Touch Recap: 1+1=3

29 03 2012

By Hilda Clark Bowen

When does 1+1=3? It is a mathematical fallacy, but for some, it means synergy. Synergy, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “the working together of two things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects.”

When we left off in the pilot, Jake (David Mazouz) had made a connection with his father, Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland), for the first time, indeed not only giving him his first hug ever, but also a clue to his next red thread to untangle, the phone number: 718-673-5296. Trying to see if there was a clue in that phone number, I dialed it. It is an actual landline in the Greater New York area, but the phone number is not programmed to take messages.

The new show opens in what looks to be a country in India perhaps, with a young man (Karan Soni) on a bench with a pottery statue, and continues with short clips of all the people involved in tonight’s episode. Clea (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) returns to the Bohm’s home to take Jake back to the facility for an assessment. Despite what she witnessed, she still has to follow her job’s mandate, but reassures Martin she is on his side–she wants Jake home with Martin for good. When he politely refuses to cooperate, she politely informs him she’ll need to call the police. He reconsiders and walks over to explain things to Jake. Jake writes the phone number he wants his father to follow in the palm of his hand and leaves with Clea.

Martin looks up the phone number on his reverse directory and it belongs to Arnie’s Pawn Shop, 318 East Fordham Road, New York, New York. East Fordham is actually a street in the Bronx (I lived in the Bronx for a short time), but 318 does not exist (316 does), although I do like the call back to the first episode where 318 was important (the school bus, the fireman’s badge number, the number of the street address of the Teller Institute on West Tesla Street in the Bronx, the date and time to run into the fireman).

At the JFK Airport where Martin works, his path crosses with Lyov, a dog going to Moscow. Upstairs in the passenger area, flight attendant, Becca Klepper (Amy Sloan) is rushing and runs directly into the young man from India, scattering the ashes of his dead father that were contained within the pottery piece on the terminal’s ground. Becca meets up with Martin on the tarmac. She is supposed to escort Lyov to Moscow. While putting the dog on the truck, Martin accidentally pops the crate open and Lyov takes off.

At the assessment center, Jake repetitively writes 5296. Not understanding that he cannot just pop random numbers that have no connectivity out of his head, Clea asks him to use popcorn kernels to “guess” her phone number or address. Instead, he creates a smiley face for her. When she tries to get Jake to use paint to express his numbers, he uses it to paint his hand instead. Clea looks defeated. While getting him a wipe to clean up his hand, Jake has bolted from the room already but not before writing 5296 for her. Jake puts his orange handprint on a door with the number 6 on it in the basement. When Clea notices all the doors are locked, she subsequently notices the keypad at the exit door. She puts in 5296 and the door opens. In a beautiful scene, as the door opens, the sunlight shines on Clea faces, a light that is leading her to take another step in believing that nothing Jake does is random.

The young ladies from Japan from the pilot episode, Miyoko (May Miyata) and Izumi (Satomi Okuno) arrive at JFK Airport on their way to Los Angeles to the Coastabella Music Festival. They are fans of the group “The Morticians.” Their physical path crosses with Becca, the flight attendant, at the terminal. Becca runs into the young man she bumped into earlier, as she missed her flight chasing after the dog, and he keeps trying to get to New York Stadium but the bus keeps dropping him back at the terminal. They discover both their fathers love baseball. He is trying to get his father’s ashes at center field. Becca admires him, saying “some of us will never get the chance.” Seeing how lost he looks trying to navigate just to get to the cab, she offers to assist him in getting to the stadium.

Martin enters the pawn shop. He overhears the man say, “I’m ready.” Martin does not understand. He explains to Arnie Klepper (Jude Ciccolella) that he was the guy who phoned him. Arnie still thinks he is crazy. A man walks in to rob the store (Blake Shields). The way the exchange goes between the masked man and Arnie, and the fact that he was surprised to see Martin there, I think Arnie wanted the man with the gun to shoot him (the opening having revealed that Arnie has cancer). Martin rushes him, the gun goes off, but Arnie only receives a shoulder wound. Martin pulls the mask off the man, now being able to identify him. A baseball lands at the young man’s eye level and he seems to recognize what it is. As the man flees, Martin turns over and sees a number at the top of the doorway where the chime is:  318. Obviously 318 is playing a significant role in now two episodes of Touch.

