Tim Kring’s latest show Touch is all about the invisible connections we share and the weird and wonderful ways in which they unfold; do we all have a pre-planned destiny, is your soul mate out there just waiting for you to walk into their lives, if I wear my lucky pants will I get the job? Who knows, but it seems fate needs a helping hand nudging us in the right direction because lets face it, left to our own devices we’ll probably carrying on wallowing, reading all about it instead of striving to BE all about it. Destiny’s assistant comes in the form of 11-year-old autistic Jake Bohm (David Mazouz), who silently sorts through the science he sees in the world around him; and after appreciating the patterns he sees he plots to make them known, starting of course with his father.
Kiefer Sutherland, well-known for playing Jack Bauer in the hit series 24 and it’s ‘every moment is desperate because in the next 30 seconds the world is about to blow up unless he does something to stop it’ dramatics, plays Jake’s father Martin Bohm. His role is the same, he’s desperate, he’s fumbling for clues and scratching at all surfaces because he must figure out just what is happening before the looming doom is fully realised; only now he’s not saving the United States from terrorist attack, he’s striving to hold on to custody of his son. For the 3rd time in a matter of weeks his son escapes from the school’s clutches and finds his way up a phone tower, setting off the alarm at 3:18. This time social services are called to get involved. If Bauer, sorry Bohm doesn’t solve the breadcrumb trail of clues his son has left behind in time he’s sure to lose him to the state!
We’re only 20 minutes into the show and already I’ve bitten my finger nails to stubs and I’m sitting on the fence as to how much longer I can take social worker Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and her lack of belief in Bauer, forgive me Bohm. It’s not a simple case of “wish-fulfillment”, and yes I’m fully aware that “human connection is a powerful need” but dammit woman can’t you see?! I have to trail off as I realise she has not seen the likes of singer Kayla Graham, played by Karen David, whose days like many an unrealised starlet, consists of working in a cubicle all day with evenings spent singing her heart out in some back-alley dingy bar. Hopkins hasn’t seen her story line stretch from Ireland to the orient because a savvy friend dropped a phone with a recording of her singing into a suitcase with the belief that someone somewhere will pick it up and do the ‘right thing’!
The show’s writer and creator Tim Kring has us flitting back and forth between the loosely connected story lines, he tugs on our heartstrings and has us reach for the kleenex as we watch desperate widower daddy-Bohm expressing his fears of failing as a father to his wife’s headstone. Before we’ve had a chance to wipe the tears away he has us sprinting across the city to make a believer out of social worker Clea. After Jake silently predicts her mother’s phone call, she swiftly becomes Bohm’s sidekick rushing with him to Grand Central Station with him to see what will happen at 3:18 on 3/18, no doubt their bond will develop throughout the series as together they look to make sense of Jake’s scribbles.
Kring has us teetering on the edge of our seats as he uses the stray mobile, which by this point has clocked up some serious air miles to connect us with a yet another person, this time on the other side of the globe in Baghdad. A young teenager who after attempting to steal a cooker finds himself in the pocket of a terrorist. Soon enough the desperate lad has a bomb strapped to his chest and is contemplating his final moments on earth when he is quite literally saved by the bell. The phone rings and on the other end is an operator that’d make Vertu proud, not only can she save his life, she’s got just the guy he’s looking for on hold; a kitchen equipment salesman who will trade anything for information stored on the phone he’s about to use to blow up the village square.
By the time we get to the end of the pilot all strings have been neatly tied up, Bauer-for the last time his name is Bohm, has helped save the day by listening to his mute son and connecting all the dots. It’s a fairy tale ending that sees his main character overcome his fear of heights to reach his son who once again has found his way to the top of the phone tower at 3:18 and our hearts are warmed by their embrace. Kring has successfully reused the ‘we’re all connected’ theme that we enjoyed in Heroes but I’m left wondering where the show can go from here, will we be time traveling, will there be others like Jake, will Danny Glover have more than a cameo-esque role? Thankfully there’s a whole series to look forward to, just a few more sleeps and I can tune in for the next episode.
Watch Touch Tuesdays at 8pm on Sky 1