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.





So You Think You Can Dance — Finale Performance Show

11 08 2011

It has been a wonderful journey with the best group of dancers to ever be picked in the Top 20 of So You Think You Can Dance. Tonight, the four favorites who flitted into our hearts were: Marko, Melanie, Sasha and Tadd. Katie Holmes and Kenny Ortega served as guest judges for this evening (I just LOVE Kenny Ortega).

Final4

The final 4: Marko, Sasha, Melanie, Tadd

Dancers: Melanie and Marko
Song: “I Feel Love”
Artist: Donna Summer
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Style: Disco
Story: None, just high-energy disco.

I was wondering when disco was going to show up. This song was a blast to my past. It was lovely seeing them partner again. Dressed like John Travolta, Marko did a slightly better job than Melanie with a bit more energy into all his movements. While it was danced well and it was fun to watch, there was no emotional investment in it for me and did not bring me back to that golden era. Kenny thought it was electric, sizzling and great. Katie loved it and said it was like watching Saturday Night Fever. Mary Murphy pointed out that the lifts were not great and they went in and out of the style. Nigel agreed with Mary and felt they were uncomfortable in the style and hoped that they do better in their other routines this evening.

Dancers: Sasha and all-star Mark Kanemura
Song: “Raise Your Weapon”
Artist: Deadmau5
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Style: Contemporary
Story: Ode to Sasha from Sonya, that Sasha handles all the struggles in her life with such grace and integrity, fueling her and giving her power. Mark represents the obstacles.

Another emotional dance for Sasha. This dance brought both goosebumps and tears and then a “hell-yah” out of me during the final sequence when she throws her obstacles to the ground (i.e., Mark). What a powerhouse duo in this pairing (Are you ready to join Lady Gaga’s tour, Sasha, with Mark?)! It stung me in all my emotionally vulnerable hotspots. Sasha has had some incredible performances, but this one tops them all. Mark is the perfect example of someone who did not win the show who went on to do fantastic things in the dance world. Like a fine wine, he has gotten better with age. Katie loved it, especially that walk at the end. Mary pulled out her train-whistled woo-hoo for this and called her a champion and a star. Nigel thought Sasha just threw down the gauntlet to the other three contestants.
Before getting to Sasha’s critique, Kenny had glowing things to say to Sonya who was deeply moved by his accolades. Turning to Sasha, he cited her struggles this week–an injury, battling against Melanie–but claimed her “Sasha, Warrior Princess.”

Dancers: Tadd and all-star Joshua Allen
Song: “Hustle Hard” (Traditional)
Artists: Ace Hood
Choreographer: Lil’C
Style: Hip-hop
Story: None, just the hustle.

Lil’C choreographed a very difficult routine. Tadd is the dark horse in this race, but having Joshua dance with him did not help him, like watching a master and his apprentice. Joshua was crouching lower and hitting harder. Tadd made it this far not only because of his dance technique but also his personality. Just looking at Tadd though, this is the best I have seen him dance all season. Mary said his difficulty is the “sweetie-pie” factor, but was able to pull off a hard-hitting hip-hop style. “Hustle Hard” was Tadd’s theme song for this season. Nigel complimented the moves on the knees, but still felt he was too sweet. Kenny thought the pairing was perfect and wants a pair of the red shoes. Katie thought his hustling was terrific and she loved the pairing. The red shoes helped to highlight how fast of a dancer he was.

Dancers: Melanie and all-star Robert Roldan
Song: “Sacrifice”
Artist: Sinead O’Connor
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Story: Unrequited love; in order to save herself, she has to say good-bye.

My goosebumps started halfway through and were at standing straight up on my arm and traveling down my legs by the time the song was over, a lovely rendition of the famous Elton John song. I loved this pairing as well, as each complimented each other. Nigel felt like Sasha threw down the gauntlet and the challenge was accepted. Kenny would push himself to the front of the line to have a chance to work with Melanie. At this point, Cat announced that he would be resurrecting “Dirty Dancing” and got Melanie her first job after SYTYCD. Katie thinks she is a magical dancer and loves how she creates stories. Mary feels like she is in a class of her own and is so proud of her. Melanie feels so blessed for the journey.