The young man meets Yuri Andreev (Mark Ivanir) in an alley, showing him a bunch of jewelry. The young man owes Yuri $10,000, but “the deal fell apart.” He tries to offer him a baseball that he says belonged to “Patrick McGrath’s home run in game 7 of the 2009 League Championship” that is worth $50,000. He tries to appeal to Yuri to give him a second chance. Yuri throws the ball out of the alley and says he has 3 hours to get him his money.

On the bus, Becca discovers that the young man carrying his father’s ashes has not made prior arrangements at the stadium and warns him that it may not happen. He says he must do this because he made a promise. His father was greatly disappointed in him as a son. Despite that, he feels he must do this because it is his duty as a son to show his father respect. Becca begins to cry. The young man comforts her.

Martin shares what has happened with Dr. Arthur Teller (Danny Glover). He offers Martin another orange soda (like in the first episode). Martin is trying to figure out what he is supposed to or not supposed to do in these situations. When there is cosmic pain that needs to be healed, Jake sees and feels that. Martin receives a phone call from Clea that Jake is gone, but when he looks up and out the window, he sees Jake there. But a bus pulls up (number 36) and Jake gets on. Martin runs after the bus and gets on (wait a minute–he didn’t pay his fare!)

In Moscow, Pavel Andreev (Daniel Polo) and his mom (Tatiana Chekhova) talk in the car before a talent show at school. Most of the other children do not seem to like him, and he hoped to impress them with magic. Only a young girl (Alex Peters) who adores him claps for him. Pavel is in emotional pain when the kids laugh as he tries to exit the stage and breaks a glass. Returning to the magic shop, Pavel demands the product did not live up to the advertising. The man (Eugene Alper) insists there are no bad products, only bad magicians. On the way out, Pavel spots the young girl from the audience. When inquiring why everyone hates him, she tells him they are afraid of his father (Yuri) because he is Solntsevskaya, or part of the Russian mob, not just a businessman, using a Tony Soprano reference.

Jake gets off the bus at W 132nd Street and Creston Avenue (an actual Bronx road) and winds up at the pawn shop. Martin notices the phone number is not the correct one Jake gave him–off by one number–5297 instead of 5296. When he dials, it is coming from above the store. Jake tries the door; it opens and he walks in, followed by Martin. He sees a letter addressed to Becca offering up apologies for mistakes “he” (her father) has made and reassures her that he loves her, with some of the words, “something has happened in my life”, “that our time here is precious”, and “I have left thinking…” and “forgive me” visible to the audience. Jake picks up a bat in the apartment that has the number 5296 on it. Martin sees a prescription for chlorambucil. (Chlorambucil is a chemotherapeutic medication used to treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Hodgkin’s disease). A young man interrupts him.

The character who stole the baseball continues to try to sell it, but has no takers even at $10,000. He sees a picture on the wall about the catch he made, “Peanut Vendor Makes Lucky Catch.”

Becca and the man from India arrive at the stadium. However, the guard (Shane Blades) will not let them in. She encourages him that he did not fail as he had gotten this far, has gotten closure and not many people could say that. Becca says Lyov, the dog. When she runs to get him, he bolts and she chases him. Running in heels is never a fun thing to do.

The young man in the apartment returns with cash for Martin. Martin looks confused. The young man is going to hurt Martin, but Martin grabs the bat that Jake left near the couch (and Martin does see the number 5296). He scoops Jake up (which leads to Jake screaming) and carries him out to a cab. The driver (Tom Riordan) asks, “Where to” and Jake drops the prescription bottle on the seat. They are off to Victory Memorial Hospital. (Note: This is an actual hospital in Brooklyn that was noted for his delivering of babies that was closed. It sat just blocks from the Verrazano Bridge. They used to deliver a large number of babies of Italian and Irish descent, now it was more of Chinese and Russian descent).

