Celebrity Corner: Bart Montgomery: Promotional Wizard (Part 2)

4 11 2013

Please read here for Part 1 of the interview:  https://pbmom.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/celebrity-corner-bart-montgomery-promotional-wizard-part-1/

How long do you get to work on a particular preview before it goes to air? Have there ever been close calls to deadlines? Can you share anything specific if you did?

Usually you get a week to work on promos for a show during the regular television season. You want to finish promos for an episode at least a week before the episode airs so there’s time for viewers to see them. On launch promos for new shows you get a longer time frame, perhaps weeks or months because you have the pilot episode already. For returning shows, you have to wait for production to start before you can get material to cut promos with.

There have been some close calls when it comes to a promo making air. Back in the day when I was doing promos for “America’s Most Wanted,” we would promo the specific fugitive that the show was looking for and sometimes viewers would see the promos, recognize the fugitive, call the police and the fugitive would be arrested before the actual episode could air. This would throw everything off and we would quickly have to produce new promos featuring a different fugitive. I remember having an hour to produce a new promo and finishing just in time for the new promo to be slapped into a tape machine and broadcast. Haven’t had to do that in a long time, thank God.

(X-Files Promos)

How do you decide which way to take a preview? I noticed that just recently on Twitter you asked viewers what they wanted to see in a preview and you got a pretty good response–no spoilers, action, explosions, relationships, which I think pretty much covers all aspects.

Ideas on how to approach doing a promo will usually come to me while I’m watching an episode. I take lots of detailed notes on dialogue and shots that I like. For “Fringe” alone I’ve taken around 2000 pages of notes. Notes make things move faster during an edit session because it’s easier to find what you need.

During most of my career I’ve never really had an occasion to ask fans of a show what they’d like to see in a promo / trailer. Twitter provided the perfect opportunity to learn what fans thought about how a favorite show is being sold to them. I asked fans questions when I was working on “Fringe” and the responses were very helpful. The music we used in the final “Fringe” promos was suggested by a fan. Fox has always been a leader in embracing new technology. Twitter is a wonderful tool for promotion and linking fans together and with “Fringe” it really showed. There are some AMAZING “Fringe” fans in the Twitter-verse and I am still awed by what they were able to pull off.


(Fringe Promo–Thanks @NataliaQuique)

I think that in some aspects part of your job is sales. You have to sell a show in a very specific short period of time. I think it is very reminiscent of commercials for products except people are usually flipping through commercials on their DVRs. Would I be right to think that while flipping through these commercials they have to see this preview of an episode and want to stop and look at it before they continue flipping through the products to get back to their show? If so, that’s pressure!

Television promos and trailers can be considered an art form but in the end yes, you are selling something. Promo producers are acutely aware that viewers are very adept at wielding the DVR remote. I try to have at least one shot in whatever promo I’m producing that will entice a viewer to stop fast-forwarding through a commercial break and rewind the DVR to watch the entire promo. Sometimes a few frames of a promo will be all you have to promote a show so you’ve got to really think about what you’re putting on the screen. It has to be interesting. It has to be compelling because most everyone is an expert at watching television and people know when you’re messing with them. The audience knows when you’re not being honest. They may not be able to quantify exactly why something in a promo or trailer isn’t quite right but they know something’s wrong. Make sense?

Alcatraz Promo

Have there ever been moments where after a piece airs you feel you could have done things a little differently, or is there no second guessing yourself in this line of work?

Yeah, I have thought of better ways to do a promo after the fact. Sure, there are a times when I feel that I absolutely nailed it but they’re rare. Given time you can find a million different ways to make a promo so there is some second guessing, I suppose.

I remember a particular promo I did for “The X Files” that had a shot in it that I thought was really cool. I didn’t stop to consider that younger viewers might be frightened by this shot. It was just a cool creepy shot to me. So the promo aired and I got a few irate e-mails from some parents who didn’t appreciate having to explain the “coolness” of this particular shot I’d used to their children. They were right. I learned from that mistake and don’t think I’ve ever repeated it.
Second guessing has its merits the trick is to do your second guessing before the promo airs.

With all the changes coming so rapidly in the way people view television, do you have any thoughts about the future for promotional clips?

Yes, things are changing fast in the world of television viewing. I think the future of what a promo will look like and how it will be viewed will evolve depending on one thing and that is when a viewer records a show on a DVR or streams it off the internet, will that viewer be able to fast-forward through promos. We all know that right now if you record a show on DVR, you can blaze through anything by fast-forwarding. Will that continue to be possible? We’re already starting to see disabled fast-forwarding in video on demand and streaming. Will that extend into all viewing options? Only time will tell.

Regardless of what happens, my personal philosophy regarding promos is this: Most everyone who watches television is an expert at watching television. Even if they can’t quantify why what they’re watching promo wise feels wrong or out of place, they will know something is not right. Viewers know when they’re being messed with because they’re experts at watching television. So, if you’re viewing a recorded show and a promo begins to play, that promo had better somehow grab your attention from the first frame and be compelling enough so that you don’t fast forward through it, you just have to watch it. It’s as simple and complex as that.

The future of promos will be interesting. I suspect there will be many new options explored for enticing viewers to watch new shows as well as established ones. Ten years from now who knows what the promo world will look like? It’s certainly changed a lot in the last ten years. One of the most exciting things to me is fan participation. It’s amazing to see fans up-loading promos of their favorite shows to the internet and sharing them with others or creating their own fan made pieces. It’s really cool. When fans get involved in this way, great things happen and as a promo producer, it’s really a lot of fun to watch!

Bart next to the Headless Horseman costume from Sleepy Hollow

Bart next to the Headless Horseman costume from Sleepy Hollow

I’d like to thank Bart for being SO generous with his time and his answers and to @NataliaQuique for being the ultimate uber-Bart-fan who gave me an idea and a push in the right direction.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know him better.  I sure did!