Dancers: Sasha and Marko
Song: “Whatever Lola Wants”
Artist: Ella Fitzgerald
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
Style: Broadway
Story: A restaurant scene. Marko is the waiter, Sasha an elegant dinner who wants to order something off menu.

Hot and spicy, both Sasha and Marko played their roles well. She looked elegant in her purple gown, showing off her cougaress cavort, going after what appeared to be a younger, geeky waiter, portrayed by Marko. Kenny thought it was fun, and their character conversions were fantastic. He had a few extra words of praise for Sasha about her giving her all for every performance. Katie compared Sasha to the legendary Cyd Charisse and thought Marko was great. Mary did not initially recognize Marko and thought he was perhaps one of the all-stars. She was surprised at what a wonderful actor he is, saying that it is not easy to pull off comedy and dance at the same time. The dance, however, did not wow Nigel. He thought Sasha was a better warrior princess than a vamp. He did not understand Marko’s character at all.

Taking a break in the dance action, Cat showed some interviews that she had with all the contestants. Melanie’s favorite moment was dancing with Neil Haskell (with the launch she did into his arms halfway across the stage). Her closest buddy in the competition is Ricky because he can make anyone smile and was such a fighter regardless of the criticism each week. Out of the four remaining, she feels closest to Marko. She misses her father and knows that he would be very proud of her. She then performed her solo to “Song for Viola” by Peter Bradley Adams. I cried, feeling like she was dancing that for her father.

Cat asked Marko what he was thinking when she read his name as the first one through to the finale. He had closed his eyes and wondered why she was waiting (she was waiting for him to open his eyes). His favorite performance was “Turned to Stone” with Melanie. She asked him what it was like to have his mother in the audience, and he again shared that he was not always the most grateful child growing up. Winning would mean “everything” to him. When he got shot, he was searching for the reasons why he survived and perhaps this show was a vehicle for that. He then performed his solo to “The Fear You Won’t Fall” by Joshua Radin, incorporating all he has learned, growing a great deal since his original audition. Tonight, his father was in the audience for the first time, giving him an extra boost.

Dancers: Sasha and Tadd
Song: “Raindrops”
Artist: Basement Jaxx
Choreographer: Mark Ballas
Style: Cha-cha
Story: None, just fun and sassy.

This was not finale-quality dancing. Both looked uncomfortable in the style. Because of that, they did not have that hot, spicy chemistry. The height difference was an issue for me. Katie completely bypassed saying anything about the dance itself and just complimented them on the journey. I think Katie did not want to be booed. Although agreeing with Katie, Mary had to talk about the dance. It just did not work–the connections, the body positions, missing hand connections, lack of chemistry, although Sasha fared a little bit better than Tadd. Nigel agrees with Mary, saying it was uncomfortable to watch. While Sasha did a bit better, Nigel felt it did not bear well for her either. Kenny said it was too ambitious for the last show and for them to walk it off and come back and blow us all away.

Dancers: Marko and all-star Lauren Froderman
Song: “Shirk”
Artist: Me’Shell Ndegedcello
Choreographer: Tessandra Chavez
Style: Contemporary
Story: Two people drawn to each other who can’t seem to find a way to make it work.

Setting the tone for the routine, Lauren was already in character, shedding tears when the dance started. This was another dance that drew me in emotionally, taking me on a journey of moments of my own life. My goosebumps never lie. Mary thought it was beautiful, provoking honest communication in the dance, feeling his soul. Nigel felt like it was a fabulous performance, redeeming his past dances of the evening. Kenny again complimented the outstanding choreography. He felt this was perfect partnering for him, that their spirits became alive, taking him to a distant place. Whatever Marko was doing in that dance, he needed to continue doing it. Katie also thanked Tessandra for the piece. He thanked Marko for creating these picture moments for her while he danced and deemed him magical (Magical Marko–it works–Cat stop stealing my phrases).

Tadd’s interview and solo were next. He thought and dreamed about being in the finale but cannot believe he is here. He thinks America is connecting to him in his solos. His favorite routine was the vulture dance with Jordan that Travis Wall choreographed. Most nervous performance was the first show when they had to make a first impression. There is web site apparently called: The Official “Keep Your Shirt Off Tadd” Fan Club. He said for some reason people want him to be naked, but Cat points out there is a difference between shirtless and naked. Winning would change his and his family’s lives. Dancing his last solo before voting to “Momma Knows Best” by Jessie J, Tadd showed off why we love him so. It was playful and creative.

