove that the kid and Marisol are related. Martin enters Mariol’s room and she yells at him to leave. He tells her that her brother is still alive, that he was smuggled out of the country and adopted by a Canadian family and that he needs a bone marrow transplant. Marisol seems to think he’s lying because she saw what happened to her father. Martin says that what the man did was unforgiveable, but that she doesn’t know the whole story. He asks her to take a leap of faith. Maggie enters with the necessary equipment to test Marisol’s bone marrow.
It’s 7:53 when the doctor in Canada gets the report that they’ve found their donor match. He’s asked if he wants to give the family the good news, but he rushes off to catch the train. He dashes to the station in the pouring rain but realizes that he took the wrong bag and doesn’t have his metro card. He turns to see the girl limping towards him in the rain and he quickly pulls out his umbrella, and holds it up over the both of them. She broke her heel and missed the train. He introduces himself as Sami and asks her if she wants to get a coffee.
Martin arrives at the boarding facility and is met by Jake and Clea, closing his coat so that they can’t see the bloodstains on his shirt. Clea sends Jake off to brush his teeth and tells Martin that the board is now considering moving Jake to a facility in Rhode Island after his abysmal evaluation. He tries to explain what happened, but Clea begs him for a little more cooperation until Jake’s full evaluation is over. She hands Martin the package from Abigail.
Norah’s father meets with the father of her intended husband, and starts to tell him that something has changed and that he no longer wishes for Norah to marry him. The man’s father begins to tell him that he had no idea that his son would do something like this and how he had to find out about it over the internet, but understands why Norah’s father is calling it off. Confused, Norah goes into her room and goes to the internet on her tablet. The man, Sami, the Canadian Doctor, has posted a picture on his facebook wall of him and his dream girl. Norah smiles and “likes” it.
Martin opens the package from Abigail, finding a teddy bear and some other things inside. There is an envelope marked “Jake” and a tape that says ‘love, Mom” on it. Martin slips the tape into a cassette player and listens to it. On the tape, Sarah addresses Jake, saying that there will be nights that she can’t be there with him because of her job, but that he can listen to the tape and it would be like she was there. Sarah begins to sing a lullaby and Martin tears up, listening to his wife’s voice.
“The threads that connect us are not bound by space and time.” Marisol walks down the hallway of another hospital, her arm in a sling. She walks into a room and sees her brother for the first time in years. “What seems to the individual like a twist of fate, from another perspective is simply one of those threads pulled tight.” Norah enters her living room to find pamphlets for international colleges in New York. She smiles knowlingly at her father. “What should have been along along.” Arthur watches a video of one of his old TV interviews, talking about how special children like Jake are here to teach us. “And even when those threads seem irreparably frayed, they never break. Not completely.” Clea hears the recording of Sarah’s voice in the hall. She passes Martin, but doesn’t speak to him. “But sometime the most important connection is here and now.” Jake looks up at his father as the tape closes with “Goodnight, my sweet. I love you.”
Alright, Touch, it’s time to move it along with the main plot here. Because for all intents and purposes, I agree with Clea: Martin being there for his son by not being there for his son is weird and looks bad. I don’t really care that it’s Martin’s mathematically divine purpose to not get some girl to kill some guy, at the end of the day, Martin looks more misguided and irresponsible than anything. And this is really because the show does a poor job of defining the overall purpose of what Jake does and why Martin has to go through all of these things every episode, I’m still having a hard time really grasping the emotional connection of all of these missions Jake sends Martin on. I’m much more interested in, say, what Arthur was trying to do with children like Jake in the past, and why he lost everything or what Jakes powers are in general other than just…knowing things. I just have a hard time believing that Martin would miss this really pivotal appointment to intervene in a scenario that involves him looking down the barrel of a gun. It’s bad writing and Touch does this every episode and it kills me every time.
As for the rest of the episode, I only really found the story with the two girls and the pregnant woman to be all that compelling, and found those girls to be the best performers on the show aside from the main characters. (I thought Marisol was dreadful.) I liked that Norah got what she wanted by being brave and assertive, and, again, I like that Touch dares to tell the stories of all races and nations, even if they are sometimes very very clumsy about it. But at this point, I’m struggling to care about this whole “everything is connected” the show tries to hard to set up, and because the stories are interconnected in some way, losing my interest with one story is going to damage my interest for the rest. Touch needs to push us forward and make Martin and Jake’s story immediate and compelling. The threat of losing Jake is too distant and seems to unlikely for this outwardly happy-ending driven show. But asking Touch to improve on it’s flaws is like yelling at a brick wall at this point. They probably won’t change the format, but if they can make the drive of the episode be our “heroes”, they can recapture a bit of our interest and our sympathy.
Miss an episode? Check out our recap of last weeks episode: ‘Kite Strings’.