Celebrity Corner: Bart Montgomery: Promotional Wizard (Part 1)

1 11 2013

For a brief period of time from August 2008 until November of 2008 I had the tremendous opportunity to be part of a live newscast for Fox 26 Houston for a segment once a week called “Your Family Matters.” Other women within the community were also invited. While I was not on every week, because I had a unique perspective of being a mother of a child with a disability or politically because of my no-party affiliation, I was often selected for a particular topic as part of a group. I was captivated by all the elements that went into a production of a newscast. Every job is important. About the same time, I found a blog by Joseph Mallozzi who was an executive producer and writer on the series Stargate. Oftentimes he would feature a Q&A of different people working on the show. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more of all the elements that went in to creating a popular series. Occasionally I get a chance to ask questions of people working on a show. Occasionally they graciously indulge my request for an interview. What I am learning is that their stories are far more fascinating.

One such person is Bart Montgomery. Many of us on Twitter got to know him as the man behind the promotional pieces for Fringe on Fox Broadcasting. He became a rock star to us (although the modest man he is, I imagine that he would blush that I have said that). I wanted to know more about his career and how he makes certain decisions that lead him to create the videos that lead the viewer to decide whether or not it is something they might want to view. The answers were so terrific that I had to break this up into two parts. Here is the first of two. Enjoy!

What is your official title at Fox?

Senior Writer/Producer, Fox On-Air Promo Creative.

How long have you been with Fox?

I’ve been with Fox for 16 years, first from 1990 – 1999 then from 2006 to present.

BartsEditBay

Where the magic happens!

How did you get into this particular field of work? Was it something you studied for in college, or something that you got on-the-job experience? If you didn’t study for this particular field in college, what was your major?

I studied Film and Television production at the University of Missouri-Columbia. There isn’t a university level course that I know of that deals with producing television promos. It’s kind of a specialized thing that you learn on the job. I mean, you can learn the basics of television and film production in college and that will help you in promo work but in my university experience, I never studied anything as detailed as promo or trailer production.

To tell the truth, I kind of fell into producing promos by chance. I had moved out to Los Angeles to get into the film and television business in some capacity. I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet but just wanted to get involved. Unfortunately I arrived in L.A. during a writer’s strike so there was no work to be had. Every show and film set was shut down. After a couple of weeks looking for work, a friend of mine from college who was living in Florida and knew I was looking, told me that a friend of hers in Florida had a sister who was working at a promo / trailer production company in Hollywood. She told me that I should contact her friend’s sister so I did. I met her the next day and she hired me on the spot for the high profile job of runner / tape librarian. I had a masters degree and I was running around Hollywood picking up and delivering video tapes. Exciting huh? It does prove, however, that when it comes to getting a job in Hollywood, it IS who you know.
After several months working as a “runner” I was delivering tapes to an edit session for one of the company owners, a man named Geoff Calnan, who is a legend in the promo business. I kid you not, he is a promo master and anyone reading this has seen his work. I had dropped off the videotapes that were needed for the session and Geoff turns to me and asks me what I wanted to do in the company. Without thinking I replied, “I want to do what you do, produce promos and trailers.” I remember he looked at me for a moment and said, “Okay, you’re doing the next promo for “Superboy.” “Superboy” was a syndicated show that we had the promo contract for at the time. So, that was the first show I ever produced a promo for and it launched my career. I’ve even found some of my “Superboy” promos on YouTube— Go figure.

You do/have done the previews for episodes like The Following, Sleepy Hollow, Fringe, Almost Human, Touch, and X-Files. What are some other shows?

Well, in addition to the shows you’ve listed, I can give you a short overview. I’ve produced promos for “America’s Most Wanted” “Beverly Hills 90210” “The Simpsons” “Married with Children” “Millenium” “Harsh Realm” “24” “Family Guy” “Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles” to name a few.

Is it a team effort to produce the one preview or do you work on a particular project/episode by yourself while others are working on other episodes?

Usually each producer is assigned a show to write and produce promos for. Sometimes, especially when a show is first launched on the network, several producers will be assigned to produce multiple launch promos. But, most of the time, there is a single producer for each show.

Fox is a very creative place to work. They give you a lot of freedom to try different approaches. I’m biased of course but I think Fox is the best network on television and I’m proud to work here. There, I said it.


(Space Above And Beyond within a commercial block)

Do you get to choose the music for a particular preview? If so you must have to listen to quite a variety and be very knowledgeable about current trends. Do you hear something and think, “That would be great for such-and-such show” or do you file it away for a different time in the future?

Yes, as a producer I usually select the music for the promos. There are times when someone at a higher level will have a specific music idea or there may be a new music track being offered at a reduced rate by an established band looking for exposure that we’ll use but most of the time it’s me listening to various production music libraries. I’m always listening to current popular music tracks looking for ways to use songs that that I think would be good for a show I’m working on. More often than not, I’ll find something really good that I’ll file away in my mind for possible use later. I remember listening to Pandora one morning on the way to work and hearing a song by the band Collide called “Am I Here? I just had to use it and it became the track I used for the “Fringe” Season 4 launch promos so sometimes it’s just pure luck that you find exactly what you need musically. I’ve used music from Trent Reznor to Johnny Cash and everything in between. One band I’m dying to use in a promo / trailer is Garbage, just haven’t found the right situation yet.

(Come back for Part 2 in the next day or so.  The best is yet to come!)





HYPERION — A Film That Needs To Be Made

15 05 2013

May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website, cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects the lungs and digestive system in about 30,000 children and adults in the United States and 70,000 worldwide. In the 1950’s, children rarely lived long enough to attend elementary school. With research and medical treatments, outcomes are much better, yet still a cure needs to be found.

