Touch

Touch is the new television series starring Kiefer Sutherland that aired last Thursday.  I find there are a lot of complex one hour dramas to keep track of that all seem to be on Thursdays.  I’m sure you’ve seen several commercials for Touch by now.  I know I saw the same one over and over again which made me sick of it before it even began.  But I decided to watch it anyway.

The premise of Touch is that Kiefer Sutherland’s character, Martin Bohm, has trouble connecting with his 11-year old son Jake, played by David Mazouz.  Jake never speaks and doesn’t let anyone touch him.  He’s constantly preoccupied with writing down numbers and no one knows why.  But in the beginning of the show, Jake explains the the viewers about some ancient theory that we are all connected and there are certain connections between people who’s lives were meant to touch.  And apparently for some reason it’s his job to keep track of them all.  I think that would be an awesome role for an actor to play, just having to look upset and disturbed, and never having to memorize any lines.

Martin goes to see a man named Arthur Teller, played by Danny Glover, who tells him that his son can see all these connections and patterns in the world that the rest of us can’t, and that the numbers mean something, and it’s up to Martin to follow these connections and figure it all out.  Or something like that.  But how does he know that without having even met the kid?  He also says that his son sees so much beauty in the world, no wonder he doesn’t talk.  I don’t see the connection there.  Why would being overwhelmed with the world’s beauty make a person not talk ever?  And if he’s seeing all this beauty, then why does he look angry all the time?

Jake climbs the cell tower three times in a span of three weeks while he’s at school, causing a social worker, Clea Hopkins, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw to have to intervene and take him in for assessments.  Martin tries to tell her that there are patterns in what Jake is writing down and showing them, but she refuses to believe there is any meaning behind them.  But then Jake arranges popcorn kernels in groups of numbers, which are the same as her mother’s phone number, and she receives a call from her right after.  It must be incredibly annoying for them that Jake can’t talk, and that they have to follow his indications and clues in order to figure out what the hell he’s trying to tell them.

There are also worldwide connections shown throughout the show, ones which don’t seem to have anything to do with Jake.  A man loses his cell phone, and it consequently ends up being passed around the world and connecting the people who come across it.  The man who loses it needs it back, as it has pictures of his daughter who died a year ago.  Because of the way the phone is passed around, he ends up seeing these pictures on a jumbo tron in Japan, because someone put a video of a girl singing, in hopes that the next person to find the phone would discover her.  Then, a girl in Japan made sure everything on the phone was put onto the jumbo tron because she wanted to start a fan club for the singer.

Meanwhile a boy in the middle east tries to steal an oven for his family who is in need, gets caught, and ends up with a bomb strapped to him, with the phone attached to it.  The original owner of the phone had made a request to get it back, and so the boy gets a call from the call centre on that phone.  Coincidentally, the woman at the call centre is the same woman who was recorded singing on the phone.  When she realizes he has a bomb strapped to him, she convinces him to take out the battery and not go through with it.  He says the only thing that would get him to stop would be an oven for his family.  Conveniently, the original owner of the phone is a restaurant supplies salesman, so the call centre woman is able to acquire an oven for the boy.  She also realizes the video of her singing has received many hits on youtube.

I don’t know why her friend couldn’t have just put the video on youtube to begin with, as opposed to sending it off on a phone.  And I also wonder why the cell phone owner’s only pictures of his daughter were on his cell phone.  Did he not own a camera?  And did he not ever upload the pictures to his computer?  And as for the boy in the middle east, the men he tried to steal from still know who and where he is, so wouldn’t he still be in trouble, even if he was able to get an oven for his family?  And what does any of this have to do with the mute boy writing down numbers?

My mom mentioned they didn’t really need the boy, they could have just called the series “Phone” and focused on how it was randomly passed around and connecting people.  The part that does have to do with the kid, is that he is preoccupied with the numbers 318, and tries to indicate to his dad that there’s something he needs to do.  What Martin ends up doing, is going to the terminal at 3:18, and trying to use the payphone.  He gets in a fight with the guy at the payphone, causing him to miss his train.  Later on the news, we find out this same man was able to save a bus full of children, something he wouldn’t have been able to do if he hadn’t missed his train.

