Touch TV Show Review - Everyone is Connected Through the Lottery Numbers
Early Preview of Touch TV Show on Fox
Fox's Touch TV show first aired on Fox on January 25, 2012. Although Touch didn't officially start it's 13 episode series until the 19th of March 2012, the early release of the Pilot episode did allow viewers to get an early look at the show. Fox were hoping to capitalize on the American Idol audience, who were viewing the American Idol auditions in the previous time slot.
Whether this "strategy" really worked is debatable. Personally, after watching the pilot episode of Touch, I really struggle to see how the Touch TV series would appeal to the typical type of audience that watches reality TV or people who can or can't sing. Touch was heartfelt, interesting and had a storyline to follow.
Touch TV Series Synopsis
"Patterns are hidden in plain sight, you just have to know where to look. Things most people see as chaos actually follows subtle laws of behaviour; galaxies, plants, sea shells... The patterns never lie but only some of us can see how the pieces fit together. Seven billion, eighty million and 360 of us live on this tiny planet. This is the story of some of those people."
"There's an ancient Chinese myth about the red thread of fate. It says that the Gods had a red thread around everyone of our ankles and attached it to all the people who's lives were destined to touch. This thread may stretch or tangle but it will never break. It's often predetermined by mathematical probability and it's my job to keep track of those numbers to make the connections for those who need to find each other. The one's who's lives need to touch. I was born four thousand, one hundred and sixty one days ago, on October 26th 2000. I've been alive for eleven years, four months and twenty one days and fourteen hours, and in all that time I've never said a word."
This is the narration at the beginning of the Pilot episode of Touch and it's Jake Bohm (David Mazouz) telling the viewers at home about himself, and what he can do. He realizes his purpose in life, but unfortunately is unable to communicate with those around him. This causes numerous problems for Jake in his mission.
It soon becomes very clear just how different Jake is from normal kids and the trials and tribulation his father, Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland), faces in very day life, trying to deal with Jake and his condition.
While Jake is introducing us to the show and his "special abilities" other things, which seem totally unconnected, are happening elsewhere. A man named Simon is unaware that he has dropped his phone in an airport terminal, until he gets to Mumbai, India and can't locate cell phone...
Martin Bohm has just bought some cell phones from the lost and found department of JFK airport; where he works as a baggage handler. One of the phones ring and it is Simon Plimpton (David de Lautour) trying to find his phone. He needs his phone as it has some pictures of his daughter he needs because it's her birthday tomorrow.
Although Martin wants to try to help Simon, he gets distracted when his own phone rings. He puts Simon's cell down, to answer a call from Jake's school. Jake has left school again to climb a cell tower and Simon's cell phone is left on a piece of luggage on a carousel, heading to Dublin, Ireland.
Martin heads off to get his son down from the Cell Tower. The Police and the Fire Department have been called to deal with the situation. Martin entices his son to come down by showing him the cell phones he got from the airport. Jake likes to take them apart. Jake can't go up to get his son as he is afraid of heights and Jake doesn't like anyone touching him, including his father.
It is at this point that we realize numbers are important. Jake is wrting numbers in a notebook in a spiral pattern and one of the Firemen makes a remark about how Jake always climbs the Cell Tower at 3.18. They know this because the alrm always sounds at that precise time. This is the 3rd time in 3 weeks that Jake has pulled this stunt. Martin can't think why 3.18 would be important to Jake and drives him home.
On the way home, Martin stops for gas. Jake jumps out the car and looks at the school bus. Martin notices the number 318 on the back of the bus. They both go inside the store at the gas station and there's a man, who we later find out is called Randall Meade (Titus Welliver), buying a lottery ticket with the following numbers - 87, 1, 9, 20, 31, 11. Randall also has the numbers 318 tattooed across his fingers.
Jake steals the lottery ticket and locks himself in the car. He copies the numbers into his notebook before returning the lottery ticket to Martin. Martin hands the lottery ticket back to Randall. Randall then punches Martin in the stomach.Randall then sticks his lottery ticket on the wall with all the other lottery tickets he has with the exact same numbers on them (At this point, you are left thinking Randall has an obsession with the lottery or has a screw loose).
