Monday, June 4, 2012

Touching on the Touch season finale

FOX's Touch ended its freshman run this week with the two part episode, "Gyre." Things come to a head as Sheri (Roxana Brusso, Southland) and the company make a play to take over full custody of Jake (David Mazouz). Knowing that the shady organization killed Arthur (Danny Glover) and made a little girl named Amelia disappear, Clea (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) helps Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) sneak Jake away. With pursuers hot on their heels, Martin and Jake flee New York.

Touch is all about patterns in the world, and how things are fated to come together. For many weeks, this is simply something hinted at, seen in brief glimpses, or at the ends of episodes. But "Gyre" really pulls things together. A number of guest stars, such as Arnie (Jude Ciccolella, 24), return, making the world appear a little smaller. As first Abraham (Bodhi Elfman), and then Randall (Titus Welliver, Lost, The Good Wife), help Jake and Martin escape, it seems like their team, which includes Clea and Abigail (Catherine Dent, The Shield), has gotten a little bigger.

This is great! Martin and Jake need a team behind them!  They are facing one of the unseen, shadowy corporations with unlimited power and staff that makes for many an exciting story. Everyone wants to root for the little guy when he is threatened by the big guy, and Touch taps into the classic storytelling technique. Plus, how doesn't love a secretive group of traditional Jews, and prophecies of thirty-six people saving the planet?

Similarly, Touch has lots going on behind the scenes, too. Masquerading as a procedural, with Martin helping a different person each week, "Gyre" exposes the true serial story. Touch is something that will play out over years, and connections come together constantly, in the most unexpected ways. Those watching most of the first season may be forgiven for being disappointed in the lack of movement of the major arcs. "Gyre" makes up for this, and points to a less fomulaic approach moving forward. In fact, the title of the episode plays into unexpected change, and hints at things moving in different directions.

Not that the cases of the week are bad. Seeing a son and father finding understanding in Japan, or a man making up for a mistake that he thinks he made, or another guy, who is lost, but finds himself while building a church and a life in a community, is heartwarming. Unlike the slew of medical and crime dramas flooding the airwaves, Touch is more of an anthology series, with common threads typing things together. It's also inspiring and uplifting, making it unique and deserving of airtime.

Besides Martin and Jake's plot, which is the central thread of Touch, "Gyre" opens up a whole new bag of worms by introducing Lucy (Maria Bello, Prime Suspect). At first, she seems to be a crazy woman destined for a single hour, interacting with a traumatized man on the beach (Cougar Town's Ian Gomez). But then viewers learn that she is the mother of Amelia, and she is looking for her daughter, whom she does not believe is dead. With the ending of "Gyre" bringing together Martin and Lucy in California, she appears to figure more prominently into season two of Touch. As a fellow servant to the numbers? As a love interest for Martin? Who knows, but it would be nice if she is signed full-time.

Season one of Touch has been a mixed bag experiment, sometimes growing boring and confusing. But both parts of "Gyre" are shining examples of what the series could, and should be. With a finale like this, I am very much looking forward to season two! Touch will return to FOX next fall.

If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter! Catch up with streaming episodes of Touch. Article first published as Touching on the Touch season finale

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