Touch 1.06 – Lost and Found

Roll up for the mystical magical sequence tour! Jake's discovered some of the same numbers Arthur Teller saw when he had an aneurysm! *pauses* This is supposed to be good.

Jake’s opening voice-over tells us that people who are lost in the Northern Hemisphere can use Polaris, the North Star, to guide them home. But if they get lost in other ways, they are just totally SoL.

No, no, do you think Jake, with his mystical connections and inner beatific understanding of the human race despite his outward disinterest in anything that’s not a bat, a car, or a sugar packet, would say such a vulgar thing? Nope, if people get lost in other ways, those whose lives intersect with theirs can also act as beacons. “The light they bring will never fade,” Jake closes.

Martin dreams that he’s at the playground with Jake—Jake, smiling at him, leaps from a swing and into Martin’s welcoming arms. “I had the dream again,” Martin tells Jake in the room at the Evil State Facility, waking in a disoriented state. The Pear Dream? any of us who remember the Kids in the Hall ask. No, the one where he can touch Jake without Jake screaming.  *clutches heart* Poor Martin.

Over at Arthur Teller’s place, Martin’s given him every number Jake’s shown him since March 18. Aha, the anomalies, the Amelia sequence! Arthur exclaims. Turns out it’s another mystical sequence of numbers Jake’s stumbled upon somehow entirely by himself. Kind of like how I stumbled upon the mystical secret to perfect pecan pie by myself (though if you think I’m telling you what it is, you’re nuts, hahaha).

But hey, Arthur’s got one up on Jake—975 up on Jake, precisely, because those are the next numbers in the sequence Arthur’s discovered. How did he discover them? An aneurysm. Ouch. He pooh-poohs the idea he lost brain function, not when he found his whole purpose. By the way, speaking of higher purposes, can he hang with Jake today? Martin, for once trying to cover his own ass in terms of this custody thing, regretfully tells him no. The one time Arthur asks something, shot down! Denied! Martin goes to work, confident he will never ever regret this because nothing horrible is going to happen to Dr. Arthur Teller, ever, ever.  *coughs*

At the airport, two business people waiting for a flight, Lanny Cheong and Will Davies, bond over his uncanny ability to know all the obscure long answers to the crossword puzzle clues. Thank goodness she ran into him; just embarrassing to get on a plane with Friday’s crossword and all those shaming blank boxes. Guess what flight they’re waiting for? 975.

Martin’s on the job, and thank god, because I thought he’d actually quit his work entirely to follow Jake’s mystical road map. Turns out the job and the road map dovetail for today, when Martin delivers a missing piece of luggage to a family that’s missing their little boy. When Martin realizes that, he turns back, recognizing this is his mission of the week.

Clea tries to plead Martin’s case to the director of the Evil State Facility, Sheri Strepling. Sheri is not feeling it, because she’s stern and uptight and in no way in touch with her universal essence.

I’m starting to hate how Touch keeps misrepresenting all professionals who work with autistic children as villains, hell-bent on taking custody away from caring parents and ready to permanently institutionalize a kid who doesn’t immediately respond to someone he hasn’t met yet. It’s not just absurd and damaging to families with those kids and the way we think such policies work, it’s crappy lazy storytelling.

All right, back on track as poor Clea gets a call saying yet another hospital thinks they’ve yet again found her schizophrenic mom. Clea rushes over, only to find her mother doesn’t recognize her (Clea! *clutches heart* I really love that we’re getting more of her storyline), refuses to be institutionalized (given how mean institutions are in this series, do we completely blame her?), and wants to get back to her baby at home. Uh oh. Whose schizophrenic mom is a kidnapper? Clea’s schizophrenic mom. D:

We learn from a nurse Clea’s mom was brought in for shoplifting cough syrup. Martin shows at the hospital desk at the same time so they can all hear the missing boy’s parents give a report on TV about how he’s wearing a read cap, and he has a cold. Clea assumes her mother might have the little boy, and of course she DOES, because Touch has never met a thread unbelievably connecting two disparate characters it doesn’t like.

Back at the airport, Will’s got a bee in his bonnet, because he happened to tell his real estate dealing bosses about this great property where all the jazz greats used to gather, and his bosses immediately said, “Sounds like a fantastic place to BLOW TO BITS!” Sure, it’s made the company a gazillion dollars, but what about the history? What about Will’s love for jazz that he’s betrayed with this deal? What about how Will has an IQ of 150 and hasn’t done anything to make an impact on the world? This just goes to show how highly functioning non-autistic people can be super awkward in casual meetings too. Keep your genius IQ to yourself, Will.

TSA agents fetch Lanny and take her off the flight because her luggage is missing. While she goes and tries to convince them she wasn’t transporting heroine or bombs or something, Will (who had been flying standby) gets her seat on the plane, and gives her a business card saying “IOU” on the back of it. Hey, you already gave her all those crossword puzzle answers, Will; I think you’re in the clear.