Martin goes into Jake's room at 3.18 am and tucks Jake into bed. Jake has arranged the cell phones his Dad gave him earlier into a spiral pattern. They all start ringing simultaneously at the same time and all display the same number calling them - 87 1 9 20 31 11. These are the lottery numbers Randall bought earlier in the day and Martin notices the numbers are the same ones Jake has written in his book. He asks Jake how he's has managed to do this but Jake can not reply.
Mutism is Real. Here are Some Helpful Books to Explain Jake's Condition
Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is a social worker come to check up on the Bohm family because of Jake's recent behaviour. Clea is worried that Jake needs to be institutionalized as Martin is failing to care for his son. Clea feels it would be best for both parties if Jake was institutionalized and feels Martin has failed to make a connection with Jake because of his condition. Jake has been classed as Autistic but Martin has never agreed with that diagnosis as Jake doesn't fit all the categories and is completely silent. Jake also suffers from Mutism, where a child does not talk, normally due to anxiety.
Due to a lack of a Mother, Sarah Bohm died in the North Tower in the World Trade Center on September 11th 2000, Martin is solely responsible for Jake. He's has numerous jobs in the past few years and Jake's condition will only continue to cost more financially as he ages. Clea takes Jake to the Institute to observe and assess him for 2 weeks, in order to decide what will happen long term with Jake.
Martin explains to Clea that Jake shouldn't be touched and has certain habits that she should go along with to keep him happy, such as giving him popcorn when he gets distressed, which he will count first before eating them.
Martin also tries to explain that he thinks Jake is trying to communicate with him through numbers but Clea thinks Martin is grasping at straws; despetately looking for a connection where none exists. Martin sees the lottery numbers in the newspaper and realizes they are the same numbers in Jake's book. Again he tries to show the social worker but she puts it down to mathematical ability commonly shown by Autistic kids.
While Jake is with the social worker, Martin goes to talk to his wife in the cemetry. While talking to Sarah he notices a Fire Department Badge by the side of her headstone with the number 318.
Martin Bohm decides to look into Mutism further and finds out about The Teller Institute. He goes to the Teller institute and meets Arthur Dewitt (Danny Glover) who explains that Jake is special. Jake's ability allows him to see the world differently. He can see how everything is connected, the past, the present and the future. Exactly what Jake explained at the beginning of the episode, but someone had to clue Martin in on what's going on inside Jake's head. He also explains that a lot of what Jake does is based on mathematical principles such as Fibonacci sequences.
Jack does something strange and mysterious with Clea and she suddenly realizes that Martin is right about Jake. She realizes today's date is the 18th of March, which can also be written as 3.18.
Randall Meade realizes he's won the lottery and makes a call saying he'd like to come home now. He books a ticket on the train to go to Lynchberg, Virginia.
Martin realizes the number in Jake's book is a phone number. He calls the number and finds out it's for Grand central station. Martin runs to the train station as it's almost 3.18pm. He thinks something important is going to happen at 3.18 and that's what Jake has been trying to tell him. Martin finds the phone that matches the number in Jake's book but there's a man already using it to make a call. It's Randall Meade.
Martin recognizes Randall as the guy that punched him in the gut at the gas station and they fight until the cops break them up. Randall misses his train to Virginia.
Martin wakes up at 3.18 in Jake's room. He listens to the message on the answer phone. It's from a Fireman saying he was with ladder company 318 on September 11th 2001. He was on the 87th floor and found a woman alive but barely conscious and was badly bleeding. It was Martins wife, Sarah. The Fireman tried to carry her down the stairs but only managed 31 flights of stairs and then couldn't carry her any further so put her down. He thought about Sarah a lot over the last 10 years. He used these numbers in the lottery because of their significance - 87, 1, 9, 20, 31, 11. He has some money now because of Sarah, he won the lottery with her numbers, and he thinks she would want him to give it all away. Then you hear martin in the backgorun of the call saying he needs the phone. It's Randall Meade, the guy that Martin beat up in the train station.
At that exact moment, Martin sees the news on the TV and Randall is talking with a Reporter. He saved some kids from a burning school bus, number 318. He realizes that he wouldn't have been able to do that if he hadn't missed his train.
Martin goes to the Institute but Jakes isn't there. Martin knows where Jake is.
