It can be argued that Touch hit a bit of a sticky patch midway through its first season. We entered a sort of routine in each episode. We knew that a bunch of seemingly random storylines would be seamlessly connected by the end of the hour. We knew that Sinister Sheri would do something sneaky. We knew that Martin would follow Jake’s numbers every single time and always find a happy ending at the end of the equation.
I was never bored, per se, but I can sympathize with those who claimed that they were and when Touch lingered in will-they-or-won’t-they purgatory when renewal time came, well, I understood that too.
But for those of us who kept the faith, who kept tuning in, or at the very least poked our heads in on Jake, Martin, and the world every once in a while, I think we should pour some drinks, crank up some tunes, and party like it’s...well...not 1999. I was in middle school in 1999, so ’99 kind of sucked. Pick another year. Your call. But you get the idea.
Was that finale not two hours of (belated) badassery?
While Martin fretted over the upcoming custody hearing with Auntie Abigail, Jake dropped a glass dodecahedron through the windshield of a cop car. That went about as well as you’d expect. Sinister Sheri jumped on the opportunity to claim custody of Jake without going through all the formalities of a hearing. While hanging around the police station, Jake led Martin to a file about Amelia’s death three years earlier, a file that had no business existing what with Amelia popping up alive and not-so-well on that security camera a few weeks back.
On a beach in California, debris from the Japanese tsunami started to wash up on shore. A man named Wade tirelessly trekked into the water to retrieve items and didn’t take too kindly to being interrupted by Lucy—Amelia’s mom. Lucy assumed that he was salvaging items to sell on eBay, but eventually learned that Wade had been in Japan during the tsunami, trapped in a mall with a woman whom he assumed died when she was swept into the current after losing her grip on the railing that they shared. He felt guilty about being unable to help her, guilty about being evacuated a week later and watching the horrific aftermath of the disaster on his TV in a nice, cozy Seattle apartment—“like it never happened.” Wade wasn’t posting the items online to make a profit. He was hoping that a survivor would see one of the lost possessions online and contact him, but so far, no one had.
And finally, in Japan, a boy named Seiji had attracted media attention for his efforts to beat the world record for dribbling a soccer ball. The record was for 24 hours and he was several hours in. A news crew camped out in the tiny living room of his family’s government home. They had lost everything in the tsunami, including his father’s job, and the samurai sword that had been passed through the family for generations.
It just so happened that while snooping around Wade’s salvage tent, Lucy examined such a sword. I totally called it, but seeing it coming didn’t make the scene between Wade and the Osugi family any less sniffle-inducing. After being told once and for all that his position at his company was no longer available, Mr. Osugi retreated to a home that he disparagingly commented wasn’t even his. He further disrespected the home that he felt no real ties to by keeping his shoes on when he walked through the living room, startling Seiji, who dropped the soccer ball in his shock. The news crew retreated outside where Mrs. Osugi tried to run damage control and wound up giving an interview that Lucy saw on Wade’s laptop. She talked about her husband’s samurai family and held up the broken rack that once held the missing sword. Lucy matched the brand on the rack to the brand on the sword and excitedly dragged Wade over to the laptop. He was overjoyed to recognize Mrs. Osugi as the woman from the mall. Aww.
Back in New York, Martin dug through Amelia’s file for any sort of clue to prove that she was still alive. In the background, a video of one of Amelia’s sessions with Teller played and the clue quite literally came from her own mouth. Yup. Amelia spoke. She said that she could always speak, but previously, it was unnecessary, which has been my own theory about Jake for awhile now. Awesome.
Anyway, when she was six years old, Amelia had her appendix removed, yet in the autopsy report, the papers clearly stated that the body pulled from the river where she supposedly died very much had an appendix. So now all Martin had to do was get his findings to the right authorities and AsterCorp was going down, right?
Not so much. AsterCorp was like Big Brother with its omnipresence. Knocked out on his way to Jake, Martin woke up in the middle of the subway tracks and barely escaped from the light at the end of the tunnel. Oh, and all of the information about Amelia was gone. And it looked like Clea had switched allegiances when she didn’t speak up for him during the super secret custody hearing that Sinister Sheri called, effectively stripping him of custody.
