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Cult Recap

'Touch' recap: Kiefer Sutherland's new drama returns

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Touch S01E02: '1+1=3'

© Fox

Season 1, episode 2 | Aired Tuesday, Mar 27 2012 at 20:00 BST on

This Week... Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) is led to a pawn shop where a robbery triggers a sequence of unpredictable events that connect people all over the world.

You got the Touch! Tim Kring has set himself a difficult task with Touch - each week, the show has to introduce a large number of one-off characters, engender the audience's sympathy towards them, then resolve their storylines in a satisfying fashion.

What's more, Kring has to make sure that he doesn't neglect any of the show's regular characters, continuing to develop their arc in an interesting manner. It's a lot for 45 minutes of television to accomplish, so it's unsurprising that Touch is so hit and miss.

Unfortunately, '1+1 = 3' has to be considered a miss - it's nowhere near as satisfying as the pilot episode. While Simon Plimpton's family crisis, for example, moved us, it's a lot harder to care about this week's one-shots.

There's a young man from India who's determined to scatter his father's ashes at New York stadium, and Rebecca, a kindly flight attendant who offers to escort him. His undying devotion to his late dad makes Rebecca spontaneously weep, but this viewer didn't feel anywhere near as moved. Call me a cynic, but I didn't buy the sudden deep emotional connection that forms between Rebecca and her new friend.

Touch S01E02: '1+1=3'

© Fox



Elsewhere, there's Pavel, a Russian teen who's determined to become a magician, convinced that this will help him to make friends. "Why does everyone hate me?" he whines - maybe it's because you walk around in a top hat and a bow tie, Pavel.

Pavel's own father, it transpires, is a Russian gangster and, in what is certainly the episode's most ludicrous moment, we're expected to believe that he abandons all forms the violence the moment his son learns the truth about his criminal lifestyle.

But weakest of all is the story of a peanut vendor who gained, then lost, a valuable baseball. It's under-written and doesn't really tie in with the instalment's theme of fatherhood - the episode could have done without it entirely.

This writer's first impression of Touch was that Kiefer Sutherland didn't suit the lead role of Martin Bohm, but then again, without his grounded presence, the show would become unbearably saccharine. Unsurprisingly then, it's Martin's storyline that is the most compelling.

Touch S01E02: '1+1=3'

© Fox



Kiefer's still pursuing the numbers, doing his level best to distance himself from Jack Bauer - though it doesn't help that he's still spouting the CTU agent's catchphrases (This week, "Son of a bitch!" joins the pilot episode's "Damn it!") or that he's paired with 24's Mike Novick, actor Jude Ciccolella.

Ciccolella plays Arnie, the cancer-ridden owner of a pawn shop. With Jake's help, Martin saves Arnie from throwing himself off a bridge and reunites him with his estranged daughter - of course, it's flight attendant Rebecca. Strong performances from Sutherland and Ciccolella ensure that this plotline at least remains watchable.

Having hired a star as charismatic as Sutherland, Touch would benefit from spending more time with Martin. Kring and his writing team also need to work harder to develop three-dimensional one-off characters.

Both of these could be achieved by cutting down on the number of intertwining storylines featured each week. '1+1 = 3' features a total of six. Cut that number down to a more manageable three or four and we'd get more time with our regulars, more time to develop the one-off characters and the show could still maintain its unique format.

Let us know what you thought of episode two of Touch below!

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