Touch 1.02 – 1+1=3

Cosmic pain leads Martin and Jake to Brooklyn, like the hipsters they are.

“I’m not taking him back there,” Martin tells Clea when she once again comes to call at his three-bedroom loft in the meat-packing district to tell him the state is coming to take his son away, away! I hardly blame him, seeing as how Clea and the Evil State Facility lost Jake a day ago. The Evil State Facility that can keep this magical-mute autistic eleven-year-old contained has not yet been built, my friends. He’s playing with popcorn in a strategic way to prove it.

Clea thinks Martin should stay below the radar unless he wants the state to take his child away for good. When he says no, she says she’s going to call the police!  But since as far as I can tell there’s still no court order for all of this pulling Jake out of his dad’s home, I don’t know what she expects them to say besides, “Leave the alerting of authorities for the show’s narrative climax, ma’am.” But Martin caves and tells Jake he’s going back to the facility. Jake, of course, has more air-traffic controlling to do for interconnectivity, so he scrawls some numbers on Martin’s hand, while Clea stands around being a tool of the Evil State.

The phone number, for such it is, leads to Arnie’s Pawn Shop. But not before Martin has to deliver the cutest doggy ever, Lyov, to a connecting flight. A dog that cute can only be a manifestation of a father’s love for his son. *coughs*

A grumpy airline attendant hurls through airport crowds, yelling, “I’ve got a plane to catch!” So does everyone else, Miss Entitled. On the way she knocks into a man holding a ceramic Ganesh idol; it smashes, and its dusty contents scatter.  “I can call someone to clean up this dirt for you,” she snaps. “It’s not dirt, it’s my father!” he exclaims, and way to look like more of a meanie, flight attendant.

Martin delivers Lyov, and Lyov’s escort is obviously the rush-rush no-time-for-family flight attendant. After she bitches out Martin for running late, she turns to find Lyov has run off, driven away by her sourness! Run, Lyov, run!

Clea tries to wrangle more messages out of Jake by getting him a bowl of popcorn. 5-2-9-6 he numbers in popped kernels, and then draws an enigmatic circle. Ho ho ho, when she stands up, she sees the circle is a smiley-face! An autistic child as non-demonstrative and introverted as Jake probably wouldn’t recognize facial patterns signifying emotional expression at all never mind use them to communicate, but ho ho ho!

She leads him over to finger paint. “A new medium for my numeric communications!” Jake no doubt exclaims in his head as he begins drawing on his palm. She turns to get him something to clean it up—you don’t clean up significant messages, Clea!—and when she faces him again he’s gone, having run like the wind, just like Lyov! Turns out that 5-2-9-6 acted as the security code to open the door, which Clea had no idea about until she punched it in. Well, why should she have realized? It’s not like she works there or anything!

Martin shows up to the pawn shop, and in a bit of continuity, we spot the happy shiny adorable music-loving Japanese prostitutes running through JFK, vidcasting their trip to a music festival in L.A. The flight attendant rolls her eyes at them, because she hates fun. But because chasing Lyov the dog made her miss her flight, she decides to help the man she knocked over, a young Indian man whose sole desire is to spread his father’s ashes (in the Ganesh idol, which the flight attendant keeps calling “the ceramic elephant”) onto center field in Yankee Stadium. Good luck getting a permit for that!

Martin enters Arnie’s Pawn Shop, only to find himself mixed up in a robbery. We get a tip this isn’t your usual heist when the robber looks at Martin and yells, “Who are you?” in frustration. “I’m just a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Martin replies, because he hasn’t learned to trust the numbers yet. The burglar threatens to shoot, and Arnie the pawn guy advises him, “Make it count.”  But Martin stops the violence, making the robber only wing Arnie, and run out with a baseball covered in lipstick he’s for some reason thrilled to have in his hands.