Arthur Teller digs out his visitor’s pass to the Evil State Facility from the other week, and uses it to infiltrate the joint for its horrible custody-stealing way. No, actually he’s just there to pay a visit to Jake, who’s painting “975” at an easel. I guess Jake knew he was coming, Arthur says mildly, which makes me want 10,000 scenes with the two of them. Danny Glover is just lovely in this exchange.

When Arthur mentions a former patient of his, Amelia (the namesake of the sequence, or what?), Jake gets out a toy car. Toy cars were Amelia’s favorite!  Of course they were. As Sheri goes on a rampage trying to find that trespassing Arthur, Arthur hides behind a conveniently placed nook. Moments later he sees Jake had added a “6” after the 975. “Thank you, Jake,” he says, and departs.

Clea’s alerted the authorities that her mom might have the missing boy, but she thinks that’s all she can do. When Martin shows her the Amber Alert case number for him, 975, and convinces her that Jake’s interest in that number shows that he has to go investigate, she agrees to help him try to find her mother.

Lanny arrives home to find her partner, Serena, hanging out with a mystical medium guy, who says the reason they haven’t been able to get Serena pregnant with donor sperm is because their ancestors are angry with them.  Could it be that it’s just that her eggs aren’t viable, like the doctors said?  Nope, definitely angry ancestors. They think Lanny doesn’t take having a family seriously. But Lanny paid for fertility this, and egg enhancing that, and footed the bill for every imaginable way to get Serena some Class A sperm. No, no, she doesn’t want it enough! Because no one who doesn’t TRULY want a baby in their heart of hearts ever has one. Touch, you’ve turned a poignant moment into a hi-larious one. Geez, you’d think these people would have seen at least one episode of Teen Mom at this point.

Will, who earlier woke up in a crash site, because Flight 975 went down burning, has made his way back to the office somehow. As one does, when one is bleeding and possibly the only survivor in a multiple-victim major airline crash. His boss congratulates him on selling out his dreams and love of jazz with a building due to explode any moment now. He can’t be part of this, Will says; he’s got to change something, and it’s got to be today. He runs, and his boss notices the hard-to-remove drip-drip-drip of blood on the floor, yikes.

Arthur takes Jake’s “6” as a hint, and heads to Room 6, where apparently Amelia once boarded. He sees a girl in a wheelchair, being pushed by an aide; when he shouts, “Amelia!” the vision disappears and Sheri the Evil Overlord of the Evil State Facility shows up with her posse of security goons to make him leave the building. “What did they promise you, money, fame?” Arthur asks wildly, because she’s apparently part of some immense conspiracy? Well. This could be Arthur’s aneurysm-induced paranoia, or there really could be a Mystical Child Custody-Gaining/Kidnapping for Nefarious Purposes scheme going on. Sounds a little Fringe-y. I’ll take a mystical conspiracy, though, if it gets us beyond wrapping up everything into a neat ball every week.

Martin’s got a map, and though Clea tries to help, her mother lost custody of her when Clea was eight, so it’s not like she recognizes much in the neighborhood! Seriously, Clea, you are BREAKING me here. Right now this is the one storyline on Touch that I’m 10000% behind, because it’s seriously realistic and heart-breaking, and Clea’s revealed to be this complex character who deals with things pragmatically but is in an immense amount of private pain. D:

They head to Queensboro Plaza, where Clea’s mom used to take her to scream at trains so she could quell the voices in her head while little Clea stood below, afraid and vulnerable (*whimpers*), and where the woman the hospital thought was Clea’s mother a few weeks ago was hit by a car (which Martin witnessed).

Under the overpass, Clea finds a five-pointed star that her mother drew for her when she was a little girl. D: She brushes her hand over it, and explains it’s part of a system of symbols her mother used to help guide Clea home if she ever got lost. Seriously, guys, my eyes are SO WIDE right now to keep from crying. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, I love you more every single week! Clea and Martin start moving in search of the next symbol to take Clea back to her childhood home.

Arthur Teller, getting ready to leave the facility in his car (uh, should you be driving if you’ve had lots of aneurysms lately?), hops in the driver’s seat. The numbers on the speedometer start to float in the air, accompanied by a sharp white light: they’re working themselves into the Amelia series, possibly revealing the next numbers in the sequence. Arthur looks dazed and overcome and eeep, what’s going to happen to Arthur?

Clea and Martin rush along until Clea spots the building where she and her mother used to live (it’s not clear to me if they were squatters there, as Clea’s mother is now, or if it used to have regular apartments before it fell into disrepair). Wouldn’t you know it, this is of course the VERY BUILDING where the jazz greats used to go, the one Will told his bosses about, and it is about to go off! Martin pleads to be let onto the sight, but the men working the explosion don’t want to let them in, saying everyone living there was cleared out yesterday even when Clea protests her mother is still inside.

They’re getting nowhere with the explosives men. Really? There’s no protocol for pausing a gigantic explosion for five minutes while we do a last check of a building to make sure no one’s going to get blown to pieces? Lucky for them Will shows up, bleeding like he means it. He’s gotten super jazzy in between waking at the crash site and making it here, calling everyone “man!” in a hip way that’s clearly supposed to undercut the fact that he’s given up the execu-speak from his sold-out money-making life. I only wish he had time to call everyone “hep cats” before the episode’s end. He’s also discovered some extreme civil disobedience tactics along the way, picking up large equipment and swinging it at the men working on the site to keep them from setting off the explosives.

