“TOUCH” Season 2 Premiere Preview

6 02 2013

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During the last season of TOUCH, we learned that Jake (David Mazouz) is one of the 36 Righteous Ones (Lamed Vav Tzadikim in Judaism mysticism). According to the Talmud, “as a mystical concept, the number 36 is even more intriguing. It is said that at all times there are 36 special people in the world, and that were it not for them, all of them, if even one of them was missing, the world would come to an end.” The sequence Professor Teller was working on he called “The Amelia Sequence” also known as the “mind of God.” We learned that Aster Corps, the corporation that Abigail (Martin’s sister in law) works, is interested in knowing the Amelia sequence for their own greed. (Note: an “aster” is a cellular structure shaped like a star, formed around each centrosome during mitosis, although their corporate logo is not represented by a star which may or may not be an important symbol in the show. I did see several stars during the season 2 premiere episode). Jake was part of their bigger plan. Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) taps into people he helped in season 1 to help him break Jake out of the boarding facility and try to disappear. The numbers lead them to Los Angeles which lead them to finding Amelia’s mother (Maria Bello) at the pier.

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Jake, Martin and Lucy

Last season, TOUCH ran into problems having Jake at a boarding facility (lack of mobility in the world), having Clea (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) as the adult Martin played off of (who was often tied to the boarding facility), and Martin who goes out on these quests for Jake. Clea, being the outsider, took awhile before she began to believe that the numbers Jake was showing the world were significant. Her dialogue lines almost became cliché, like Jack Bauer’s “We’re running out of time.” After a few episodes, while the thought was intriguing about the interconnectedness of everyone, a deeper mythos needed to emerge in order for the show to remain viable. As it was true with the shows “Alias” and “Lost,” TOUCH now moves into that realm.

TOUCH also had an image to get past. Unfortunately, it was not made clear that Jake did NOT have autism. Many media outlets reported it like that, and indeed on Netflix, they still describe season 1 as just that:

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Even though during the episode, Martin Bohm says that he was diagnosed with many things, including autism, he never bought into any of those diagnoses, but he is curious about Jake’s mutism. Mutism is NOT autism. Because of this, there were strong reactions from families with kids with autism. Having a character with autism is tricky enough. If the creators get it wrong, the backlash is horrible. I cannot tell you how many people have said, “Well, they say the kid has autism but that character is all the misconceptions of autism in one child.” And I have to still correct them. Kiefer Sutherland was on Ellen this past week saying Jake had supernatural abilities and not autism.

At the end of season 1, with the mysticism of the 36 Righteous Ones, coupled with an evil player (Aster Corp), coupled with several unknown characters of good and/or evil, you begin to develop a path where good and evil will collide. TOUCH adds the elements of hidden clues within the episodes that Lost so perfectly executed. Often I have to watch the episodes several times to see the subtle hints, like in this new episode of season 2, “Event Horizon.” It took my second viewing to see the object on the hacker’s desk.

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Guillermo Ortiz

While Gugu Mbatha-Raw was a great actress, the chemistry between her character and Martin Bohm could never become romantic. Thus, Maria Bello was added to the cast this season as Amelia’s mother, Lucy Robbins. This gives Martin another parent who understands exactly what he is going through, and gives way to the mission of season 2: Finding Amelia (Saxon Sharbino).

Added to the cast in this episode are Lukas Haas (24, Inception), as Calvin Norburg, who is part of Aster Corps. Actor Said Taghmaoui plays the character Guillermo Ortiz who has his own agenda. Fans of “24” will be pleased to see Greg Ellis (who played Michael Amador in the show “24”) as Jack’s former colleague, Trevor. Ray Santiago joins the cast as the hacker named Ruben Santiago. Dileep Rao (from Inception) joins the show for at least these 2 episodes. The episode also features another “24” and “Fringe” character actor, John Prosky, and “Date Movie” star Adam Campbell.

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Calvin Norburg

The episode of “Closer” was written by Carol Barbee (Jericho, Three Rivers). Everything she touches turns to gold and this episode is no exception. “Event Horizon” was written by Tim Kring. David Eick adds a producing credit and we know the quality we can expect from his productions.

Some people we see in “Closer” are Ayelet Zurer, Linda Gehringer, Randy Oglesby (Argo), John Boyd (of 24 & Argo), Isabella Acres (as Soleil, which means sun, which is the brightest star in our galaxy).

After watching the two episodes, I think the show has improved a great deal. There is an element of danger that was elusive in season 1. Instead of the numbers pushing the path for Martin to find the clues, the numbers serve as markers for Martin and Lucy that they are on the right path. There are other signs given along the way as well. Jake undergoes dramatic character changes. While it is recommended you watch season 1 to understand the base story, a new viewer can easily jump into season 2 with the explanation of important plot points given in the narration and the first episode. There are several targets on Jake’s back so danger is all around and you have to be careful who you trust. The change of location shoot opens up the scenery which is also a refreshing change.  I feel they make a joke within the dialogue:  Lucy:  “Maybe he’s ready for something new.”  Martin:  Aren’t we all?

I wish to thank FOX Broadcasting and the FOX VIP program for allowing me the privilege of the preview.

The special two-hour Season Two premiere episode of TOUCH, “Event Horizon/Closer,” airs Friday, Feb. 8 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Join us on Twitter for a tweet up.

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