Martin finds Arnie grumpy and ungrateful for that whole life-saving thing, but why?? Well, because it seems like it was a staged robbery you interrupted, Martin. Arnie tells Martin he’s going to accuse him of stalking if he doesn’t leave him alone, and Martin sadfaces.

Martin talks to Arnie the cranky pawn dealer. Hey, is there anyone else cranky in this episode? Do you think s/he and Arnie could be *related*?

The robber tries to give some Russian mafia cabal random watches, and they scoff at his crappy offerings. “I had an arrangement for the whole 10,000,” the robber pleads, “but it fell apart.” He offers up the baseball, from McGrath’s home run in a 2009 league championship; for some reason he had the baseball before this, and it’s come back to him, “like magic.” He begs for a second chance, but Russian mobsters laugh in the face of second chances and lob baseballs down the alley!

The cranky flight attendant realizes her new friend hasn’t made any arrangements to scatter his dad’s ashes. Of course not, because he’s a simple soul, whose storyline obviously only serves the purpose of illuminating someone else’s storyline (gee, hers?). Turns out his dad hated him, but he’s still going to scatter those ashes, because “a child owes his father respect.” She cries, because she obviously has her own daddy issues. When he puts his arm around her awkwardly in comfort, I think how fun it would be if we opened the next scene with them on a bed in a hotel, because they’re both really pretty, but instead we’re probably just going to achieve ash-scattering and daddy-issue-resolving.

Martin and Arthur Teller share an orange soda and discuss Jake’s revelation of cosmic pain through numbers. Martin’s still not getting that he’s supposed to trust Jake, and like a gosh-dang fool, wishes all of this made sense. Seeing the entire universe as numbers doesn’t make sense, Martin! Now drink your orange soda, and go fetch your son, who has somehow made it to the Bronx across from the Teller residence and is about to get on a random bus.

A young man in Russia, Pavel, prepares to enter a talent show, confident, “They will love me.” His mother reminds him his family loves him—his father loves him—and obviously his dad is the Russian mobster shaking down the pawn shop robber in Brooklyn. Turns out his performance is a magic act, but even though he makes a dove fly out of his hat, the other kids stare at him grimly. They look at the one girl who stands up to clap like she’s nutso—your clapping has shamed you, little enthusiastic girl! Of course then Pavel spills something, breaks something else, and breaks the cardinal rule of illusions by mopping at the spill with his cape. Out of the Magicians’ Alliance with you, Pavel!

Pavel goes to return the magic sets, because his tricks failed to instantly make him a whole slew of friends. What a quitter. “There’s no such thing as bad tricks, only bad magicians,” the man at the shop says, refusing to reimburse him. Pavel spots the clapping girl, and she doesn’t want to talk to him because his dad’s like Tony Soprano. The other kids don’t hate him, though; they’re scared because of his scary dad who hurts people! Tip for those scared kids: you don’t want to attract the attention of some mobster dad, you damn well clap when his son shakes a dove out of a hat! But his dad’s a business man, Pavel protests, because even if he can’t learn how to make friends, he’s already learned the value of denial.

Jake and Martin get off the bus at the pawn shop, and Martin wishes he had a sign that he’s doing what Jake wants him to do. He calls the phone number, and heeeyyy, it’s one number off from the pawn shop’s. It’s ringing in the building above, so up they go for some father-son breaking into an apartment together!

While Jake carefully sets up a baseball bat (also with the number 5-2-9-6 on it) against the couch, Martin rifles through Arnie’s medications and realizes he’s a cancer patient, and that’s why he probably set up the robbery. He also paws through some returned-to-sender letters to Arnie’s daughter Becca. “You the guy I’m supposed to hand everything to?” a random man asks, and Martin tries to play along as the robber Arnie engaged to kill him. When Martin slips up, the random man tries to attack him, but the conveniently placed baseball bat (ouch) is there to let them swing away and then run like hell.