Kickstarter is a website that was developed to fund creative projects. According to their website, since 2009, more than 4 million people have pledged over $611 million funding more than 41,000 creative projects. Each project details what its needs to continue in development. Only projects that reach their goal 100% within a set time will be funded by those people who back the project. Oftentimes developers will offer incentives for certain levels of pledges. People often pledge because they feel some emotional connection to a project.

I was personally moved by the intense commitment of an actor who is associated with a project, Wesam Keesh. He was from the show “TOUCH” that was recently cancelled by Fox Broadcasting. The show opened with a narrative from Jake Bohm (actor David Mazouz) about numbers very similar to the a belief borne from the red string of fate, a Chinese legend that said the gods tie an invisible red string around the ankles of those that are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other. The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break, a concept very similar to soul mates. But Tim Kring, the creator of TOUCH, twisted this idea even further to tie a group of individuals’ lives together.

This project on Kickstarter is a film called HYPERION. Hyperion in Greek mythology means “the high one.” Hyperion was one of the 12 Titans. He was the Lord of Light. It is also the name of the tallest Redwood tree. 

HYPERION is a story created by Boman Modine who was inspired by the life of Eva Markvoort who passed away April 27, 2010 of cystic fibrosis. Her life journey can be read on her LiveJournal at http://65redroses.livejournal.com/

Being a mother of a child with severe autism and other disabilities, I understand the pain of seeing your child suffer with an incurable disease. Someday I hope a cure is found for autism, and if not that, then how it can be 100% prevented. I know that awareness is only the first step. I prefer having “action” than awareness. If this is the story inspires people to want to give to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, then this is a story that needs to be funded. I understand why this movie is called HYPERION. She was a goddess of light in the face of this disease process, in the face of her very palpable mortality. While researching this article, I discovered very few films were ever made that involves stories of the lives of people living with cystic fibrosis. There have been occasional episodes that have involved cystic fibrosis. Not having seen any of those episodes, if it is anything like autism, they likely get it mostly wrong. I felt like HYPERION might be like the movie 50/50. No one understood how this movie could work, but it did. I understand that in that movie, the character had a positive outcome, but we all face mortality and how we live in the droplets of life between birth and death is what matters.

Wesam was kind enough to answer some questions about the project and why this project is special to him.

How did you get involved in this project?

Boman Modine (director/writer) and I first discussed the project in its early stages during a regular coffee meet up. The story touched me deeply and the awareness it brings to Cystic Fibrosis is extremely valuable. You get to see how the disease affects people who have it, loved ones involved, and third party individuals. The message it tells is one of hope, love and strength.

Do you know someone who has (or had) cystic fibrosis?

Before this film I did not know anyone with Cystic Fibrosis, but through the film making process I was so honored to meet a woman who had a lung transplant from CF. Her story is amazing. She had her lung transplant 16-1/2 years ago and is doing great right now. Her attitude through most of her life has been a positive one and I do believe her positivity and inner faith pulled her through dark times in her life. Her case, unfortunately, is a very rare one. Transplant patients tend to survive only a few years after the surgery. She also mentioned to me that many young CF patients she has met have had a very negative and pessimistic attitude towards their ordeal. She really wants to let them know that their lives don’t have to be ruined by this disease. Yes, it’s an aspect of their life but it shouldn’t dictate their attitude or achievements that they could accomplish.

In researching how many films there were about cystic fibrosis, there have been a rare few. There have been individual episodes of different television series. What is special about this movie?

What makes HYPERION stand out is the positivity it brings through its story, the realistic relationships that are affected, and the humanity of the human spirit in the most dismal of times.

I see that Eva Markvoort, the woman who inspired this movie, HYPERION, passed away in 2010. Did you get to meet her before her death or her family at all before filming?

I did not unfortunately. It would have been a great honor.

What did you need to do to prepare for your role in this movie?

As of now, I am still in the process of preparation. Lots of reading and talking with people affected by CF.

Kickstarter can be a blessing for a lot of projects that would not otherwise get made. I see you passionately tweeting about this project, trying to get investors. What is driving this passion?

The message. There are many diseases out there that need research and awareness. Cystic Fibrosis is unfortunately one of those diseases that get overshadowed. I’m a very active person and I couldn’t imagine being stuck in a hospital bed. It would be so incredibly frustrating and depressing for me. I’m thankful for the body I have. So, I want to help those who don’t have what I have. I want to give them strength. We need to show people that even the smallest amount of thanks, donation, or sharing goes a very long way. The smallest effort could have the biggest effect.

Hyperion

From Right: Jason White, Joe Toronto, Wesam Keesh, Eddie Hassell (Courtesy of Wesam Keesh)

————————–

The project is struggling. With only 16 days to go, it is only about 33% funded. You do not have to be wealthy in order to be a part of something beautiful. If 3000 people pledged $5.00 each, that would get them there. I easily have 3000 views of my blog. I decided to join the cause. Because in the end, we are all connected.

For more information, please check out the project at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/447490465/hyperion-0?play=1&ref=search

Follow these people associated with the project on Twitter:

Boman Modine: @bomanmodine
Joe Toronto: @joetoronto10
Wesam Keesh: @WesamKeesh





Series Finale for Touch on Fox

11 05 2013

On Thursday, May 9, 2013, Fox Broadcasting confirmed what we all had been expecting: Touch would not receive a season 3 renewal. Friday, May 10, 2013 would be the series finale.

I think we could see the writing on the wall from the beginning of season 2. It was supposed to be aired in October 2012. Then it got bumped to January of 2013. Then it was pushed to Friday, February 1, 2013. Then it was changed to Friday, February 8, 2013. People in the science fiction community believe the Friday night slot is the place where shows go to get the final nail in the coffin. It was true for Fringe.

There was very sparse advertising for the show’s premiere. The shows the network had more faith in, like The Following, The Mindy Project, Ben and Kate, and New Girl got far more advertising both on-air and with the use of social media.