Once at the hospital, Arnie happens to be in Room 5296, but not right now. Out the window, Martin and Jake see a hospital-gowned Arnie walking towards the bridge (it does not really look like the Verrazano Bridge to my memory).

The peanut vendor talks to Patrick McGrath, (Randall Batinkoff), the player whose ball he caught. McGrath mentions something about a “lawsuit” that allowed the peanut vendor to keep the ball. He shares a story that after he tried to sell his childhood dream (catching the ball), things in his life went from bad to worse. He just wanted to put things back right. He feels that in order to fix that karma, he needed to give the player his ball back. As the peanut vendor walks out, he leaves the door open for the man from India to go in. I’m sure the peanut vendor did not know he was to become part of a chain of events for this man either. The peanut vendor drives to where Yuri is waiting for him in a parking lot. Yuri realizes that he is going to have to beat him up for nonpayment. The peanut vendor reminds him that choices are cause and effect. Yuri gets a phone call from his son. He wonders if Pavel received the dog (Lyov) he sent him. Pavel confronts Yuri–does he not have friends because Yuri hurts people? He lies and tells Pavel no, and that “people change.” He will help his friends see that. Yuri turns to the peanut vendor and tells him he will give him his second chance.

Arnie stands on the side of the bridge looking down on traffic. (This definitely is not the Verrazano Bridge because that bridge goes over water). Martin tells him he knows everything–about his cancer, about the $10,000 he gave to the man to rob his store and kill him. Arnie does not know why Martin keeps “doing this to me.” Martin says he was meant to find him and help him. Arnie says he is dying. Martin says he does not know that as he has not even gone through the treatment yet. Arnie says he has no one who cares either way. Martin says he read the letter to Becca. His plan was to be able to leave her insurance money (if were killed in a robbery), but he could not even get that plan right. He plans to leave as he came in–alone. Martin says he’s there and he is not alone. Arnie, not convinced, prepares himself to jump as Martin rushes in and grabs him under the shoulders and pulls him over. Martin reassures him that he wants to be his friend and that he does care. A dog barks. It has to be Lyov (which will be followed by Becca). Martin is in further disbelief when he sees Becca.

An ending montage is played to the song by Alexi Murdoch, “Someday Soon.” (I love my father and I love him well…I hope to see my father soon…). The orange handprint being washed off the door. Arnie and Becca in the hospital room holding hands. The man from India spreading his father’s ashes at the pitcher’s mound and cries for the first time after his father’s death. Yuri arriving home on the plane to his son and wife. It becomes clear this was an episode mostly about fathers, including Martin and Jake. However, the montage then shows the girls from Japan. The peanut vendor is seen with a spring in his steps and burden lighter.

It closes with Martin saying, “There are so many things I wanted to teach you….” and goes into what he thought a father should do and be. “Now it turns out, you teaching me, and I want you to know I’m okay with that.” There is a hint of smile in Jake’s face for another thread healed in the world.

My thoughts about the episode: I’m enjoying the recurrent threads of the 318 numbers (which I’m not quite sure what it means yet although I keep looking). I’m curious where the threads will lead again with the girls from Japan. It was nice to see actors I have not seen in awhile: Amy Sloan whose work I had become familiar with on “Call Me Fitz”, Jude Ciccolella with his connections to Kiefer’s old show “24”, and Blake Shields who had been in “Sleeper Cell” and Tim Kring’s “Heroes.” That Jake feels cosmic pain does not surprise me. Oftentimes children with special needs have heightened senses. For example, my Patrick knows when there is someone around him who is uncomfortable with his behavior even though they do not speak a single word (and rarely does he). Tim Kring obviously takes that to the next level. My son, Patrick, is my life’s greatest teacher.  He has taught me how to live in the moment, a rare gift in a crazy world.  He has taught me patience.  He has taught me the beauty of eye contact, the joy of shaking a head up and down or right to left to respond to a simple question, and so much more.  My world is more about possibilities than absolutes.  Whether Yuri will leave the mob is doubtful, but at least for that one man on that one day, Yuri gave someone he never gave before a second chance. The show’s theme that concentrated on mostly fathers seemed to be more about second chances for everyone.


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5 09 2012
Arcelia Sunniga

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