Touch “Safety in Numbers” Review

‘Safety in Numbers’ was this week’s episode of Touch. It showed storylines in New York, California and Soweto — everything from a man with abilities like Jake trying to fix a problem he inadvertently caused, to a woman who attempts to save her friend from an abusive relationship. In theory this episode had all the elements needed to create something much like episodes 1 and 2, where people and events were linked and Jake’s numbers or Martin’s presence facilitated even more links. Instead ‘Safety in Numbers’ was a bit of a mess.

Touch has all the makings of a great TV series — it’s easy on the eye, has a great cast and a wonderful use of global locations. But it relies heavily on forming and maintaining the links between characters. A potential link like the one between Clea and the woman who has her mother’s phone that fails before it even begins is a plot point. It makes us wonder why the woman had the phone and where Clea’s mother may be. The storyline with the abused woman and her friend in Soweto, one that is associated with another storyline but has absolutely nothing to do with the overall episode, is less of a plot point and more a confusing unnecessary addition to the episode.

A comment on my review of last week’s episode said: ‘It all comes down to execution, and what came to mind while watching this episode is that the central conceit is actually a built-in excuse for the writers to be sloppy’. I really liked the pilot and I was willing to view episode 2 as weaker episode in comparison, but I think the commenter may be correct, at least where episode 3 is concerned.

Two storylines this week, the women in Soweto and the girl stood up by her internet date, didn’t actually have anything to do with Jake’s numbers. Martin’s presence didn’t affect them either. (It could be argued that the kids in Soweto may never have been given the chance to dance if Martin hadn’t needed to use the computer, logging the next competitor out of the game, but this is a very tenuous link at best.) Unless these characters are going to feature in a future episode, bringing them into a wider link that stretches beyond one episode, I can’t see any reason, other than bad writing, for them to have been in the episode.

Which brings me to my biggest problem with Touch. It’s only been three episodes, but I can’t quite understand why we should care about the characters. I care about Martin only because he’s a loving father, and I care about Jake because he’s adorable, but that actually makes me dislike Clea because I don’t understand why Jake and Martin are being assessed by child services. (Their home life seems stable and Jake’s behaviour is only erratic when his father isn’t around.) We know very little about Arthur DeWitt, and there are no other recurring characters yet (except for the strange Japanese girls). We need to know more about the regular characters we have — we need to have a reason to care.

This show relies on the viewer having an already soft heart that needs something heart-warming to perk it up. Unless Touch gives more reason to care about the characters or comes up with a meaty season-long storyline, this show is going to get very old, very quickly.

What did you think of ‘Safety in Numbers’? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!