The first season struggled. Although 12 million viewers tuned in to watch it on Monday, a sweet day in the past for Kiefer Sutherland when he was on “24”, viewership quickly declined and it was moved to Thursday night after Idol, hoping to give it an American Idol bump. Fringe had that same progression. Monday to Thursday to Friday. For years now, people have been critical of the antiquated Nielsen structure to determine number of viewers and to target 18- to 49-year-old men. As a woman, that is really insulting to me. I have as much buying power as my husband, if not more. People have new viewing habits. The days of an actual TV in a home are limited as people go to the internet to watch TV shows now. But the methods advertisers base their rates are still built on the old model. In February, it was reported that Nielsen was going to roll out a new system. It would include people who watch over broadband, XBox, Playstation. Then next phase of the program would include any type of video viewing. It is also adding a new viewing measurement for social media to include people participating in tweeting and those exposed to those tweets (I am thinking this sounds similar to Klout). But it is too late for many of our cult favorites. Fringe would have benefited greatly from the massive fan support on social media.

The story also struggled. The biggest mistake was calling Jake autistic. After the first episode, many of my friends tuned out, turned off by the unrealistic portrayal by Hollywood AGAIN of their beloved children. At first, the show was about finding people who were hurting and help restoring happiness and wholeness to their lives. Shows are often a reflection of the times we live in. I think this is why The Following has had tremendous success–it is a very dark show. Then mid-season, Touch started building into it a mythos that sounded promising but moved a little bit too slow for an audience who needs to be on the edge of their seat an entire show to go out and convert others to watch it. When season 2 was introduced, people who gave up by the end of season 1 did not care to tune back in to see all the wonderful changes that were made. The story pace was quicker. It was building the mythos quicker, resolving things (like finding Amelia) in a timely manner, introducing an element of evil vs. good in the plot. Without a massive campaign saying, “Come try the show out again.”

Shows struggle in their first year to find their footing. I know this is true of Stargate Universe. It came from a franchise that had phenomenal fans and a lengthy history of good ratings, 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, 5 years of Stargate Atlantis, 2 Stargate DVD movies. With the success of Battlestar Galactica, they wanted to try a storyline they had really wished to pursue on Stargate Atlantis but could not–the heroes were trapped without any way to contact Earth or the original SG-1 team for help. By the end of season 1, Stargate Atlantis knew it needed to connect back to Earth. In Stargate Universe, they used a unique way to do this. There was an active campaign from within the Stargate community to boycott the show and point out all the flaws. Free speech still governs our society and they had the complete freedom to express their opinion. Whether it played as a factor in the ultimate demise of Stargate Universe remains unclear. I do know season 2 of Stargate Universe was better than season 1. Season 2 of Touch was better than season 1.

I was concerned for the finale. In the last episode, Amelia and Jake had been kidnapped after Martin’s car was hit. Would we have a finale where someone’s life hung in the balance, and the viewers would not have resolved whether or not a character would live or die? Would they be endings that would leave us at peace? Would the people in season 2 who were evil or sometimes evil and sometimes good receive justice? Would a new threat be introduced? Would Avram be found or locked away somewhere that we will never know if he is freed?

After watching the show, I have a feeling Tim Kring saw the possibility that this show would not get a season 3, and he decided to write the final episode, giving emotionally invested fans a story to leave in peace. He gave us just that. And the ending was a sweet acknowledgement of the first episode with the same narratives. I did cry at the end. However, it was not like the finale of Farscape where I was so disgusted with the abrupt cancellation and the inability of the writers to give fans a proper ending that I talked about it for years and, in fact, boycotted the network (in my narcissistic narrow world, I thought it would matter) for years, missing out on Stargate SG-1 for quite awhile.

Coming on the heels of hearing of Touch’s demise was the immediate rumors that Fox Broadcasting is now in talks with Kiefer Sutherland about reviving “24” in a “limited fashion.” Some on the internet think it might be a 13-episode series. Some think it might be the movie he was hoping for. For others, they are speculating that a miniseries might work. With the number 13 episodes, I now wonder if they plan for this to be tied in with The Following next year given its phenomenal ratings as that would be about the number of episodes. The first episode could give us background for the new story and then the episodes could still be in a full-day fashion with each episode being: “The following takes place between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.” which would be more realistic in Los Angeles or New York traveling times (or wherever they plan for it to take place). Twelve episodes of 2-hour increments would give us “24”.

And so it goes….another well-written show that goes into our history. I want to thank the cast and crew for producing a type of show I was craving, something I cared deeply about. But in the end, thank you for giving us a happy ending.

TouchbutterflyThankYou





Touch (S2E10) Two of a Kind Recap

26 04 2013

I was pleased to see two characters in the pilot who were also in “The Road Not Taken” reappear in this episode. We find out Dr. Nell Plimpton (Samantha Whittaker) is one of the 36. Please read Touch pilot episode I wrote for details. What I was not expecting was the ending which I won’t say until the recap is at that point.

As Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) and Trevor (Greg Ellis) sort out their grief and details of Lucy’s death, Martin realizes Amelia (Saxon Sharbino) was not in the car.

Pic1

Martin and Trevor grieve.

Meanwhile a creepy man (David Ury) listens in to the conversation and then heads over to Guillermo (Saïd Taghmaoui) who is looking at Dr. Nell Plimpton who is coming to Los Angeles today bringing over an ancient artifact. After the homeless guy wants to get paid, Guillermo kills him. That is going to be some mess to clean up!

Pic3

Homeless man blood splatter

And meanwhile Amelia is with Jake (David Mazouz) in his room. She wants to stay but can’t yet. Guillermo is coming to get them this date. The numbers are 10262000 (Jake’s date of birth and the day Guillermo’s family died.

Pic2

Cipher number for tonight.

Over in England, Dr. Plimpton is an insomniac and since “The Road Not Taken” they have had another child. It was Simon’s (David de Lautour) cell phone that made it around the world and helped people find each other. She is going to a clinic for insomnia suffers while in the States [why do I think evil Aster Corps has something in the works.]

