Touch's "Bonus" Episode: Where Did the Magic Go?

Touch S01E13: “The Road Not Taken”

I wanted to like this episode. Touch was one of my favorite new shows from last season and the Friday timeslot for Season 2 makes me nervous about what the future holds for this little feel-good drama—not to mention how long that future may be—but if Season 2 turns out anything like this random addendum to Season 1, I don’t think it will be bright.

Sometime before Jake and Martin met up with Amelia’s mother (at least, I’m placing the timeframe before their meet-up for the sake of not obsessing too hard about where she is otherwise) they made an accidental pit-stop in Martin’s hometown. The number of the week was “67” and Jake tossed the keys to their car into a passing garbage truck. Despite his previous epiphany about Jake and why he does the seemingly random things that he does, Martin freaked out. With the locksmith MIA, Martin and Jake were forced to hang around town and introduce us to a parade of faces from Martin’s past. There was the TV-typical townie resentment toward Martin for being a sort of prodigal son, running off to New York to make a name for himself and forgetting all about the poor little Willamette Valley where he grew up. There was an old flame and all of the wistful longing for the simple past baggage that comes with an old flame.

Honestly, it didn’t feel like an episode of Touch.

Jake himself seemed relegated to the background after taking the initiative to strand Martin in his old stomping grounds. From that point, it was some good ol' journalistic detective work on Martin’s part to reveal that his old mentor Henry’s big story about a chemical spill poisoning the town’s water supply was one orchestrated by Henry himself in an attempt to grab the same sort of prestigious career that Martin found when they collaborated on a similar story years earlier.

Meanwhile, a hapless LARPer who went into the woods to prove himself to his family stumbled upon the missing town locksmith, who'd been injured while searching for a deer his truck clipped. The kid attained the respect he wanted from his family after heroically saving the elderly locksmith’s life and, after crashing the truck into Henry’s Mustang on the way to the hospital, gave Martin the chance to stop his former partner from publishing a damning story about the glass company that essentially saved the town from ruin after the steel mill went out of business following Martin’s award-winning story from the past and, theoretically, plunging the town into yet another economic meltdown.

Martin briefly felt guilty about the fact that rather than create a safer workplace, as he had intended his expose on the steel mill to do, the mill instead closed and condemned a sizeable portion of the town’s population to unemployment. It was all made better when Travis, the current husband of Martin's former love interest, Beth, revealed that he wouldn’t have met Beth had it not been for the article that closed his old workplace and forced him to find a different job.

Meanwhile, in England, the couple who mourned the loss of their daughter in Touch’s pilot discovered they were once again pregnant when the missus fainted and those Japanese girls with the internet following were there to save the day while in the middle of answering a Willamette Valley native’s “Community Service Day” outreach, courtesy of 670AM radio.

While Jake’s prophetic introductory voice over managed to ultimately tie the storylines in “The Road Not Taken” together with the theme “every time we take an action, we make an impact,” the magic just wasn’t there. I felt like I was watching a procedural cop show without the cops. Maybe I’m just accustomed to travelling the world each week, and I know that Touch can manage more than a brief layover in London, but everything in this bonus episode felt very small and constrained. From the under-use of Jake himself to the lack of the usual global reach of the story to the downer vibe of the story—it didn't feel like the Touch I know. Where are the group hugs, man?

Touch returns with its Season 2 premiere on October 26. Hopefully it will return in full and not with another cardboard episode that merely pretends to be show I fell in love with least season.


QUESTIONS:

– What do you think was the point of this "bonus" episode? Did Fox air it simply to try and snag some new viewers? Do you think anything that happened in it will actually tie in with the new season?

– Will you be tuning in for Season 2 when it premieres on October 26?

– If you're planning to stick with the show, what are hoping to see this season? What are your biggest questions? How do you think things will change now that Martin and Jake are on the West Coast?

Comments (17)
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Does anyone know if this bonus episode will be added as an extra to season 2? Because it's missing in my season 1 dvd-box.
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This episode fleshed out Martin's background as a reporter. Apparently he's going back to that in season 2. Season 2 is going to be really different. Martin and Jake are on the run and they will work with Lucy to find Amelia. There're should be tons of suspense involving Aster Corp., all the while pulling together the outside stories. (Fewer this year)I think you'll be missing something special if you don't watch.!
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I totally agree. This episode seemed more like any other show rather than like the previous episodes I enjoyed. Hopefully Season 2 will get it back on track, otherwise, not sure how long I'll last. My time is limited and I seem to spend way too much time watching TV, but it can be so enjoyable.
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Im expecting 2nd season will be a lot better than that bonus episode.
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A disappointing episode, it had the feel of a Lifetime movie. Like someone else here mentioned, probably an installment that was dropped in the first season.

It's one of my favorite shows and I'm sure season two will be a lot better than this.