The pawn shop robber tries to sell his ball over the phone, looking mournfully at the clipping, “Peanut Vendor Makes Lucky Catch.” His girlfriend kissed the ball, it seems, and that’s how it got lipstick on it. It was too much to hope it was a Joe DiMaggio ball that Marilyn Monroe kissed, wasn’t it?

The completely unsympathetic Yankee stadium guard won’t let in the flight attendant and son trying to do his duty with his dad’s ashes. “I failed him again,” the young man says. Everyone’s such a quitter in this episode. No, no, the flight attendant insists, he has his closure because he made a pilgrimage all the way to NYC with his father’s ashes in a ceramic elephant! Wouldn’t you know it, just then Lyov shows up, and “Have a great rest of your life!” the flight attendant calls out, already running after that elusive doggy.

Martin had to pick Jake up, and Jake wails like a banshee until they get into the cab, when he miraculously stops. “Where to?” the driver asks, and of course they go off to the address on the prescription bottle they just stole, Victory Memorial Hospital.

They head to room 5296, which is indeed Arnie Klepper’s room. But Arnie Klepper’s outside in his hospital shift, strolling over the bridge where he’s obviously going to jump and commit suicide.

Inside Yankee Stadium the peanut vendor gives McGrath back the baseball in hopes of setting everything right. He departs for the parking lot, leaving the door to the stadium open—and hey now, that means the simple Indian character can now sneak in and scatter his dad’s ashes on center field (and then, presumably, as he’s already made the flight attendant recognize the value of filial duty, he’ll disappear in a poof of smoke as he has no further reason for existence).

The peanut vendor/robber heads outside to meet with the cell of the Russian mafia and explains he gave the ball back. “Every man makes choices,” the vendor says, hopeful of being excused from his $10,000 debt. Just then Pavel calls his dad (yes, yes, we all get a finder’s fee on this one). Did he get the dog, Lyov his father asks hopefully—a tip off that he’s really good at heart. No, Pavel only called for another reason: “They say you hurt people. That’s why I have no friends.” Pavel’s dad stops himself before yelling he is so going to put the hurt on those kids who won’t be Pavel’s friends, and is suddenly conscience-stricken. Wow, if that’s all it takes to turn a mobster away from a life of violence and crime… He decides to give the peanut vendor his second chance.

“You again?” Arnie exclaims in frustration as Martin shows up to keep him from jumping off a bridge. “What about Becca?” Martin pleads when Arnie says he has no reason to go through his cancer treatment. She’s not going to forgive him, Arnie claims, “so I’ll go out the way I came in. Alone.” Because Arnie was apparently birthed in a sterile laboratory with no humans involved.

Arnie decides to jump anyway, but Martin yanks him back. “You say nobody cares about you, that you don’t have any friends. I care about you; I’ll be your friend, Arnie!” Martin promises. Whelp, if Arnie lives I fully expect Arnie to show up at Martin’s three-bedroom meat-packing district loft for coffee in a future episode, then, Touch. Just then a real friend shows up—Lyov the adorable dog!  Well, he’s also brought along the grumpy flight attendant, who of course turns out to be Arnie’s estranged daughter Becca.

We get flashes of all the characters in their resolutions—the dad and daughter at his hospital bed, the son shaking his father’s ashes on the baseball field and crying, the Russian mobster returning home to his wife and son, the Japanese girls at a concert, and the peanut vendor, totally forgiven of his debt of 10,000 smackaroos.

Martin puts Jake to bed at the Evil State Facility. Martin always thought being a father would mean teaching his son. “And it turns out it’s you teaching me. I want you to know I’m okay with that,” Martin tells him. Well. It’d be cool if the kid learned one or two things from Martin, seeing as he is eleven. But no, no, he’s mute and enigmatic and plugged into cosmic pain; no kid like that has a single thing to learn! Well, if someone has to learn, let’s hope it’s Clea learning how not to lose the one kid she’s looking after every time she turns around.

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