Pic4

The Plimptons

Jake is feverish. He gets Martin to look at the cipher, the number and ultimately he speaks to Martin. “Find him.” Music to Martin’s ears. When Martin sees Avram (Bodhi Elfman) they discussed what happened with Jake and the “he” he has to find is Guillermo Ortiz.

Pic5

Jake talks!!!!

Jake writes in his notebook the 10262000 but then there is dash for the first time: 10262000 1026 2013-1026 2013-1026.

Pic6

More numbers. They are changing. The future is in constant motion, isn’t it? I learned that from Star Wars.

Calvin (Lukas Haas) sees a news report on Aster Corps given by Mrs. Nicole Farington (Frances Fisher) to the public trying to reassure them the bad parts of their company which completely denies knowing about have been taken away.

Pic7

Mrs. Farington of Aster Corps

Trevor was able to discover a body at the morgue.

The building manager (Ravil Isyanov) goes to collect the rent and thinks Guillermo’s room smells “funny” [like death perhaps?]. The number on the door is 27.

Pic8

You know when someone exaggerates and says “it smells like death in here.” For Guillermo it usually does.

Simon reads the book “Colors” to his daughter, red being on e cover. Nell calls from Chicago where her plane to stop and she was bumped. She wants him to make sure her package is picked up since it will arrive before her. Simon asks her what she sees. She starts saying the things in her surroundings. He asks again and describes the people who once were living on the land, a Potawatomi Indian Village where Chicago O’Hare is now.

Pic9

Nell’s power. She can visualize history.

Her flight 1026 to Los Angeles was now boarding so she says good-bye.

Avram talks out loud his theories on how the cipher is working. Baruch HaShem (thank God). Jake’s looking at a real map the whole time he is talking. He sees 2013 schedule LAXTrans: Take the 1026 bus to the airport. With Avram kicking the whole way, Jake is ready to take off and Avram has no choice.

Pic10

Take the bus to the plane (wait, I think the jingle was take the train to the plane).

Down at the morgue, Trevor and Martin see Guillermo’s work. His toe-tag number is 2013-1026.

Pic11

I hope I’m more than a number on a slab when I die.

When Jake and Avram get on bus 1026, they see a very exhausted Amelia.

Pic12

Bus 1026 and a waiting Amelia.

Mrs. Farington pays Calvin a visit. She is looking for Tony Rigby (Adam Campbell). She offers Calvin a job. They are running a “sleep clinic”. They have 6 of the 36 [and I bet Nell will make 7 once she checks in]. Calvin looks like he just got a dose of the drug of his choice–a cure for William–and after talking to him, he will be more motivated and convicted to achieve his goal.

Avram tells Martin he has Jake and Amelia. Amelia says today he must find Guillermo or innocent people will die.

Pic13

Jake, Amelia and Avram

The hotel was at 167 5th Street. The manager lets them in. They see the blood on the floor. Trevor hands Martin some trash.

Pic15

You can always find great clues in the trash.

They arrive at LAX and Jake sees flight 1026 had arrived. The box is going to St. Matthew University, 2013 West Adams Blvd, Room 1026. Jake writes on a piece of paper and hands it to Avram. They are symbols. He needs to call Martin but there is no cell service. Famous last words “Don’t move!”

Pic14

Another 2013-1026 connection

A man comes and takes the box away. Jake and Amelia follow. Avram and Martin talk via phone about the hieroglyphics. Nell bumps into Avram. She is wearing a blue shirt. After she gets in the car, Guillermo is right behind her. Guillermo sees a car, and stabs the man to get it.

Pic16

Nell bumps into Avram at the airport.

Jake and Amelia get into the van going to St. Matthew University.

Avram goes inside and does not see Jake or Amelia.

Mrs. Farington gives Calvin a tour of what they are doing. Aster Corps has their own quantum computer now. They have an almost 90-digit sequence. Calvin accepts the job offer. Mrs. Farington asks Calvin if he knows where Martin Bohm is and he says no. So he is holding out on Aster Corps should they do something he does not like. Or as a backup plan to help his brother in case things go wrong.

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I don’t know any Jake or Martin Bohm.

The package arrives. The kids get out.

Trevor tells Martin about the hieroglyphs and gets Martin connected with Simon. Simon says she is in Los Angeles. He asks what hotel she might be staying at. Simon has to think about whether to give this information out, saying “I can lose my job.” But deeper I think Simon recognizes Martin’s voice but cannot place where.

Martin and Avram update their situations. Martin says he thinks he knows where they have gone.

Amelia and Jake use 318 [the beginning number of the sequence] to open the security and then opened the box. Jake tries to leave her the numbers on the crate of what the hieroglyphs say. He does it with a red marker.

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Code 318 — back to the beginning.

Dr. Nell arrives in cab 287 [three numbers in the God sequence]. Guillermo pulls up as well. Jake realizes he is there. After going into the building Guillermo follows Nell and attacks her.

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I’m gonna kill you, but we have to wait.

Martin drives up. Nell asks Guillermo if he is going to kill her. He replies, “Yes but not until he arrives?” Jake talks telepathically to him, “She’s not the one.” It distracts him enough for Nell to escape.

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Jake speaks telepathically through the floor to him.

Nell runs into Martin. Martin tells her to leave and then he calls 911. He then pulls the fire alarm. Guillermo comes out of nowhere and attacks Martin. They stumble into the church sanctuary. [At this point I think Guillermo will not be able to kill in a church.]

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Martin and Guillermo struggle for the knife.

Martin has developed some fighting skillz that killz. Martin tells him it’s over. Guillermo breaks down sobbing. He says that today he is going to rid the world of another one of the 36. [I always knew he was going to, in the end, take his own life.

