By the Numbers: A Review of Touch
- Tuesday, March 27, 2012
His son habitually wanders away from school and into danger, thus landing on Child Services' radar. With Jake about to be torn away from him by a benign but determined social worker (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Sutherland registers the quiet desperation of a man at the end of his rope. His discovery of the strange gift his son possesses can't have come at a better time. A new bond is forged between father and son and Martin finds a new purpose for living.
At this writing, the supporting cast members have yet to come into their own. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Danny Glover. As the eccentric Professor Arthur Teller, an expert in the field Martin has stumbled into, the likeable Glover has a chance to create a character as endearing as Walter Nichols in Fringe. I expect that, before long, Gugu Mbatha-Law's social worker will give up her initial uneasiness and become more of an ally. As I understand it, eventually, Martin will become aware of what every father of nascent super-heroes fears--unscrupulous types seeking to exploit his offspring's abilities.
Though Kring's Heroes failed, collapsing under the weight of too many characters, the super-hero motif remains strong. It just has less and less to do with capes and costumes. This time, the hero's task is not so much to keep villains from conquering the world (so far, at least), but rather to bind disparate, desperate people, human threads hanging from the tapestry of life, together, to help them see that their lives are significant.
Although the show smacks of pantheism—the belief that the universe is God—it nevertheless speaks to the individual's craving for meaning, purpose, and hope. "Nobody cares if I live or die!" cries the estranged pawn shop owner. "I care!" replies Martin Bohm. On one level, Martin is but a lonely father seeking only to communicate with his son. As such, he, like the rest of us, is not the Hero but just another victim of life. On another level, however, Martin Bohm is a Christ-figure, a wounded stranger whose wounds bring strangers together. His mission—to help people find meaning—is that of the body of Christ on earth.
Whether Touch can become more disciplined in its approach, relying less on multiple contrivances and emotion, remains to be seen. Whether the church can help people touch God and one another remains a challenge as well.
*This Review First Published 3/27/2012
**Watch Touch Thursadys on Fox
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