Touch has a great and uplifting message - I really want it to succeed. It would be sad if the series lost it like Heroes did.
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Yeah, this episode was a dull affair. Fingers crossed that Season 2 won't be like this. Maria Bello should help cos she's awesome.
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I liked it. All the things you discribed you didn't like about this episode i did. I liked that it was not all globe spanning and homey and bright. touch tends to be on the darker side, i don't mean that in a tone kind of way, i mean that literally. Touch usually don't use a lot of sunshine and bright colours. Additionally i guess if this would have aired as the second to last episode it would have been received very differently. After all the drama and tragic and excitement in New York, i for one would have longed for a nice simple episode like this one. Now of course, time has passed, everybody can't wait to get back and wants action again. Along comes this cuchy story and of course you'll be disappointed.
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-The point was they'd filmed these scenes, reworked the ending of season 1, had them kicking around and decided they might as well use them. No way could they just shove this into season 2. It wouldn't flow with what's coming or how last season ended but it was good enough to keep me going til we get some actual new episodes next month.

-As far as hopes for this coming season go i just hope they keep on doing what they've been doing since they started earlier this year. This thrown together episode hasn't shaken my faith in the writers or the series as a whole. As for how things'll change on the west coast i think we'll see some girls in bikinis rollerblading and Martin might start wearing Jack Bauer shades. Maybe not though...
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Pointless episode and an insult to fans of the show.
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The episode was obviously filmed, not knowing if there would be a season 2. Also being a 'bonus' episode this means one's not required to watch it and not feel like they've missed anything. This episode accomplished that. Was it great? No, but enjoyable. The number being the same was a little frustrating. The only thing that may come out of this episode is Martin getting back into journalism in season two.

But clearly just an episode that they had filmed and wouldn't fit anywhere else.
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It's likely that it's an episode from last season that just wasn't that good so they held off showing it because they knew it would hurt ratings.



I lost interest in the show a couple episodes in when I realized how formulaic the writing was. It seems clever at first but when you realize that all the events are forced into working a specific way.
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I was apprehensive to watch the bonus episode and as it turns out i must have not wanted to more than I thought, cuz i got 30 sec in and deleted it off my pvr. Touch has always been hit or miss 4 me, so to sit through a season 1 episode that even the network didn't think was worth airing last season and has no implications on the story moving forward, made no sense to me.



I am still optimistic about season 2 as I believe the story has a lot of potential.
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I was disappointed and not sure why they were showing this episode as a "bonus." It seemed more of a bonus of disappointment. I will watch the upcoming premiere because I want to believe they will take this show in another direction this season and surprise the viewers....
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it was nice to watch but it did take my anticipation for the second season to a low point. i really do love the serie. i personally hope they go much deeper into the conspiracy-theory but i can understand if they choose to, they would alienate a lot of people. i'm watching either way. love the whole 'global' aproach. first episode just aired here in belgium on tv and a lot of people are talking about it. which is really not a good sign, since the last one they buzzed about was terra nova. but hey, u never know...

i was going to type: this episode would have made sense in the beginning... but even then it would be a lame storyline. plus all the sidestory's wouldn't match. and what was up with the dog? but to end on a high note: still excited about the second season.
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FOX is becoming notorious for airing shows out of PRODUCTION order. The Finder was all over the place. Networks wonder why they lose viewers. Anyway, this is noted as the 13th and final episode, but I can't help wonder that it was shot before the series finale we saw, which should technically be episode 10. Maybe if a DVD is released they'll correct the timeline.



What was the town they were in? I never caught that. Was it east coast, west, or somewhere in between.



I may not have been paying close attention, but I thought William Ragsdale (always Herman's Head to me) was the owner of the business the veteran reporter was trying to swindle, but he was just a contractor for the company, I guess?



The ending bothered me, as Sutherland returns back to Masterson's house with her husband and then he just leaves without any explanation to her as to what happened after they spent most of the show investigating together?



This show has always been flawed for me with stuff like this. I think they try too much with too limited a budget and cracks in the storytelling appear.
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It was set in McMinnville, Oregon, which is a real town, and there were some details (like mention of Linfield College) connected to the real McMinnville. But I don't know if they did any location shooting there.



The setting (not too far from me) and the DJ who was so exaggeratedly Oregonian in his style were what made the episode interesting for me. Otherwise, agree with the article. This ep also doesn't have any place in the story arc, as they were traveling, but did not appear to be on the run.



Really looking forward to next season, as turning the show into an endless-chase show a la FUGITIVE (and STARMAN, short-lived 1986-7 series that I believe would greatly appeal to TOUCH fans) opens up such vast possibilities.
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They were somewhere in the Willamette Valley, which is in Oregon. Given that they have never traveled so far from NY in previous episodes, I don't think this was lefttover footage or a dropped or misplaced episode. I think it's just a way to tie the two seasons together without actually covering the road trip. I do wonder why, if this is the case, Martin isn't worried about the cops :/
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