“Gyre, Part 2” brought us back to Russell, the former firefighter who tried to rescue Jake’s mom on 9/11, won the lottery, and moved to Virginia to renovate an aging church. In Jake’s opening voiceover, he explained that “time forces us to adapt” and it looked like Russell was pretty content at the church, having taken an inquisitive kid named Collin under his wing. Still, something was missing. Russell didn’t feel like he had accomplished everything he needed to accomplish. With the aid of a fabulously geeky Collin, Russell tracked the numbers on the church’s blueprints, numbers that he recognized as those he played year after year before he finally won the lottery. “His” numbers. They led him to a bus station outside of New York City where Jake and Martin were engaged in a tense round of hide-and-seek with the suits from AsterCorp.
On the West Coast, Amelia’s mom plotted a new course in the search for her daughter. Apparently, Amelia communicated through weather maps the way Jake communicates through numbers. In "Gyre, Part 1," Wade helped Lucy plot a new course with the altered currents from the tsunami after he realized that the currents Lucy was working off of were outdated. Along the way, she picked up Zack, the son of a wealthy, but crooked, record executive. He was out to right the wrongs of his father’s business practices, and having tracked down one half of a brother act, Jamar, in Jamaica, he was combing the coast for the other half, Thomas. Thomas had left his brother to live as a woman years earlier, fearing that Jamar would reject him for his decision. Jamar, however, was thrilled to be reunited with his sibling thanks to Zack (and Lucy), and the first of the finale’s big warm and fuzzy moments came with the “Three Little Birds” collaboration. GROUP HUG TIME, YOU GUYS.
Okay. Enough group hugs. Get off of me.
Despite her apparent betrayal, Clea was very much still BFFs with the Bohms, and helped Jake escape AsterCorp custody before they could transfer him to a facility upstate and, it was implied, fake his death like they did with Amelia. Those bastards. Rob Benedict popped in with an Invisible Prince cameo (Remember him? I loved him.) and further guided Jake along, slipping him a Metrocard and distracting the police so he could slip past. It took half of the population of Manhattan to get Martin and Jake out of (immediate) harm’s way, I swear.
Martin followed the clues left behind by some obnoxious AT&T; product placement to reunite with Jake at Sarah’s grave. Avram the Awesome arranged for the duo to board a bus for Minneapolis—but at the bus station, Jake convinced Martin to change routes and go to Los Angeles instead. While running away from the AsterCorp drones, they quite literally ran into Randall’s new car, which he very enthusiastically bequeathed to them out of gratitude to Sarah. He claimed that it wasn’t registered, didn’t have plates, made for a perfect getaway vehicle and sure, that all made sense, except I’m not sure how he managed to drive it off the lot if it wasn’t registered. I mean, I’ve bought a few cars in my life and they all needed to be registered and insured before I took them ANYWHERE.
Whatever. Minor detail. The Bohms took the car, told Clea and Auntie Abigail they’d be in touch when it was safe(ish) and headed to L.A. where, on a sunny pier on a Pacific, they finally met Amelia’s mom...and Jake reached out to take Martin’s hand.
So where was all of this excitement three episodes ago, Touch? Maybe we could have avoided the Friday Night Slot o’ Death next season if you had pulled out the awesomeness a little earlier?
Then again, sometimes a series rises above the Friday firing squad and survives, even thrives. Fringe’s dedicated fanbase has kept it going longer than anyone thought it would. Supernatural managed to weather two seasons in TV purgatory before being restored to mid-week status. Grimm has held its own.
And Touch has put itself in a thrilling place for Season 2. Gone is the tedious custody-battle stuff—Jake and Martin are now fugitives from a mysterious, despicable organization with operatives lurking in every shadow. No one has to try to play nice anymore, all gloves are off. And finally, the finale has proven that Touch can maintain a tense Martin/Jake-centric storyline without sacrificing the integrity of the B-stories, the ones that we just know are immeasurably important even if we don't immediately understand how.
In short, I’m totally pumped for season 2. How about you? What do you hope to see more (or less) of when Touch returns?