True to the character, however, Guillermo apologizes to God for not being able to complete his mission. He says, “I never found the nest of seven.” [Hmmmm. Now that Martin has found Amelia, I guess this is the quest for season 3, if they get a season 3]. Guillermo then slits his own throat.

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Guillermo slits his own throat. He was such a great bad guy. Sad to see him go.

Jake comes in. He rips the Tree of Life necklace off Guillermo’s body. Amelia follows and Martin and Amelia hug.

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Jake takes the Tree of Life off of him.

The police officer (Mykelti Williamson) questions Martin. He does not believe Martin. He tells him he needs to come down to the station tomorrow.

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I really don’t believe anything you’re saying Martin “Bishop”

Martin talks with Nell. Jake goes to Nell and grabs her hand. Martin tells Nell he thinks Jake wants to show her something.

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Jake wants to show you something.

Jake takes her to the artifact. Nell is very excited Jake cracked the code.

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The gift of numbers.

Amelia and Jake play chess at the house. Martin asks Avram about the nest of seven. Avram shrugs it off as ravings of a madman. [And I think Avram just lied to Martin].

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Avram lies to Martin.

Martin tells Amelia they are going to have to find her father. Amelia tells him he can try, but he won’t.

[There is a book on the table called “Aloft” by Chang-rae Lee; I looked it up and it does not seem to pertain to anything related to Touch…yet].

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The book on the table doesn’t appear to mean anything.

Martin tells Jake that Amelia is part of their family now. Jake gives him a small smile with direct eye contact. Jake likes the sound of that indeed.

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Jake smiles at Martin.





Celebrity Corner: Alex Ruiz of “Touch” Pops In

10 04 2013

TOUCH fans will recognize him from the episode “Enemy of My Enemy” as Vicente Corliss. He took the time to talk to the fans about TOUCH on Fox and other exciting events occurring in his life.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

Your resume mentioned that you started acting at a very young age. Do you remember your first role?

Yes. Well, professionally, it was a Best Buy commercial. I remember I had to read for the employee part but I had grown a thick mustache for a play I was in called The Bald Soprano so they asked me to read for the father instead. It was until afterwards, shooting the commercial, where I found out that one of the main reasons I got the part was because they found my look hilarious with my mustache.

You have been in commercials, on stage and on television shows. Do you have a preference? And if so, why?

Well, it’s a tricky question for me because they’re all different. It’s a whole different atmosphere and work ethic for each one. I love being on camera, that’s what I really really enjoy and I know how difficult and fun and exciting and thrilling and rewarding being on stage can be but when it comes down to it, being on camera in a show or movie is what I really love and embrace.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

Within the world of acting, do you have a preference as to drama or comedy that you think enhances your talents best?

Another tricky one. Well, I love comedy and I thought that comedy was what I would excel at. And it has, in a way; certainly in the commercial world. But, throughout the years, I learned how acting, in truth, is really feeling and living and I very much enjoy that. I’m a very private person and it seems that I open up completely when I’m acting, and I do that more often with dramatic parts. I’m not scared of comedy at all and I’m not scared to jump around and go toe-to-toe with comedy because that’s what I do most anyway. It’s like a defense mechanism for me and I use it instinctively in a lot of situations so I’m kinda used to it. But drama is something that really pushes me and makes me discover a lot of things in myself that I wouldn’t’ve noticed before. It’s weird, I know, but I guess other actors might know what I’m talking about.

The role of Vicente Corliss on Touch. Was this an open audition or a part for which you were recommended?

Both, kinda. I was called in after being submitted by my agent and fit the description. I came in, read, and immediately was asked to come in later that day to read for the director. I went to Fox Studios a few hours later and read for the main guys. Apparently, they loved it and offered me the part immediately.

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Alex Ruiz as Vicente Corliss on TOUCH

Had you watched the show before you got the part? If not, did you go back and watch season 1, or did you want to approach the role without that knowledge?

Yeah, I was told to watch the show before I came to read for the part to have knowledge of the premise. I don’t ever watch shows or movies or plays before or afterwards because I want to give my own interpretation, unless, of course, I’m asked to. I feel it’s best if you come with your own idea and choice for the part without any prior knowledge. Only if you have pure understanding of what’s being asked of you. But yeah, I watched two episodes and once I got the idea I stopped. I liked it though. But then again, I pretty much like anything Kiefer Sutherland’s in.  [Editor’s note:  ME TOO!]

What were some unique things that happened on this set that you have not encountered on other sets before?

Professionalism. In every way. I’ve been in a lot of sets and worked with a lot of people and the way everything was handled was so professional. From the way they treated David [Mazouz] to how Maria [Bello] came in and rocked her scene to how I was directed. It was a very boom-boom-boom-check the gate process and before I knew it the scenes were done and ready to go. We rehearsed once on a closed set and once we nailed it everyone was brought in to shoot it and bam, the scene was done. They expect you to come prepared and you appreciate that level of professionalism because everyone respects everyone else’s work and time.

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Maria Bello, David Mazouz, and Alex Ruiz’s scene in TOUCH

I like to think of every experience as a learning moment. Did you learn anything on the set (as an actor or on a more personal level) that you can share with us?

I feel like I learn something on every set that I’m a part of. I’m not sure if I can pinpoint exactly what that is but I know it and utilize it the moment I’m there. I think it’s really just listening. Not only to the director but to everyone around you. Literally everyone. The sound guy putting the mic on you has heard a billion things about everything that’s happened on every set he’s worked with so I listen to what (s)he says. On break I’m drinking coffee and the lighting guys talk about work and I infiltrate their conversation and just listen. I try to learn every facet of my job as possible by listening and being aware of how everything works. From the director, they’re all astronomically different and if you listen carefully and adapt to his world then you’ve got another little safe of knowledge stored in your brain that you can open up and use in another situation. The entire process is learning so I can’t really give something specific when it’s there from beginning to end.

