Touch 2.09 "Clockwork" TV REVIEW
Writer: Carol Barbee
Director: Nelson McCormick
THE ONE WHERE Martin tries to clear the name of a man on death row who is one of the 36. He can't save him, but he does reconcile him with his daughter and also uncovers a cool cypher device to help track down the other gifted people.
VERDICT This episode really suffers in comparison to last week's barnstormer. It's beautifully acted by the guest cast and as solidly directed as ever, but it's so unashamedly slight after the sight of Lucy being so heartlessly killed that you find your attention wandering. It's hard to care about some guy on death row that we've only just met; he doesn't even talk, so how can we empathise with him? Thus, the meat'n'potatoes stuff falls on the shoulders of guest star Annie Wersching, who plays his estranged daughter... yet even while she's weeping and talking of their lost life together, all you can think is, “Yes, this is all well and good, but when will Martin hear about Lucy? Where is Amelia?” Thankfully we get to find out at the end of the episode, but it makes poor “Clockwork” feel like filler.
It's also possibly the most unimaginative episode this series has made to date, with the only twist you don't see coming the fact that the convict is executed after all. But even that is robbed of its impact because we don't actually see it; again, it's down to Wersching to sell it to us by crying as she says goodbye to her dad. It's a good thing she's good at crying...
On the plus side, it's lovely to see Avram in California, with Bodhi Elfman bringing so much charm to the part that it's a joy to watch him interacting with Jake. The cynic in me knows he's there just to act as a babysitter so Martin can take on the case of the week – hell, that's all Clea and Lucy were there for, most of the time – but babysitters can still be cool.
WHO'S COUNTING? What with Philip's death in this episode plus the guys Ortiz has been killing, those 36 gifted people are dwindling by the second. Do more get “activated” as their numbers go down? Or is Ortiz's plan to rid the world of them really as simple as killing them off, one by one? Wouldn't the universe kick-start some more to replace them? Perhaps the show will tell us one day...
NUMBERS GAME Number 948 is the address of the antiques shop where Philip Green was arrested many years beforehand. For once, the numbers seem completely superfluous because Jack already had his name and a photo.
HIS NAME'S BAUER... JACK BAUER Fans of 24 will be pleased to see Annie Wersching in this episode, as she played Renee Walker alongside Sutherland in the show's seventh and eighth seasons.
PUPPY EYES OF THE WEEK Last week we instituted this this award after seeing Lukas Haas looking particularly puppy-ish. This week Sutherland steals his crown, as Martin gives what must be the world's saddest puppy look in the jail. Makes you want to hug him...
WHAT A CAD! Jake's schoolfriend Soleil (not to mention his lessons) appear to have been dumped like a ton of bricks. Use her to get to your kidnapped mind-twin, ignore her afterwards... harumph.
ENIGMA VARIATIONS The cypher device is beautifully designed and rather pretty, especially with all the weird etchings. Here's an example of one in the real world .
MMM, CHEWY... Keeping with this season's theme of chewing on some interesting moral quandaries (mostly delivered via Ortiz), there's a fascinating one in this episode. A prison guard is hired to deliver the fatal injection to kill a condemned prisoner. He sees it as a good thing because it enables him to exorcise the pain of a murder that happened in his family many years beforehand. Meanwhile, his wife is horrified and says she'll never look at him the same way again. Murder is murder, after all. In the end the guy backs out, but it does make you wonder at the morality of innocent people being turned into murderers to remove the world of murderers...
Martin: “Mr Green, are you one of the 36?”
Touch season 2 starts on 2 April on Sky1