With Will acting the part of the crazy distraction, Clea and Martin slip inside, running up the stairs until they find the floor that Clea recognizes.  Her mother’s there, but she still doesn’t recognize Clea. At Martin’s urging, Clea tries to jog her mother’s memory about their life together, speaking about the hand-print her mother drew just there on the wall, so that on the nights she wasn’t home, Clea could touch it and feel like they were holding hands. Clea would press her hand there every night, wanting so badly for her mother to come home (that’s it, the wide-eyed head-lean back is not working to stop the crying anymore).

I don't think I can take any more Clea-related heartache right now, so. Please tell me when Clea was a little girl this was an actual apartment and not a hovel where squatters lived. D: Clea and her mom! D:

Thankfully Clea’s mother connects with this, and is able to tell Martin the direction to the park where she lost the little boy she kidnapped.

After Martin’s run off, Clea manages to get her mom out of the building, to the shock of the workers who thought no one was inside. They’re in the process of getting Will under control, and Clea tells Will that he saved her mother’s life. He’s taken aback and so pleased by this: he’s fulfilled his goal to change something that day. He collapses and dies at last from the injuries sustained during the plane crash; Clea sees the “975” of the flight number on his ticket stub in his pocket.

Martin searches the park, calling out for the little boy, when he hears a squeaking sound. It’s the swing on a swing set, gently swaying as if someone just left it. It’s exactly like the scene from his dreams. He hears a tiny coughing, and of course there’s the missing boy, Andy. Martin says, “I’m not going to hurt you, sweetheart,” and though obviously not all men approaching children in parks mean this, Kiefer Sutherland is just marvelous working with kids throughout this series so far.  *pauses*  I know it’s weird to remark on it during the Lost Little Boy and The Stranger Man scene, but there we are. I also love how the series deals with affectionate moments with little boys, not just calling them champ or sport, but sweetheart and similar fond names; it’s very sweet and engaging, and goes a long way for establishing the strong bond between Martin and Jake that we can’t get from Jake’s flat affect.

The little boy nods and jumps into his arms, similar to the way Jake had leaped into Martin’s embrace in his dream. And it’s like Jake is jumping into his father’s arms, through Andy’s trust of Martin. And Martin feels this beautiful and raw connection, with the dream-like quality of the back-and-forth of the flashback and the present. And I’m almost too busy crying to notice that Martin doesn’t call the police like you probably should in such a scenario (I know, total killjoy here), running off to return the child himself to his dad, much like he’d earlier returned the lost luggage.

Um. I know Martin’s been trying to keep all this people-saving on the down-low. Because he and Jake are supposed to be like the Invisible Knight and the Silent King, helping people who didn’t even know they were there, remember? But wouldn’t you imagine that some news crews would catch all this rescuing at some juncture, particularly with this situation of a missing little white boy and grieving middle class parents who are sounding all the media alerts they can? Maybe at some point Martin will have to deal with the publicity exposing his saving-people thing as a result of a rescue. *pokes Touch*

When Lanny hears about how the plane she was supposed to be on crashed, she has a change of heart from putting her career first and not wanting to have children. She’ll carry the baby, she tells her gobsmacked but thankful partner Serena. They immediately get out the VIP donor list and by matching up Chinese year symbols, find a donor who will be a good match. It’s Will, who just died, but apparently at some point made a trip to deposit his genius IQ sperm. He’s fulfilled his IOU to Lanny now. And that baby is going to solve so many complicated crossword puzzles.

Though it’s hard to say what will happen in the future, Clea’s mom has agreed to be hospitalized and get help for now. Martin tells Clea about the dream he’s had for nine years, of that intense connection and joyous hug with Jake. They’re really just two lonely lost souls, Clea and Martin. But weirdly I don’t want romance between them—though I do want them to be a family with Clea the organized sensible one who still has a poetic soul underneath all her rationality, and Martin running all around and solving crimes but yearning for Clea to ground him, and Jake providing the Numbers of Their Lives.

When they head up to Jake’s room at the Evil State Facility to put Jake to bed, they find that Jake’s added a “6” to the “975” numbers in his notebook.  Jake refuses to let go of his notebook at bedtime, unusual for him. Clea and Martin follow people running by the room, discovering a police scene in the garage. Looking on, Martin spots Arthur Teller, collapsed on his steering wheel and obviously dead.

Arthur! Dead! No, seriously, no!!! *cries forever* It’s not just losing a great actor from the series, and missing a key character who translated bits of information into a story, but good gravy, they barely worked with the immense potential of Danny Glover in this role.

And you know, when Jake didn’t want to give up his notebook? He’s clearly mourning in his own silent mystical way for Arthur Teller, whose death he’s somehow sensed (because all the pain in the universe ever = inside Jake’s head).  But this one’s pretty close to home; the two of them could have connected so much, but now that possibility’s finished. Break my heart yet again, why don’t you, Touch!