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Maria Bello and Alex Ruiz in TOUCH

You know I have to ask…have you had a Touch-like moment in your life, something you felt was more than coincidence?

Of course! My family and I have an apartment that we stay at in Mexico that used to belong to my grandma who’s been deceased for about 15 years. I slept in her bed one night, which we do every time we’re there anyway, and I had a very strong dream about her. My brother was going through some tough times and I vividly saw her in my dream. I won’t go into specifics but it ended with her saying “he’ll be okay, he’ll be okay,” and I woke up screaming and crying. I’ve never had a dream like that before nor since and I’m totally convinced that it was my grandma talking to me directly. It was definitely Touch-like in the sense that my brother is completely happy and somehow my grandma calmed me by knowing it would be so.

Do you have any current projects on the horizon?

I do. I’m doing a Mexican novela called Dama Y Obrero in Miami right now. It’s a remake from a Chilean novela of the same name which had enormous success in Chile. The anticipation for it is quite big and I have one of the starring roles so I’m very excited for that. It’ll air on Telemundo later this year. I’m also in negotiations to star in a film which might have some big distribution but hopefully I’ll be able to film it after the novela. I also did a short called Best of Both Worlds directed by amazing director Michael Dunker a little less than a year ago which has made a big splash in the festival circuit and it’s getting financed to be made as a feature where I’ll be playing the same character. So yeah, lots of stuff this year, thankfully.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

RAPID-FIRE QUESTIONS

What is the most played song on your IPod or MP3 player?

I just looked it up and it’s Cruel Summer by Bananarama. Imagine that. I’m a huge 80’s guy so I guess it doesn’t surprise me.

What is the last book you have read?

I read “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs. It’s creepy as all hell because photographs visualize the narrative. Not a bad book. Right now I’m trying to finish “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. A friend of mine recommended it and it’s pretty damn good so far.

Best advice that was ever given to you?

Lots of good advice throughout the years. But the most basic and impactful was my mom saying “oye, ve, y calla,” which means “listen, watch, and don’t say a word.” Works in every situation you’re in if you really think about it.

Sunrises or sunsets?

Definitely sunsets.

Favorite sport to watch?

Basketball. Been a Pistons fan all of my life.

Singing or dancing?

I do a lot of karaoke but my voice is terrible (to me, at least). Dancing I like. I’m talking salsa or mambo or anything that moves your hips without you knowing they’re moving.

Favorite TV show (besides Touch, of course 🙂

The British Office is absolute genius. Anything Gervais, really. I’m also a big fan of Forensic Files and crime shows of that sort.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

Thank you so much, Alex, for the generosity of your time and your thoughtful answers. TOUCH fans: Help support Alex by liking his Facebook page and following him on Twitter.

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1991503/?ref_=fn_al_nm_2

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alex-Ruiz/159956814141798?ref=hl

Twitter: @alex54ruiz





Touch (S2E9) Clockwork

5 04 2013

Kiefer Sutherland is reunited with his old “24” co-star, Annie Wersching (Renee Walker). This episode marks return of one of my favorite characters on the show, Avram (Bodhi Elfman). BreakWire is about to go under after Guillermo (Saïd Taghmaoui) murdered many of its employees and by the end of the episode, Martin learns the news that Lucy (Mario Bello) was found dead. It also seems to take another pivot in its plot devices by adding ancient hieroglyphics that will need to be deciphered. By the end of the episode, 318 becomes the numbers again, which brings us to the original numbers of season 1, episode 1, and where Calvin (Lukas Haas) thought the sequence would go–back to the beginning and it includes patient number one of Professor Arthur Teller (Danny Glover).

More Detailed Recap:

Jake (David Mazouz) narrates: “Physicists will tell you that time does not exist, that it is a human construct used to organize experience and catalog existence, so we can quantify it, confirm it, remember it. Einstein did not believe in time. He believed in timelessness, that all time existed at once–past, present, future. He did not acknowledge the concept of now. All moments are equally real, equally accessible if we know how.”

 

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Love the attention to detail to show us red, blue, stars, clocks, butterflies

Amelia (Saxon Sharbino) is running. Martin looks at patient 0001 of The Teller Institute.

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Jake’s red-striped shirt, red letters on milk, red cereal box

There is a knock at the door. It’s Avram!!!!! He is here to help keep Jake safe.

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So nice to see Avram back! Soldier of light!

The number tonight is 948.

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Tonight’s number: 948

BreakWire is going under after the deaths of the employees. Martin wants to help Trevor (Greg Ellis) keep it afloat. Trevor has a story on Phillip Green (Paul Vincent O’Connor), a prisoner about to be put to death. It’s patient 0001 [of course!]. [Note where his current address is: Block 9, Cell 48. Also, within the body of the article it talks about him being secretly kept at Teller Institute and Anthony Brown, his landlord, said he would scream numbers at him, and mentions the number 85647. The paragraph on the left is the same as the second paragraph on the right. I’m being too obsessed over this show, aren’t I? LOL]

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Patient 0001 of The Teller Institute

The back-story on this man is that there were three murders that occurred in a robbery. Phillip worked at an antique shop. He went back after hours to clean the place out, saw a passerby and gunned him down in cold blood. Supposedly there were no witnesses to the murder. If Martin would do the story for BreakWire, Trevor could get him in to see his attorney.

Mike (Jamie McShane) is making a rock-climbing fortress for his son Max (Blake Bertrand) [who is sporting a red cape and red sneakers, and has a blue swing].

Mike gets a call. There is something he needs to do, but his wife, Jenny (Karis Campbell), thinks not. The argument is interrupted by a splinter. [Not only does Max have red sneakers, they have a star cut into them!].

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Check out the red star cut into his sneakers! Wow, the details.

Martin meets with the lawyer, Mr. Miller (Scott Klace) who thinks Martin might be a crazy man. When Martin shares information that was never submitted into evidence, he hears Martin out.

