Touch Review: "Entanglement" (Episode 1.5)
Touch is a series that week to week treads a very fine line. In an hour every week, the show tries to connect people from all over the world and make their connections engaging, touching and exciting, while also trying its best not to seem cheesy or far-fetched. Most of the time the show throws everything it can at you. Just this week, we get stories from three different countries, involving birth, murder, gender roles, unrequited love, divorce and 9/11. Sometimes these ideas and links get muddled, but “Entanglement” gets most of what does make Touch work right.
Since the beginning of the series, Jake has been talking to his father Martin through numbers, so when Martin receives a symbol from Jake this time, he doesn’t understand why the language has changed. Martin goes to discuss this with Professor Teller, who tells him the symbol stands for the number 22. It’s never really made that clear why Jake would use a symbol instead of just the number, except to have the symbol show up more throughout Martin’s search and link these characters.
Martin has his laptop stolen on his way to an evaluation of Jake that could determine Jake’s custody. He chases after the man and gets on a bus. The woman he sits next to has a gun and tells him not to move. The woman is going to kill a man who got on the bus because she believes he killed her father and brother. Besides all of this, we have two girls in the Middle East breaking the law by taking one of their father’s cars out for a drive, which is illegal, and end up running into a pregnant woman. We also follow the pickpocket, who stole the laptop as a birthday present for his daughter. There’s also a doctor in Montreal who sees the same girl every day on the bus, yet is too afraid to talk to her. On his last day in town, with the intent of finally speaking to her, he must stay behind at the hospital and search for bone marrow matches.
Of course all of the stories intersect. The doctor finally talks to the girl, and they hit it off. The Middle Eastern girl who took the car was supposed to get married to the doctor. A bus hits the woman holding up Martin, but Martin finds out that the man never killed her brother and that he is looking for a bone marrow transplant. One thing I liked about ‘Entanglement” is that not everything worked out perfectly for all the characters we follow. The girls who pick up the pregnant woman help the woman deliver her baby, yet the woman still refuses to drive with them after discovering that they are really girls in disguise. Also, Professor Teller tries to go see his daughter who works at the hospital, since his Jake-like visions are getting stronger, yet she believes he is crazy. I like Danny Glover as Teller, but he is never given enough to do. It seems that the more faith he has in kids like Jake, the worse things are going to get for him. I’m not going to mind if the show decides to have a few unhappy endings every once in a while.
Speaking of unhappy endings, Martin doesn’t make it to the evaluation, and that doesn’t bode well for them sticking together, especially since his wife’s sister Abigail tried to get custody of Jake in the past. The episode ends with a nice moment where Martin receives a tape of Jake’s mother singing to him for when she isn’t there.
For the most part, the show stays centered in New York, with a few exceptions. Even the pregnancy fits into New York, as does the doctor in Montreal. The show has a problem with making very obscure connections when you really think about it, but “Entanglement” doesn’t stretch too far. I also like that Jake is for the most part subdued this episode. Too often have we seen him as the screaming nuisance that he can be, but here he’s mostly calm and not as irritating as he has become in past episodes.
Touch can be pretty good when it deals with Martin having to cope with the loss of his wife while also realizing the new responsibilities he has with Jake. Here, he does what he thinks is right, but it ends up hurting him in the end. Finally the show doesn’t wrap up everything in a nice little package, allowing not everything to go as planned. I know a show about precise moments that connect each other seems like it shouldn’t have much room for mistakes, but when it does, it makes it feel more human and it becomes more fallible, and therefore interesting.