By John Keegan
For various reasons, I got behind on "Touch", but part of it was the simple fact that it has fallen very far towards the bottom of my priority list. The underlying "message" of this show is just a bit too facile for my liking, and I don't like it when writers modify real information or fake significance to prove a point. Especially when they know it's a point that many will accept without any level of critical thinking.
So much of this show strikes me as Tim Kring's attempt to tell critics of "Heroes" that their desire for sensible continuity was wrong-headed, because it's "the message" that is the important thing. In this case, the message is that science only thinks it has the answers; religion or mere spiritualism is the real deal. Only he makes this case by claiming that the fundamental mathematical sequences within nature all combine as an expression of the interconnectedness of the universe. And then he (and his writers) proceed to change the sequences, and their meaning, as it suits them.
As I've said before, this strikes me as an enormous cheat. Stories don't have to make sense when they interconnect, because it's just an example of how "logic" can't account for the random interactions in our lives. I'm sorry, but that's not it; it's just a guise for sloppy writing. More than that, the obvious seams are covered over with a layer of cheap sentimentality that is meant to tug at the heartstrings, making it all the easier to quiet the rational voice in one's head saying how little sense it all makes.
For instance, Jake's aunt Abigail runs roughshod over all of the established procedures for getting access to Jake's files, from handing out gifts and endowments, yet not once did Clea indicate that she would do anything about it. If nothing else, if she's on Martin's side, she ought to document Abigail's transgressions for the purposes of the eventual review. Everything about Abigail screams "villain", especially in light of Teller's suggestion that there is an agency out there trying to keep the "truth" from being revealed.
And yet, meanwhile, Martin is off tilting his windmills (which, of course, must be correct, or the concept falls apart). This involves getting involved in high stakes gambling that, it is heavily implied, could lead to serious violent consequences if he and Devon's cheating (and that's what it is) somehow gets noticed. It's hard to disagree with Abigail's opinion that Jake would be better off with her, when Martin is putting himself in a position where he wouldn't be coming home to his son.
The subplot with the horse and the Australian station had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story, other than the random fact that his number was on Devon's phone. I assume that the money gained from selling the station would have been used to help Devon pay off the debts, but that was never explicitly stated. Instead, we were treated to the feel-good commentary on how living in the city is bad, and living in the country is good. That the whole subplot was utterly predictable was just icing on the cake.
And then there was the absolutely terrible subplot with Natalie, which was meant to underscore the notion that the collective will of those engaged in her little project to reunite Paolo with his apparent love, Celeste. Oddly enough, the way that the subplot ended undercut the whole point that was being made. The collective will of all Natalie's supporters had nothing to do with Paolo finding his love. Natalie's persistence and obvious interest in Paolo was all that mattered; the rest was window dressing. Never mind that the writers casually toss aside the little problem of Celeste and the fact that she was in love with Paolo! Since Natalie's supporters were ostensibly praying/willing Paolo and Celeste to meet, doesn't the fact that Paolo and Natalie got together negate the whole point?
Keep in mind that only one of the three subplots in this story had anything to do with the "number", and then factor in the random insertion of the phone and Japanese girls from the pilot. Add to that how predictable all three plot threads were from the start, and the cloying "message" that all of this relates to hidden connections that bind us all in ways beyond logic. The whole is less than the sum of its parts.John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision.