Entertainment Magazine

Review #3414: Touch 1.3: “Safety in Numbers”

Posted on the 03 April 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Carol Barbee
Directed by Stephen Williams

I made the case, in my reviews for the first two episodes, that this show was going to succeed or fail on the merits of the writers’ ability to avoid hand-waving in terms of the connections being made between total strangers. Internal consistency was always going to be a huge factor, and with Tim Kring at the helm, that was always going to be a struggle. And sure enough, it took all of three episodes for the show to fumble.

Review #3414: Touch 1.3: “Safety in Numbers”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this show is designed to push certain sentimental buttons, as often as possible, to get you to ignore that the story makes little to no sense. It’s “feel good” TV, and for some, they will get very defensive over the notion that this is a perceived problem. What’s wrong with a little positive thinking? Nothing, provided that it feels genuine as opposed to pandering.

At least the first two episodes managed to put together a tapestry that made relative sense, even if the details were glossed over to a high degree. It’s easy to do when the premise is designed to allow the writers to toss out vague connections under the premise that there is a hidden order to the universe. Plot holes? Of course not! It’s the hidden will of the cosmos! It’s God’s hand working in mysterious ways!

Actually, it’s sloppy writing, and that comes through very clear in this episode. By the time the episode hit its climax, with Jake screaming his head off, I was left wondering if I had passed out and missed an entire segment of the story. Because half of the “connections” didn’t make a damn bit of sense. More than that, they were predictably manipulative, as with the victory of the South African children over the “Beastmaster” in that ridiculous dance competition. (Is this a real thing? Because it looks dumb as nails.)

Consider that the plot threads with the women in Soweto and the girl in the red dress had little or nothing to do with Jake and his mysterious number. Martin’s actions had nothing to do with them, either. It’s possible that they will factor into a future episode, much as the Japanese girls keep appearing, but in terms of this episode, it’s feel-good filler. In no way does it relate to the notion of Martin, through Jake’s deeper understanding of the universe, making a positive difference in people’s lives. (By the way, wasn’t that phone that the Japanese girls left at the festival supposed to have been the one used as a detonator in the pilot? How the hell did they get it back?)

Add to that the distressing notion that the actually relevant plot in the episode was a thinly-veiled rework of “The Fisher King”, and I was left distinctly underwhelmed. All my worries over the long-term viability of this show’s premise are coming to pass, and I feel bad for everyone on the cast, given how hard they are trying to make it work.

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

Final Rating: 6/10

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