For the third week in a row, eleven-year-old Jake Bohm runs away from school and climbs a cell tower, tripping its alarm at precisely 3:18pm each time. Called to collect his son once again is single dad and widow, Martin Bohm. Getting the emotionally-challenged Jake down from the tower is no easy task – he won’t allow himself to be touched, and he is mute (perhaps even voluntarily so). Martin manages to lure him down this time with some cell phones he’d brought home for the boy from the lost & found at JFK airport, where Martin works as a baggage collector. Apparently the child likes to take them apart.
We soon learn, however, that whatever is going on in young Jake’s is far more complicated and ethereal than anyone could possibly suspect. Jake sees the patterns that make up the universe. He sees the invisible threads that link people to one another all around the world – and across the barriers of time itself. It’s possible, actually, that Jake Bohm can predict the future.
Such is the introduction to Touch, a new series starring Kiefer Sutherland as widower Martin Bohm, and curly-haired cutie David Mazouz as his extraordinary and silent son, Jake. Created by Heroes’ Tim Kring, the first preview episode of Touch aired a good two months before the official series premiere tonight (March 22) and, if the connections made in that preview episode are anything to go by, Touch stands to be as mind-blowingly fascinating as it is…well…touching.
I want to avoid spoilers as much as possible for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but it’s hard not to give kudos to the whole creative team involved with this show for taking what could be a frustrating and convoluted plot, and having it all click together perfectly in the end like a puzzle that suddenly becomes breathtakingly beautiful once all of the pieces have fallen into place.
Child and Family Services come to collect Jake for a couple of weeks, wanting to observe his behaviour in a more clinical setting, as they believe that he is beyond his father’s ability to handle. The social worker assigned to Jake’s case is Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), an intelligent woman who – while there to make sure Jake is well cared for – is also able to ease Martin’s mind and heart by helping him to see that other options might be better for both Bohms.
Still unsure what to do, Martin begins some basic research on mutism and cell phones, which leads him to the Teller Institute. Their website seems to convey a sense of understanding and possible research into some of what Jake has been dealing with, so Martin decides to go ask a few questions. The Institute’s door is answered by Arthur Teller himself(Danny Glover) – wearing a housecoat. Martin, convinced he’s made a mistake, turns to leave, and is halted by Teller’s next words:
“Let me guess – your kid’s been climbing cell towers.”
Thus begins Martin’s journey into the larger universe inhabited by his son’s mind. From a girl in Ireland who wants to be a singer, to a boy in Bagdad whose family needs a new oven to run their bakery, to a firefighter in New York (Titus Welliver – The Man In Black from LOST – sweet!) with a secret plaguing his conscience a decade after the fact, to a travelling salesman, estranged from his wife, who has lost his cell phone and needs more than anything to get it back before his daughter’s birthday, to Martin Bohm, struggling to connect and communicate with his son, Jake. How do all of these lives – separated by distance and difference – connect and intersect with one another? Are the events and interactions of each day all just a crazy random happenstance? Or is it something more? Are our lives really just a game of chance? Or does it all come down to Fate? Could our destiny also be our destination?
Jake Bohm knows. He sees it all, but doesn’t have a way to show us. Not until his social worker and his father find themselves atop a cell tower with Jake one rainy night, and Martin is able to finally tell his son that he can hear what Jake can’t say, and that he’s ready to follow the guidemap as Jake lays it out for him.
If the preview episode is anything to go by, Touch has the potential to blow your mind every single week, and could have you seeing the world around you in a whole new way. There were even actual phone numbers being used in the show which – to fans of 24 – harkens back to a certain beloved “Fan Phone”, and feels a little like a shout-out to those fans, if nothing else! 😉