Simon Plimpton is now in Tokyo, Japan. He works for a company that deals in restaurant supplies and there's going to be a new chain of Italian bakeries opening in Japan soon.
We now move to a new character and you are initally left wondering why we have skipped to a girl called Kayla Graham (Karen David), singing Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. Her friend, Niles, is recording her performance on a cell phone a work colleague found in his bag when he came back from New York. Yes, it's Simon's missing phone.
Niles has checked the phone and has found that it's full of videos and messages from all over the world. He gets it into his head to use the phone as a marketing opportunity for Kayla's music career to take off. Kayla is sceptical as to how successful this plan will be, after all they are cubical workers. There's no chance she'll ever get famous in Dublin, Ireland.
Niles slips the cell phone into luggage that is heading off to Japan.
While in Japan the man with the phone is robbed by a sweet little Japanese girl who turns out to be an escort. She also takes Simon's phone and thinks Kayla Graham must be a huge star in Ireland. She tells a friend of hers, also in the business, about the phone. They decide to give it to a friend who knows about computers to download everything off the phone and make a fanclub dedicated to Kayla Graham.
The Japanese girl has a "client" who is going to Kuwait later in the day and she puts the phone in his case.
We skip to another new character this time in Baghdad. His family's oven has just broken and without it they can not bake bread to earn a living and will lose everything, including their house. The young boy, Abdul Kozari (Shak Ghacha), promises his mother he will find a way to fix things. A new oven would cost 800,000 Dinar.
Abdul speak with a firend that thinks they can steal an oven from the local restaurant. He knows where the key is kept at night. Abdul is caught in the restaurant after hours and has to agree to become a suicide bomber to get the money for a new oven. The bomb is made from a number of cell phones and the detonator is Simon's cell phone of course.
Simon Plimpton finally decides to call his cell phone provider to find out where his phone is. Lo and behold he gets connected to Kayla Graham who works in a cubicle, in Ireland. He can't get through to his phone since it's in an "invalid territory" - Iraq. Certain countries ar eblocked for security reasons and Simon has to explian that he has pictures of his dead daughter on the phone and desperately wants the phone back. His daughter died on 3.18 the previous year. He tells Kayla he sells restaurant supplies. Kayla puts him on hold to try and find his phone.
While on hold, Simon turns around to see pictures from his cell phone being shown on the big TV screens in Japan around him. The Japanese girl's friend came through for them after all. Simon got to see his little girl on her birthday afterall.
Kayla connects to Simon's cell and speaks to Abdul who explains Simon's cell is busy right now as it's the detonator on his suicide jacket. Kayla asks him not to blow himself up in return for the phone. Abdul agrees if he can also get an oven for his family. Kayla knows someone in restaurant supplies who will be willing to help. Abdul stops the bomb with 1 second to spare.
In the end everyone is happy. Simon gets his cell phone back. Abdul gets the new oven his family needs and Kayla Graham has a fanclub in Japan and a YouTube video of her performance with over 1.61 million views. Another Fibonacci number.
Martin finds his son sitting at the top of the Cell Tower again and climbs it in the rain. He tells Jake he now understands what he's trying to tell him. Jake hugs his father in order to pull out his cell phone from Martin's back pocket. Jake dials a phone number and hands the phone to Martin. Martin knows it's the next stop on the road map Jake is creating.
Touch Cast and Characters
Kiefer Sutherland plays the role of Martin Bohm - A baggage handler at JFK airport trying to cope with his silent son Jake Bohm who also appears to have Autism.
David Mazouz plays the role of Jake Bohm - The silent 11 year old who has an affinity with numbers and sees the world dfferently from everyone else.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays the role of Clea Hopkins - the social worker who suddenly realizes she's been wrong about Jake and suddenly realizes Martin is right about his son.
Danny Glover plays Arthur DeWitt - The eccentric scientist in charge of The Teller Institute.
These are likely to be the reoccurring roles in Touch. It's highely likely that each episode will feature a whole new group of people as Jake continues to guide his Dad in making in the required connections.
Is Touch About Religion and Fate?
The Touch TV series raises a lot of thoughts and questions in terms of faith and religion.