Avram and Jake play chess and uses the French Defense against Jake’s move of king pawn to E4. Jake becomes agitated. He looks at the clock on the wall, takes it down, and starts unscrewing things.

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Playing chess (remember Amelia used a chess piece buried in the sand for Jake.

Martin meets Phillip but the man will not speak. He confirms for Martin he is one of the 36. Martin will do anything he needs. Phillip gives him a picture of his daughter. Martin is so used to Jake being nonverbal that he can read Phillip’s intentions quite easily through his facial expressions.

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A man in great emotional pain.

His daughter is Dr. Kate Gordon (Annie Wersching). She is a family therapist who specializes in early childhood trauma, behavioral issues, children who are nonverbal, or disturbed.” Martin shares that Jake is nonverbal. Martin tells her about his visit with her father. The story was this: Her father had a gift with numbers and symbols and ancient languages. He was taken to The Teller Institute. When he came back, he shot three people. When she asked him if he did it, he said yes. When she asked why, he went silent. She tried to visit him but every time would be turned away [red thing on the coffee table].

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Ahhh… Kiefer and Annie together again.

Avram tells Jake about the history on clock-making. Six gears in six piles [equals 36]. When Martin calls and when he tells Avram that Phillip is one of the 36, Jake stops his work for a moment and looks up.

Jenny tells Mike that making this decision won’t bring his father back [I wonder if his father was one of the ones killed]. Max was in the car when his grandfather was shot. The guy who did this to his father is living his life [so I guess it is not Phillip].

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Another man in great emotional pain and a child with a lot of red toys.

[Wow. This gets into a great argument about capital punishment. Are the people who are part of the execution murderers? If you don’t think so, then what happens if you are a part of it, and later find out the person was innocent? Or maybe you don’t know, and you only find out once you have to atone to God before being welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven? ]

In investigating the case, Martin discovers that nothing was actually stolen at the shop where Phillip worked. The three victims were Richard Davis, Frankin  [a typo by Trevor or Greg Ellis?] Price, Derek Reynolds. Their link? Da, da, da, dum–Möbius, a subsidiary of Aster Corps.

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“Blue” Orb, Mobius, a link between 3, and a typoed name– Frankin in the parameters, but Franklin in the results. Someone may need to reserve a room for me. This is what I get for having a child with high OCD/low-functioning autism.

The antique store is at 948. There is a red awning and a star shape in the window.

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Arrows point to the spots.

Martin talks to Mr. Zedner (George Wyner). Phillip wanted to store a box of his in the store’s safe. It belonged to him and that is what the police found at the house. Phillip’s machine looks like clock gears.

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Phillip’s secrets

Martin brings the box home and Jake starts rearranging gears. Avram thinks it is a cipher. They are used for sending and interpreting messages. What kind of message is something to kill for?

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A cipher!!!!

Martin meets up with Kate again. She tells him their code for “I Love You” was holding up the middle three fingers one at a time in rhythm. Martin tells her about Aster Corps and thinks that by shutting down and pushing her out he was trying to protect her. He shows her the box. Kate says her dad said it was the road map to finding 36 magical people who could save the world. One key gear is missing.

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I….Love….You

The guards start taking Phillip to the execution chamber. His lawyer gets a call from Martin that he and Kate are on their way.

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Guard is actor Patrick Brown (my son is Patrick Bowen)–Social Security had first sent me a card with “Brown” as my married name. His Twitter handle is @PBitters mine is @PBMom (just thought that was funny)

Avram makes tea in the red kettle. Jake keeps writing 948 in his book.

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It’s always a good time for tea!

In the locker room Mike’s friend is gloating about how they were lucky enough to get picked for “this” [the execution]. They both press their buttons at the same time so that neither knows who gave Phillip the dose that kills him. Mike needs to get some air. Mike recognizes Dr. Gordon. [Would that not at least postpone the execution since Kate is his son’s therapist? They would have to find someone else to push the button.]

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Kate wants to see her dad before he is executed.

Mike wants to talk to the warden. [Ah ha! I knew it.] Mike dropped out of the execution team duty and that has delayed things. Kate will get some time with Phillip. [Good grief, I’m crying again]. She tells him Martin’s theory that Phillip was trying to protect her is the only thing that makes sense, Phillip holds up his three fingers–I love you. Kate does the same.

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Knowing his fate, the father says I…Love…You for the very last time to his daughter.

Martin feels like he failed that he could not stop it. Kate said that was not it. Kate and the lawyer head to the gallery. Martin feels defeated. However Phillip left a box for him. Inside is a note–“your son knows.”

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The weight of the world on poor Jake’s shoulders.

Martin calls Avram. Jake wants Martin to go to antique shop. Jake, Avram and Martin go together. Jake focuses in on a specific clock. Phillip fixed it the night he was arrested. Jake opens it and finds the gear–the key.

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The key to the cipher.

Back at the house, Jake puts the cipher in and manipulates the dials. Then gears then start working automatically.

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Obviously the still picture cannot show the movement of all the gears. Trust me, it was working.

Trevor comes to the house and tells Martin the shocking news about Lucy [but he does not ask about Amelia which is weird].

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The men who cared about Lucy sit in silence together.

When the cipher stops at 318, we are back to the beginning, where episode 1 of season 1 began, the beginning of The Amelia Sequence, also known as The God Sequence, the point Calvin said where the equation would eventually loop around on itself.

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The sequence starts again.

Jake looks out the window and sees Amelia.

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Jake sees Amelia. Is it real or a dream?

Next week: Jake talks to Martin (his first REAL words because the prior words spoken where inside Amelia’s brain so that was actually telepathic, not verbal)!!!!! And Guillermo is back.

And here’s something very funny. I was looking at this pamphlet in my mail pile and I did not see the word EASTER but the word ASTER and laughed. You know you are a Touch fanatic when this occurs.

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