Dancers: Tadd and Melanie
Song: “Show Me What You’re Working With”
Artist: Sista Monica
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Style: Jazz
Story: A guy cheats on his girlfriend and she catches him in the act. Sexy, naughty with a little dysfunction thrown in.

This dance showcased Tadd much better. Since he was comfortable, the chemistry flowed like river rapids between them. I got sexy, naughty and the dysfunction. It must have been difficult for Melanie to dance that short while with one heel on and one off; I can barely walk that way. The routine was a lot of good fun. The strip-tease of Tadd for his fan-base was a great touch after the comments made in his interview. The routine brought Nigel’s evening to life. He praised Tadd for a job well done, while complimenting Melanie for selling the character before the dancing ever began. Kenny apparently let out a “woo” during the dance. He loved everything about it and felt the choreographer delivered the perfect routine to showcase their strengths during a finale show. Katie felt like it was a breath of fresh air. Mary thought Tadd brought the sexy back and Melanie’s strut was like no other.

In the final interview and solo, Sasha never thought she would make it this far, loving that her sister has been with her the entire journey. Her favorite moment was when Lady Gaga threw her shoe. Several routines stood out to her, but she asked Cat which one she liked and Cat said the routine with Twitch. She talked more about the wonderful routine with Kent Boyd (with the wall), saying she had to go to a very dark place, and she had to put her journey into the dance. Seeing people affected emotionally in response to her dancing meant a great deal to her. Dancing to “Be Be Your Love” by Rachael Yamagata, Sasha also showed the audience the growth attained this season from that of her first audition.

Dancers: Sasha and Melanie
Song: “Heart Asks Pleasure First”
Artist: Anh Trio
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Style: Contemporary
Story: Suppressed housewives in the 1950s, feelings of isolation and loneliness. The two join forces to break free.

Extremely beautiful. Melanie and Sasha are in direct competition with each other, yet they dance and support each other every time they dance together like true professionals. Another moment of chills for me. Kenny thought the picket fences were symbolic of prison bars and the space in the yard the only place where these women could express themselves. It made him feel hopeless and he wanted to rush in and free them. It also made him curious about their paths, where these characters came from and where they were going. Katie loved the message about friendship and the power that two women can give to each other. Mary enjoyed every second of it, enjoying the movement and musicality. Nigel shared with the audience what we did not see–that each of them hugged each other and wished each other luck before the show came back on air. He said it did not matter who won because they would both grace any dance company they would join.

Dancers: Marko and Tadd
Song: “B.O.B.”
Artist: Outkast
Choreographer: Chuck Maldonado
Style: Gumboot stepping (hip-hop)
Story: Form of dance that was used to communicate in the mines of South Africa

A fantastic, high-energy way to close the show. Tadd had the slight edge in this dance, but Marko was not too shabby. The timing was a little off, but I noticed Tadd looking over at Marko at times to try to get them back in sync again. Katie enjoyed the athletic ability in this number, but it also sound like she was holding something back. Mary felt like it was solid gold for her. Nigel pointed out the rhythms were not together in this routine. Then he crushed them by saying he has felt all along a girl would win this season and that hadn’t changed although they stood up well for themselves tonight. Kenny thanked the dancers and the choreographer.

If it was simply based on dancing tonight, it would have to be Melanie, Marko, Sasha and Tadd. If it came down to most improved dancers over the season, it would be Tadd, Sasha, Marko and Melanie since Tadd, the b-boy held his own outside his own style of dance. Then Sasha was finally partnered with someone who brought out the best in her during the all-stars, and Marko and Melanie have remained pretty level throughout the competition. If it is based on the dancing all season it would be a tie between Melanie/Sasha then Marko and Tadd. However, the show is about America’s favorite dancer. Sasha has an overwhelming fan base and it will come down to who voted more, Melanie’s fans or Sasha’s fans. The margin of votes will be very, very close.  I predict Sasha is going to win.  But Nigel is right:  Both Melanie and Sasha will have tremendous careers after this (and I believe Marko and Tadd will, too).

Hilda Clark Bowen (a.k.a. PBMom)

Hilda Bowen (a.k.a. PBMom)