Entertainment Magazine

Review #3536: Touch 1.11/1.12: “Gyre”

Posted on the 01 June 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Jonathan I. Kidd, Sonya Winton, Carol Barbee, Robert Levine, Tim Kring, and Rob Fresco
Directed by Nelson McCormick and Greg Beeman

“Touch” has always been a show with potential. It could have been something very interesting. Instead, it quickly became apparent that Tim Kring was using this show to promote a lazy brand of spiritualism that predicates itself on the human tendency to find patterns in the noise. All too often, the writers force connections to imply that there is a grander scheme of things, and it shows. This season finale is no different.

Review #3536: Touch 1.11/1.12: “Gyre”

I have no idea if Kring intended for there to be an overarching conflict to the show. I get the feeling it was introduced after the first few episodes were produced, and it became clear that the writers couldn’t pull off multiple intersecting storylines in a consistently compelling and logical manner. Whatever the case, it’s the one element of the show that has been working, yet it still feels vague and indistinct.

The finale all but verifies that Jake is one of 36 special individuals placed on Earth by God to ensure that things happen as they should. Oddly enough, a new problem is introduced: these individuals aren’t supposed to be aware of their nature, so Martin (and Teller before him) is actually bad for Jake. Which, if one thinks about it, makes no sense at all. Jake is supposed to be hyper-aware and tapped into the universe. He has been pushing his father and others to do what needs to be done from the very beginning. How else are they supposed to do it? It’s a needlessly “mystical” complication.

I like the idea that there are corporate interests that see Jake and others like him as a resource to be exploited, because despite the cloying message that all corporatism is evil, it’s something people joke about doing with savants all the time. Who hasn’t heard someone joke that they want to take a mathematical wizard to Vegas? The “evil corporation” in this story is just taking it to an extreme level.

This is part of the reason why the whole “mystical” side of things is unnecessary. Strip away the vague religiosity from the equation, and the show is effectively the same. Jake has a gift to see connections others may not, and he wants to use that gift to help people. Martin wants to help him do that, while this corporation wants to exploit him. This leads to a battle over custody, hampered by Martin’s haphazard way of doing what Jake wants with limited resources. It’s still problematic in terms of how those connections are expressed, but it would be a lot less heavy-handed than this religious angle.

The first half of the finale is far less effective. Instead of following the template of the previous few episodes, by focusing on two main plot threads that connect in logical ways, the writers (all four of them!) have one of the plot threads involve a completely unrelated side story about debris from the Japanese tsunami. Granted, that side of the episode eventually does tie back into Martin’s struggle with Astercorps and the dark suggestions about Amelia, but for much of the hour, it’s more of a way to mark time until the real finale.

The second hour is a bit tighter, as old supporting characters from earlier in the season come back to help Martin at key points in his quest to rescue Jake from Astercorps and go on the run. Of course, from a legal perspective, this involves Martin abducting Jake and becoming a major criminal, but that plays into the notion that Martin (via Jake) is doing God’s will against the evil desires of the secular world.

But even the second hour incorporates a completely unnecessary side story about a guy on a quest to have various bands around the world record different versions of the same song. And as always, it’s done merely to support the notion that these “numbers” have a higher meaning. Isn’t it enough that the “numbers” lead Amelia’s mother and Walt to right where Martin and Jake need them by the end of the hour? Wouldn’t that time have been better spent on a final act that allows Martin and Amelia’s mother to actually talk to one another?

Having Martin and Jake on the run from this threatening corporation with legal custody sounds like a great jumping-off point for the second season, but I think it actually takes the series in a direction that will be even harder to sustain. And since the writers were already struggling to make the basic premise of the first season work without the seams coming apart, the last thing they needed was more complication. If anything, the end of this finale underscored all the reasons why I have no intention of following this show in the future.

Writing: 1/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Rating: 6/10

(Season 1 Final Average: 5.9)

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