Touch: “Music of the Spheres” (Episode 1.9)

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Touch: “Music of the Spheres” (Episode 1.9)

Week to week, Touch has been in this compelling struggle. The story of the main characters Martin and his son Jake are interesting enough to check in once every week, but the stories surrounding them usually flounder and make the show suffer. Usually we’re introduced to new characters that we will never see again, only to fill up the half hour. But with “Music of the Spheres,” we get a mix of the good and the bad, but it ends up as one of Touch’s more decent episodes.

For what seems like the first time in a while, Jake is more active this episode, as he and Martin are to spend the day together. The head of the home where Jake is staying says that it may not be a good idea, but since she doesn’t have legal custody of Jake, they can do whatever they want. What always strikes me as hilarious is that whenever someone says it’s a bad idea for Martin to take out Jake, something terrible almost definitely will happen to Jake. For example, within minutes Jake is knocked down and then finds and takes a gun.

As we come to find out, the gun is owned by a 13-year-old kid named Elliot who just tried to rob a music shop. Elliot has been left all alone with his disabled brother and must take care of him, while also stealing for his social worker. We also find out that the room that Teller was using is shared by his best friend, a Jewish jeweler who believes Jake is one of what he calls the 36 righteous ones, a group of people who try to make the world a better place. Because this man seems to understand Jake, he actually touches his hand, something Jake never does. Our story told from around the globe this week is of a musician who falls in love with a struggling café owner. When writing a song for the woman doesn’t solve her financial woes, unsurprisingly, he sells his guitar to help out his love. This is all irrelevant though as the two move to New York to take care of her nephews, Elliot and his brother.

Touch is making some much needed changes in its final few episodes of the season, but still having problems as well. With the introduction of Teller’s best friend, we are starting to get a better understanding of where Touch is trying to go in the long run. The show has been stuck working from week to week with no real forward momentum. Now, we’re starting to see a purpose to Jake and his numbers and crazy screaming.

The show’s weakest points have always been the foreign segments, especially when they take place in another language. The story of the musician and café owner feels very forced and awkward, and while it does redeem itself a bit by connecting to the larger story in a nice way, it still is the weakest part of the episode.

Another thing that Touch is getting better at is not telling too many stories and creating a convoluted mess. Had this been at the beginning of the season, the social worker, the music shop owner and the pawn store owner where the musician sells his guitar would have all had their own useless stories. Keeping the show simple is the key to its success, and it seems to have finally learned that.

Getting into the end of the first season, and now that Fox has renewed Touch for a second season, the introduction of the idea that there are 35 other people like Jake makes sense as a place to go from here. By giving a goal to the show, even if that goal could end up being somewhat Dark Angel-esque, it gives the show a focus that Touch has had a hard time trying to grasp so far this season.