California, here we come!
The one constant as time passes, Jake tells us in the opening voice over, is change. What the? Try to wrap your mind around that conundrum, folks! People don’t like change, Jake muses, so they cling to the illusion of stasis. We see poor Martin, who to be fair has never really gotten any illusion of stasis to cling to, crying over a photograph of him and Jake. When he gets a phone call, he rushes around, packing frenetically, and spills other photos of Jake as a baby and toddler on the floor (and my goodness, David Mazouz has been absolutely darling every second of his young life—every millisecond and microsecond, even).
Jake prepares to unleash his Crystal of Doom!
Now, where did that rubber ducky you used to take baths with get to? Chances are it’s probably in the North Pacific Gyre! Okay, not really, but there are rubber ducks in that Gyre, apparently, caught there since 1992 when a shipload of them from China spilled into the Pacific Ocean. Jake tells us items in a gyre typically get stuck there, “doomed to travel the same path.” But chance encounters (you know, a whale with a vendetta against rubber ducks, the bastard, or a storm disrupting the currents while those poor rubber ducks cling to each other, terrified out of their little rubber minds) can change things: “which means it’s possible to break free…it’s possible to find the way to shore.”
Abigail gives Jake a pinwheel. Notice it is blue! And blue is not red. NOT RED, THERE IS EVIL AFOOOOOTTTT!
Jake wants us to know that symmetry is the language of the universe, and geometrical shapes make up its characters. “And when you speak the language, follow the logic you can predict the next step. You just have to trust in where the paths meet.” M.C. Escher fans, rejoice! You know where Jake’s coming from, am I right? Or if you’re a fan of honeycombs (which are big—yeah, yeah, yeah! they’re not small—no, no, no!), go ahead and rejoice also, for not only is honey delicious, it comes from a naturally tesselated (tiled pattern repeating particular shapes) structure.
But you know, symmetry isn’t the most exciting thing. If all the sides and patterns are perfectly proportioned and matching, there’s less complexity to experience or describe. Symmetry can be beautiful, and it can move us greatly. But when we strive to make things symmetrical, we sacrifice detail and surprise. And really, in that way this episode showcases Touch‘s strengths and weaknesses pretty damn well.
Jake, want to use your words? No, Jake wants to use his NUMBERS, okay, Martin?
Jake opens by complaining to us he’s never been so bored in all his life, and that all the other kids got that new Xbox game from their parents, and why can’t we just be cool like Sam’s dad? No, no, I’m just joshing you—Jake taps into another mystical universal truism by intoning the principle that all musical elements can be translated by mathematical ratios; if all ratios could translate into sound, he posits, we’d hear the music of the spheres. Yeah. This kid’s always on.
Let's see, Jake's got red string, a red kite, a red t-shirt, a red notebook. Do you think red is significant on Touch? SIGNS POINT TO YES!
Jake tells us the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. As I reel in shock from this (why did no one TELL ME?), he clarifies if the path gets blocked and direct connection becomes impossible, the universe will find another way. Meanwhile, we see our Characters Whose Lives Will Be Forever Changed by Numbers and Patterns o’ the week: a cabbie, a French guy leaving his partner by slipping a note under a door, a woman breaking a mirror, and Jake creating a cat’s cradle of pattern-ly significance with a red string.
You know what's good about numbers? Sure, mystical magical global connections, right, of course, that's super important—but also, WINNING AT POKER!
Jake’s latest voice-over covers how during a cataclysmic global event, computer-generated random number sequences stop being random. “As our collective consciousness synchronizes, so do the numbers.” Hmm. Listen, I could nod sagely here, with my bubble pipe poised in an erudite gesture acknowledging the truthiness of this. Or I could be honest with you and voice my real reaction to this alleged knowledge Jake’s dropping on us: the hell?
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 bravely protects a man who murdered an entire village -- don't worry, it doesn't completely make sense in the episode either..
Amid opening shots of our characters of the week lighting candles, creeping on girls on subways, texting friends about running away from forced marriages, and stealing and emotionally returning a German guy’s wallet (wouldn’t it be fun if those acts were all done by the same character?), Jake’s voiceover gives us a stat on the number of babies born daily. And they might think they’re individuals (those smug babies), but really they’re composed of internal networks — just like how all people seem unique but are all connected to one another.
Let's go fly a kite! Jake leads Martin on a merry goose chase over his mom's grave.
Jake’s voice-over tells us humans are hard-wired with impulses to share our ideas and form communities, because we’re hoping for answers and connections. “If you haven’t received a message, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been sent,” Jake intones, advising us to listen harder. I’m going to use this piece of wisdom as an excuse to crash so many fun parties. Hey, just because I never got an invite doesn’t mean the hosts didn’t mystically send the message in some symbolic and possibly number-signified way!
“If a species wants to survive, it has to prove it deserves to,” Jake tells us in voice-over as Touch opens. Okay, yes, this does work for species that are not hunted to their extinction, I suppose. Like Fire Ants, who apparently lobby for survival by clinging together, forming a raft impervious to water for months at a time. Admirable! Except:
Oh my god, SO MANY FIRE ANTS! D:
If you guessed that we’re headed into metaphorical territory unfolding how human cooperation is essential in the face of threats, you’re right! “What if you were the one who knew what needed to be done, but you had no words?” Jake asks. “How do you make others understand? How do you call for help?” Jake’s dilemma is very moving, and reminds us there are many people who are trapped because their neurological makeup or physical impairments prevent them from communicating in standard ways. The show’s solution is also moving—that is, if you want to reach people all over the world this time, you will need to MOVE IT, MOVE IT, at the World Championship Dance Battle! Continue reading