Despite no one knowing that Touch was on, let alone gone, I’m happy to announce that Touch is back for what looks to be a very interesting season. However, being put in what has not so kindly been termed the “Friday Night Death Slot”, its future doesn’t look altogether promising. I will file this under “Fox strikes again”.
But let’s go ahead with this recap, which is to say, let’s start with the “Last time on Touch…”. Well, you know that some serious stuff went down last season when it takes about three minutes to recap it. We learned from the last season that Amelia (the first god-child, as it were) is not dead, and we meet her mother who is still looking for her. We also know that someone is deviously pulling strings behind the scenes to get a hold of Jake Bohm. All this while, Martin Bohm finally gets that eponymous touch he’s always desired from his autistic child (his son holds his hand), and Jake insinuates in the opening narration that he may finally speak, just like Amelia finally chose to. That’s the beauty of Touch. All those pieces we thought we’re useless in an endless stream of filler-like episodes really come together to start painting a thrilling and complex picture.
Really, though, I think a quicker recap would have had the opening narration say, “Welcome to the world of pseudo-J.J. Abrams, where numbers somehow mean something important in an interesting take on the Fibonacci sequence”.
The A-Story (Martin and Lucy’s Quest for Amelia):
The opening scene has Amelia’s mother, Lucy, meeting Martin for the first time. In short order, they figure they have common goals, and can find Lucy’s daughter via a map she acquired from a tsunami survivor last episode. The classic Touch plot device is still alive and well in the first episode of the second season, which is to say that finding “random” numbers always corresponds to another “random” plot point. Lucy is welcomed into the world of Jake, which means following him and doing his weird unspoken bidding, though she is understandably hesitant to do so. Still, the love for her missing daughter, Amelia, keeps her following Martin, which means she follows him to the hotel Jake’s numbers lead them to confront a mysterious man who ostensibly has Amelia. When they arrive, they hear “Amelia” scream, and find a bathroom with a broken window where she seems to have been either spirited, or escaped through. Then Lucy and Martin battle “Amelia”‘s captor in a fight that seems just as fit for a barroom as a seedy motel.
Jake is visibly upset by the outcome of the encounter, which makes one wonder if things at the motel didn’t go exactly as he had planned.
Fortunately, as the man who had “Amelia” speeds away in his car, Martin is able to write down his license plate number, and use his old LA reporting contacts in order to discover who the owner of the car is, which is how we meet Trevor Moore, a former-rival-turned-friend-of-Martin’s, who feels like he owes the man anything after a together they survived some hairy situation in the Balkans. Trevor now owns his own news syndicate called Breakwire, where he claims that with the internet, he has a billions of potential reporters to employ. I imagine this is going to be very important in the following episodes.
Apparently, his “anything for Martin” results in illegally hacking into a powerful lawyer’s computer on the word of Martin that it’s for a good cause. His employed hacker, Ruben Santiago, also seems to have no qualms with taking Martin at his word.
So what we find out is the man who hired the private detective is an important lawyer by the name of Lawrence Perl, and his main client is Aster Corps (the company after Jake). Seeing as there is no such thing as coincidences in the world of Touch, Martin follows this lead with a virus-laden USB in his pocket that he uses Mission-Impossible style to download into the Perl’s computer in order to remotely access it with his new partners in crime at Breakwire.
Martin’s mission is not without drama, however, seeing that while he is in Perl’s office, Perl gets a call that “Amelia” is missing. Martin narrowly avoids detection to be caught out ten seconds later just outside the lawyer’s office, and is forced to escape when his clever cover as a dude who takes measurements for a paintings is quickly shattered. He only manages to escape through the intervention of Calvin, who also happens to be at the office that day, and places a well-opened car door into a security guard’s face.
After this, Martin accesses Perl’s computer and finds an address that matches Jake’s numbers: 5227, which Jake makes explicitly clear by making sure his score on all of the arcade games at the way too awesome for words office of Breakwire are 5227. He and Lucy go to the address in Perl’s computer, which turns out to be a really high class crack house, and run into a very confused private detective who can’t seem to figure out why these two random people are beating him up and making it hard to do his job, which is to capture a fourteen-year-old girl and make sure she’s safe. They also keep yelling at him for taking away some person named “Amelia”.
Oh, didn’t I mention? Turns out “Amelia” is Not-Amelia. She’s actually just Perl’s illegitimate daughter, and he’s trying to make sure he’s safe after saying he wanted nothing to do with her and she ran away.
