For the most part, Touch is pretty decent at telling an interesting story about Martin and his son Jake. The show knows well enough that this is its most important aspect and that the connections are sometimes nice additions, but not the main reason why people are tuning in. “Noosphere Rising” gives us a fairly decent Martin story; unfortunately the two connection stories, which take up at least half the episode, are some of the worst that Touch has done so far.
The main plot here is that Martin was left a key from the now-dead Teller with the number 1188. Martin recognizes this number as a Dead Man’s hand (two aces, two eights) in poker. Fittingly, he is led to an underground poker game, which Teller used to frequent. Martin meets Stacey, a dealer who was wronged by a former player and now owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to her boss. Martin must find the man, Logan, which leads the two of them to try to win the money she needs using the Amelia sequence, the same sequence that Jake weekly gives bits and pieces of. All this is fine, albeit not that exciting. In return for helping Logan, Martin is told where the key leads, an office with the Amelia sequence on a blackboard, most likely Teller’s.
In all this, we see that Martin’s sister-in-law has shown up, trying to take custody of Jake away from him. We’re never seen any way in which she is evil, except that she wants to split up Martin and Jake, but we immediately are supposed to realize that she is a huge villain for no real reason.
The true problems here are the ludicrous side stories. First, the least ridiculous of the two: a man from Australia who moved to New Jersey returns home to hear the reading of his father’s will, in which everything is left to his father’s horse. Yes, this is the more plausible of the two. In order for the son to earn his father’s land, he must learn how to ride the horse. He’s cocky about it at first, but with the help of this dad’s business partner, he grows, has an emotional breakdown with the horse really aimed at his father, then rides the horse, all in one afternoon. In the middle of this, he receives a call from Martin, since Martin has found Logan unconscious in his office and the Australian man is his partner. Once the Aussie tells Martin that Logan is diabetic, the connection is pretty much done. The son decides to give his father’s partner the land, in a plot move that could be predicted by anyone who has watched any entertainment before. Or at least Billy Madison.
Here’s where my real gripe is with “Noosphere Rising,” a side story involving a woman named Natalie and her video blog. While in Paris, she found a flash drive at her hostel from a man named Paolo looking for a woman he shared a gelato with and then never saw again. Now he is searching for her and vows to meet her in New York on her birthday. Natalie takes this as an opportunity to put Paolo’s video on her blog and try to find someone that can help Paolo find this girl. Also, Natalie has posted 1188 video blogs. 1188 well-edited video blogs?! About what? What is wrong with this girl?
What starts off innocently really kind of becomes an obsession for a woman who clearly doesn’t have enough to do. She pieces the puzzle together as people from all over the world apparently know something about this woman. Even people that don’t know anything assume weird things, like because she likes gelato, she must be from Argentina, in obviously CGI-ed videos from all over the country. In case you were wondering, those two girls that the show must think are hilarious because they show up so often, even post their own video of the pair, known as the Happy Pop Twins, just yelling the girl’s name. Great.
After a while, Natalie has a genius idea! She’ll get people together to meet Paolo at the restaurant where he is supposed to meet the girl. All people who want to show up should wear red in honor of love. This is a horrible idea because of all of the scenarios I can think of, there’s no reason why Paolo would want all these people there. For example:
A) If the girl does show up, why would the new couple want dozens of people from the Internet gawking over their second date?
B) If the girl doesn’t show up, I’m sure the last thing that Paolo wants is for a bunch of people to be there to tell him that love can conquer all when he has a broken heart.
However the third, and most obvious, outcome is that Paolo will fall for Natalie, who has clearly been pining for him since she found the flash drive. I was hoping no one would show up at the restaurant, but instead people fly from New Mexico and Argentina just to be at this awkward date. You might ask what the connection to Martin might be in this story that takes up at least a third of the episode? He walks by for a split second in the final video. That is all. Good thing Touch wasted so much time on such a creepy and unusual side story that adds up to pretty much nothing.
The side stories here are just poor excuses for Touch to utilize its connections theory, yet when the connections are hardly there, predictable and completely useless, why should Touch bother? It’s best when the show barely focuses on the side stories; it just feels like a way for the show to fill out its hour-long timeslot. Touch should focus on the story between father and son and their unique bond rather than stories of horses in possession of land and insane Internet bloggers.