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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Out of Touch

Article first published as Out of Touch on TheTVKing.

FOX's Touch completed its two-season run with the series finale "Leviathan" last week. Aster Corps kidnaps Jake (David Mazouz) and Amelia (Saxon Sharbino), hoping to use them to finish the sequence before a financial report ruins the company. Unfortunately, with time being limited, Farington (Frances Fisher) orders a dangerous method to extract those digits from their brains that could kill them.

Jack Bauer Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) goes a bit crazy in trying to track down the children, torturing Tanner (D.B. Sweeney) for a lead. We know Martin's overriding motivation has always been protecting Jake, but we've never seen him like this before. He's violent and irrational, getting the job done, but at cost to both his soul and his ability to stay within the limits of the law.

Thankfully, not only do Martin's efforts pay off, but he's made a friend in the police force, Detective Lang (Mykelti Williamson), who is able to protect Martin from the ramifications. It's not exactly realistic, but it is satisfying that Martin gets off without trouble, while making the villains pay. This is the episode where Touch ventures into 24 territory.

Which seems to be exactly what FOX wants. Shortly after cancelling Touch, it was announced that 24 will be returning next spring for a twelve-hour season, solving the difficulty of making a feature film. Kiefer fills the role of Jack very well, and it's funny that Touch works best when he is allowed to revert to that part. I look forward to Jack Bauer's return, even if that means the end of Touch, which was a decently enjoyable series.

Touch season two is quite a bit different from the first year, containing a large, compelling arc in the battle between our heroes and the evil corporation, which fits more into the action genre, something Touch did not start out in. Over the course of thirteen episodes, the back and forth between the two sides keeps escalating, until is ends in a climatic showdown. As that run-in concludes this week, "Leviathan" serves as a pretty neat series-ender.

That's not to say that there aren't more stories that could be told, of course. While season one shows us the numeric patterns in the world, and season two seeks to protect abuse of those patterns, there are still a number of directions this story could go in. Sadly, it will not get the chance.

We also get the conclusion of a couple of other hanging tales in "Leviathan." First, Calvin (Lukas Haas) has to pick a side, staying loyal to Aster Corps or saving the kids' lives. He chooses correctly, but only after influence by others. It makes him a weak character who hasn't earned a reprieve from his wrong-doings, and thus does not get one. I like that his decision is not simple, and that his earlier actions have consequences, even if that makes his redemption incomplete.

We also find out what has happened to Avram (Bodhi Elfman). His story isn't nearly so exciting, having been abducted by his own people, who hope to set him back on the right path. But because Avram's boss is Ron Rifkin from Alias, it not only makes a cool couple of scenes, but there's also a level of possible evilness lurking just below the surface of the organization. This could have made a wonderful season three plot.

In the end, I'm glad Touch was able to bring their story to a close, with no huge, hanging threads, even if it didn't feel like it got enough time to explore the possibilities. It's a series I probably won't think about enough to really miss, but enjoyed it while it was around.

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