During this time, Jake steals Not-Amelia’s backpack, and they discover one of Amelia’s maps. Following the clues, they have Not-Amelia take them to the place she met Amelia and was given the map, and Jake finds a clue after making a spiral in the sand. It’s a knight chess piece.
At some point, Martin calls Avram and gets him to call in a favor. They secure a safe house, and Martin gets a phone call from Ruben, telling him that his son, Jake, has a death certificate on file. What’s more chilling is the the date of death has been left blank.
The episode ends with the narration:
There are three things I’ve learned during my time on this planet: One, we are all connected. Two, where you end, I begin, and vice versa. And three, no matter how hard we try to control it, nothing is exactly what it appears to be.
The B-Story (Beardless-Cesar’s Quest to Kill Talented People):
While Martin chases down numbers and fails to find Amelia, we are introduced to mysterious man who is not given a name. But seeing as he’s played by Saïd Taghmaou, who I know best from Lost, I’m just going to call him Beardless-Cesar for now.
So Beardless-Cesar has an awkward conversation with Dutch waiter while he’s looking over the profile of man he needs to kill. When I say awkward, of course, I mean awkward. Especially if you’re part in the conversation is the waiter. The waiter has to hear a random story about about a violinist who wrote beautiful music and stopped, and that it wasn’t that musician’s right to stop writing music at all. Then he has to inexplicably tell Beardless-Cesar what his height was when the man asks.
All in all, it was awkward with a capital AWK, particularly when the waiter decides to change the subject and talk about Beardless-Cesar’s necklace, and somehow gets drawn into a conversation about fate.
In the next scene, Beardless-Cesar finds the man in his photo making bread alone in a bakery. Beardless-Cesar takes out a portable record player and puts on the record for the piece of music the man wrote. The violinist-turned-baker is amused by Cesar finding him, saying that sometimes people can if they are gifted enough. Cesar ignores him, and gives a speech about how the musician is in the way of God, asks the musician to take a step forward (who stupidly does), and then stabs a knife in his throat.
With the corpse in the bakery, Beardless-Cesar searches the man’s house for something, which turns out to be a piece of music. He reads it, and lists a series of numbers (The Amelia Sequence) underneath the notes. If you think this sounds a little bit like an episode of Fringe (Season One, Episode Eight, ‘The Equation’) you wouldn’t be wrong, though it admittedly lacks kidnapping and reanimated corpses.
Beardless-Cesar’s story ends with another folder of what is probably his next victim. In it is a picture of Jake Bohm.
The C-Story (Calvin’s Quest to Help People with Math… Maybe):
We are introduced to Calvin, a mathematically brilliant man who no longer likes his job with Aster Corps. Then we become acquainted to the man I labelled “blonde douchebag” in my notes until I discovered his name was Tony three minutes after his introduction. Still, it’s very tempting to keep calling him by my original name for him.
Anyway, Tony and Calvin are bestmates, have been since freshman year of university, and together they made a lot of money selling Calvin’s algorithms to Aster Corps, who in turn made 40 billion dollars worth of profit off of it. Calvin, however, thinks he’s on the verge of discovering the god sequence, and wants out because he believes that Aster Corps won’t use his equations for good (such as solving famine).
This is made evident when he later gives a speech about how Aster Corps wants to essentially make robots that will inevitably make human beings expendable. He gives this speech, despite the fact that he had been talking with Aster Corps lawyer, Lawrence Perl (yes, while Martin was pulling his Mission Impossible infiltration on the man) and finds that he’ll lose everything, including his work, if he chooses to be terminated from Aster Corps.
After he makes his speech that essentially takes away his livelihood and life’s work, he is approached by a very wealthy man, played by Dileep Rao, who, until I learn his name, will be named Mostly-Beardless-Yusuf, named because Yusuf from Inception is probably his best known role. In any case, Mostly-Beardless-Yusuf wants to offer Calvin a job, saying that Calvin’s vision together with his money could truly change the world.
Calvin, in his brief moments in this episode, becomes an enigma and why I think this season is off to an excellent start despite its poor timeslot. He aids Martin’s escape from Perl’s office by consciously opening his car door into a security guard’s face, and talks about doing good for the world. However, the final scene has Calvin talking with the dramatically revealed-Amelia who begs him to let her go home. One wonders if he maybe is the villain in all this. That is until he answers her by telling her that her birth parents gave her up, and that she is home. It seems entirely possible that he doesn’t know that his adoption of Amelia may have some dastardly beginnings. Whatever the case may be, I think we’ll find his character to be a very interesting addition to the Touch universe.
That’s it for this episode! I’ll catch you on the flipside for Episode 2, “Closer”.