“There’s an ancient Chinese myth about the Red Thread of Fate. It says that the gods have tied a red thread around every one of our ankles and attached it to all the people whose lives we’re destined to touch. This thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”
Touch. This is a show of epic proportions and everyone should watch it.
So I was slow to watch this show, I’ll admit, for two reasons. The first being I don’t own a TV (I eventually did download it…and in an unusually intelligent move by FOX they are still allowing anyone to download it for free on iTunes). The second being as interesting as the show sounded, it had a hint of Kiefer Sutherland racing against a clock to stop something terrible from happening…and somehow that sounded a little too familiar.
Touch is the story of Martin Bohm (Sutherland) a very successful journalist who is now working odd jobs to help pay for the care of his autistic son. This is difficult as his wife was in Twin Towers on 9/11 and his autistic son has a really bad habit of escaping his special needs school and climbing cell phone towers. But what begins to make his life infinitely more complicated is that there appears to be a method to the random behavior of his son. His son somehow sees how even the slightest variable affects the entire world. And in the first episode, climbing the cell tower at a certain time, setting a few cell phones to ring at certain time and leaving a few numbers to be found he engineers a way for a bus of school children to be saved, stop a terrorist bombing, launch a woman’s singing career, and save a couple’s relationship. Oh, and convince his father that he can see the larger pattern. The episode ends with Martin convinced that his new purpose in life must be to follow the clues his son gives him to help make the world a better place. And if you think I’ve given spoilers, I haven’t. Because even knowing this won’t spoil the emotional force that the end of this episode has. If you have any humanity you will be crying. And it is not often that TV can make me cry…and certainly this is the first Pilot with characters I have not invested years into has made me cry. If even a tenth of the shows in this series are half as moving, this show, no matter how long it lasts will be one of the most powerful and well written shows in history.
While I don’t know if the New Age aspects are necessarily intentional this show does have three main themes that are very near and dear to New Agers.
The first is interconnectedness. New Agers believe that everything in the world, that everything, even small things, even mere thoughts, can ripple through the universe, compounding with one another, reinforcing one another until they reach a critical mass of change in the course of a life, a town, a nation…or the whole world. We believe that every act can change the world for the better, and thus every act becomes infinitely important. This show reveals how even small things can compound and make massive differences. Only one or two events were necessary to convince Martin Bohm of the power of small events to change the world for the better, and what makes this show demonstrate a touch of genius I can only hope continues through the other episodes is that he doesn’t even have a clue how far his and his son’s actions spread. The show begins and ends with the story of the Chinese myth of the red thread of fate….I have a feeling that this all encompassing thread will be discussed in even more detail in future episodes. We leave traces on the world that we never know about, and this show seems to understand this.
The second New Age point that this show seems to embrace is the idea of purpose, that each of our lives has a purpose and a meaning. We may or may not live up to that purpose, but we have one. And it is only by embracing it that we will find true happiness. Through embracing his purpose, to help his son, Martin Bohm finally finds a sliver of peace and happiness in his life. I can only hope that this continues to grow.
And finally the last New Age concept is love. Now certainly New Agers do not hold a monopoly on this concept, but we do embrace it whole heartedly. Parents. Children. Spouses. Friends. Even the concern for strangers. All are embraced in this first episode in truly moving ways and I think that speaks very well for where this show is headed.
My one worry about this show is how long it can last. Inevitably there can be no lasting relationship between father and son, for to end his autism is to ruin the premise and without making it a character drama it becomes boring and episodic. But even if it only lasts for a season or two, it will be well worth it.
And since FOX is still giving the Pilot away for free on iTunes and a few other places I would say you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.
“Today we’ll send over 300 billion e-mails and 19 billion text messages. Yet we’ll still feel alone… The average person will say 2,250 words to 7.4 other individuals. Will these words be used to hurt or to heal? There’s an ancient Chinese myth about the Red Thread of Fate…”