Coincidentally, this man had been on the phone leaving a message for Martin at the time, informing him that he had been a fireman who had tried to save his wife when she was killed at the world trade centre on 9/11, but had left her not knowing whether or not she was really dead.  He had played lottery numbers significant to that date ever since, and had just won.  I think they would have called this show “Numbers“, if the title hasn’t already been used previously.

My mom remarked that this show may even be more confusing than Awake, if that’s possible.  And I remarked how we’re only dealing with one reality here.  I don’t know, I suppose the connections and everything are interesting.  But do I really care that much?  I guess the show will progress with the kid trying to predict other various things and getting his dad to do certain things in order to make connections.  It would be funny if he just showed him random numbers that didn’t mean anything for fun.  But I guess he takes his job seriously.  But I still don’t get why it’s up to him and why this prevents him from talking.

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Awake

No, I’m not talking about the movie starring Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba (which I haven’t seen).  I’m talking about the new TV series that aired this week starring Jason Isaacs.  This show starts off with a car crash.  What a great way to start off a new series, right?

The premise of Awake is that detective Michael Britten deals with two alternate realities after the car crash.  In one, his son is dead.  In the other, his wife is dead.  The catch, he doesn’t know which one is real and which one is a dream.  Every time he falls asleep, he wakes up in the other reality, and each one feels equally real to him.

Upon hearing this premise, I laughed and thought really?  And I thought of the movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow.  Except in that movie, each parallel reality is based on whether or not she gets on the train.  In Awake, there is nothing different that he does.  And instead of just being alternate realities that could have happened, he is actually experiencing both of them.

This show has the potential to be very confusing.  He is a cop, and in each reality, is working on a different case.  It’s going to be difficult to keep track of which case is in which reality.  There are a few differences to help us differentiate.  In one reality, Efrem Vega, played by Wilmer Valderrama (yes, he’s getting work, doesn’t this make you excited?), has been promoted to be Michael’s partner.  In the other, he is just a detective.  I’ve already forgotten which reality is which.

Also in each reality, he has a different therapist.  This makes sense, because if he were to have the same therapist in each reality, this would get confusing and annoying for him.  He would probably be like “I already told you that!” and get frustrated having to repeat himself twice to the same person.  At least with things different in each reality, there’s less of a deja vu feeling for him.  Each therapist assures him that this is reality and that the other one is a dream.  In order to help himself remember, he wears a different coloured rubber band on his wrist in each reality, a red one for when his wife is alive, and a green one for when is son is alive.

One therapist remarks that this “dream” he has is a fascinating coping mechanism in order to deal with his son’s death, and allow him to live as though he is still alive.  But really, it’s not a great coping mechanism.  Because in the other reality, his wife is dead.  He just can’t win.  Except this way of living would allow him to cheat on his wife if he wanted to, but not really.  Because he can do it in the reality where she’s dead and it wouldn’t count.  I only say this because there seems to be a potential love interest for him in the reality in which his wife is dead.

This is all rather confusing and it’s going to be really hard to keep track of everything.  It’s hard enough to keep track of what’s happening in one case in these shows, let alone two cases that are occurring simultaneously.  Something from one reality helped him think of something that pertained to the case in the other reality.  In this first episode, he successfully solves both cases.  There’s not really any indication yet that his life is better or worse in either of them.

At one point, he wakes up and is not wearing any rubber band on his wrist.  This causes him to freak out and yell his wife’s name, call his wife, then yell his son’s name.  And then he gets so crazy and desperate that his takes a knife and cuts his own hand.  At which point his wife walks in and wonders what the hell he’s doing.  He then notices the red rubber band on the bed, that must have fallen off his wrist.  At least now he can differentiate between the two in that his hand is injured in one and not in the other.  I think he should get a tattoo in one reality, that way he wouldn’t have to worry about losing it like with the rubber bands.

So which reality is real?  Is his wife dead?  Or is his son dead?  Is one reality just a dream?  Maybe it’s all a dream?  Maybe there’s a third reality in which both of them are dead.  Or maybe it turns out he’s really dead and they’re both alive?  And they’re both having dreams that he’s still alive?  The possibilities are endless.  I kind of just really want to know how it’s going to end.  He tells his therapist that he’s not willing to make progress and face just one reality, and would rather be able to spend time with both his wife and his son, even if that means a risk to his own sanity.  This should be interesting and I’d like to see how it develops, but I know I’m going to get confused along the way.