If Jake's purpose in life is to help people connect and he can see the patterns of the Universe it raises some serious implications. For those that are religious, does this mean that Jake, through the actions of Martin, has the ability to change lives? Is he following God's plan and fixing things so things go as according to God's plans or is he running counter to God's plans.
This leads to fate and choices and if we really have a choice in what happens in our lives. Do we determine our own destiny or is it predetermined.
For me it led to the question of how could God rely on children to see the pattern and take the appropriate steps to fix them? Wouldn't that mean that God is not all powerful and omnipotent if he has to act through a silent autistic children.
And what about the bad things that have already happened in the world? Does that mean God allowed those to happen because the child who could see patterns wasn't sent the appropriate information or failed to figure it out in time? September 11th has got to be such an event. Could all of those events have been prevented and if so why weren't they?
WIll You Enjoy Touch?
I really liked Touch but I really like TV shows that are based on reality but have an interesting element to them, and that's what Touch has.
If you're a fan of Kiefer Sutherland then you will probably like the Touch series. He is the star of the show and his emotional portrayal of a Father trying to connect with his unresponsive son is heartfelt and extremely sad, and frustrating at the same time. You can't help but pity Kiefer Sutherland's character, Martin.
Touch is also similar to 24 in that there are a number of different stories at the beginning that don't seem to be connected but eventually come together to form a whole.
The show touches (no pun intended) on an important aspect of modern life and in some ways tries to show us how technology has changed our lives. The question is if technology is bringing us together or futher apart? Touch has shown so far that is can do both, in the series premiere, and it will be interesting to see how this theme will continute in futher episodes.
The advertising guys at Orange must be wondering how they failed to get an Orange ad into this episode of Touch. Although, I have to say as a viewer it was refreshing not to be bombarded with brands and advertising. I couldn't tell what brand any of the cell phones were, and there were a lot of cell phones. At least 60 cell phones were featured in this episode. Also, it can't be said that no cell phones were harmed in the filming of the Pliot episode of Touch, as approximately 30 to 35 cell phones were dismantled to make a bomb.
Learn More About the Patterns Jake sees Naturally
Don't worry about needing to know complicated mathematical formula or equations. It's not central to the story that you actually need to know the in's and outs of Fibonacci, it's purely used as a basis for Jake's special ability.
On the other hand, if you want to learn more about how Fibonacci is reflected in nature, in examples such as a seashell or a wave, then choose one of the books suggested on the right.
If you were a fan of Heroes then prepare to make the Touch TV show a regular on your viewing schedule. Tim Kring is the Creator of Touch and the show feels very much like Heroes. The narration at the beginning of the episode, and again at the end, follows the same format as Heroes. It's hard to tell who is the Hero and the Villain in the episode and people switch between roles, just like they did in Heroes. In a way, Jake and Martin have special powers. We will have to wait and see how this will develop.
If you like putting the pieces together than Touch is for you. Although the connections wer explicitly pointed out in this episode it may be more subtle in episodes to come. I think these "red threads" or connections were stressed for the viewer to easily see what the show is about.
Why You Won't Enjoy Touch
For those looking to space out in front of the TV and not get sucked in or involved in a confused and tangled plot, then Touch is definitely not for you.
Understanding and watching the Touch TV series involves paying attention to minute details, which at first inspection may seem unimportant. However, these tiny details make up the whole picture very much like a photo mosaic.
If you disliked Mercury Rising, where Bruce Willis starred as an FBI agent protecting an Autistic kid from assassins after breaking the American Governments code, then it's highly likely you won't like Touch.
If you don't believe or like that social experiment which took place a few years ago which proved we are only ever 7 steps away from someone then you'll really dislike Touch. I'm talking about "7 steps to Kevin Bacon."
Are You a Fan of Touch?
Where Will Touch Go From Here?
If Touch follows the "normal" TV series layout then the series will follow Martin and Jake following the numbers to make the required connections and saving lives. Hopefully we will see more of the eccentric character played by Danny Glover.
The only downside with this plot is it becomes predictable and formulaic. Viewers could potentially get bored and decide it's not worth it. Just like what happened with similar type shows such as Quantum Leap and Early Edition.
To really gain a following, the show will have to keep the audience guessing and make us realize there is more to the puzzle than we think.