TOUCH: Gyre Season 1 Finale — REVIEW

touch-finale-gyre-review

Did the Touch Season 1 finale make the right connections, or did it standalone as an underwhelming closer?

THE GOOD

  • While there was more standalone focus than I would have liked, it was nevertheless pleasing to see the episode deliver central story progress, with Jake and Martin escaping the clutches of the Aster Corporation and connecting several dots along the way.
  • The introduction of Amelia’s mother, portrayed by Maria Bello, was a significant development. Despite the standalone story shenanigans, her arrival represents an important touchstone in the story, while Bello brought a fresh energy to proceedings.
  • While it was no Cortexiphan video ala Fringe, the ‘Amelia trials’ were interesting. It’s always pleasing to see visual storytelling incorporated where needed — I felt this was an effective way of allowing the audience to connect with Amelia while deepening the conspiracy.
  • The ending was a bit soft, but Jake reaching out to touch his father’s hand and ever-so slightly smiling just about made it work on a certain level.
  • The story is set up for Season 2, with Martin and Jake on the run and Lucy in the fold. I’m not super excited and I don’t necessarily trust the show to make the right choices, but it has something to build on.
THE BAD

  • The standalone ‘connections’ felt super contrived and unimportant. I can live with it during early-midseason world-building, but cramming 4 or so tenuous storylines into the finale felt like a waste of valuable time, however heartfelt some of it was. Yes, much of it was woven around Lucy, which is better than the alternative, but it took away more from her character and story than it gave, and that’s the bottom line.
  • Clea’s decision to go against Martin (off-screen, I might add) only to then help Jake escape (off screen, I might add) felt unconvincing. I didn’t buy that, and neither did the show, apparently, which is why it was swiftly undone minutes later. Conflict is good in storytelling, faux conflict not so much.
  • I like that the show has an extra layer of conspiracy, but the faceless Aster Corp. are really uninspiring ‘antagonists’.
  • The callbacks to previous episodes, while appreciated, were largely underwhelming and just didn’t carry the sort of energy or complexity that I sense the show was going for. Touch doesn’t spend enough time welding these elements to the main story for them to matter. Why should I care when the Invisible Wince returns to contrive another day? And why is he still the Invisible Prince? The story doesn’t seem to care about any of these people other than using them as arbitrary points on the map — neither do I.
  • I called it halfway through: the episode would end with everyone singing. I was disappointed to be right.
MEANINGFUL DEVELOPMENTS

  • Aster have been monitoring Jake (and others like him) since he was born.
  • Amelia is seemingly alive, her death was faked. Teller’s eyes did not deceive him, she is/was in Room 6, and it seems like Teller was taken out because he was getting too close (as opposed to dying of ‘natural’ circumstances).
  • Amelia spoke for the first time during one of Teller’s recordings. She spoke very well too, which implies that perhaps one day Jake will speak, but only when he deems it necessary.
  • Lucy is Amelia’s mom. She hung onto the belief that her daughter was still alive and has been following her ‘roadmap’ in the hope of being reunited with her.
  • Martin, Jake and Lucy have made the connection that Jake (and Amelia) have seemingly been working towards for much of the first chapter.
OVERARCHING MYSTERIES

  • Who is pulling the strings at Aster Corp., and what are Sherri’s true motivations? Is she as nasty as she seems, or is there an element of altruism to her?
  • Can Abigail be trusted?
  • How far is Jake making necessary connections and how far is he changing fate to his whims? How much wiggle-room is there, basically?
  • Are the numbers pre-determined, or created through choice? Both?
  • What is Jake’s ultimate purpose?
  • Who are the other 34 “righteous ones”? Where are they? Are they all as aware/powerful as Jake and Amelia?
  • Will Jake ever speak like Amelia?
  • What is Aster’s ultimate purpose for Amelia and Jake?
TOUCHING BASE

One of my main problems with Touch is that there are few stakes, beyond Martin panicking when he should know better to just let Jake do his thing and follow the map. The standalone stories are, of course, the worst culprits — everything always works out just fine. I know that’s part of the show’s conceit, and maybe it’s just too syrupy for my taste, but I find it a difficult swallow.

That said, with a bit of tweaking and more focus on the central story and characters, Touch could improve significantly. Jake’s purpose within the bigger picture still holds interest, as does the Amelia element. Speaking of which, I’m glad Maria Bello is on for Season 2.

My concern going into next season is that the status quo will return very quickly and we’ll be back to Martin rasping at Jake’s ‘inexplicable’ acts as the standalone episodes pile up. Hopefully this wont happen.

All in all, not a bad finale, but there was a lot of fluff.

7.5/10 Seriable Stars

Comments

  1. starg8fans says

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Rocco. I had high hopes for this show, the premise sounded really intriguing, and the question what Aster wants with Amelia and Jake makes for a nice overachieving mystery. But the stories-of-the-week are way too sappy for my taste – that blogging girl trying to connect the Italian guy with his lost love just about had me gagging – and the way the same number keeps popping up all over the place is just downright unbelievable. The purpose of those Japanese birds of paradise totally escapes me as well. Unless it’s to tell us where we are…

    I’m not ready to give up on the show just yet, and I will definitely check out S2. Hopefully it will manage to find its (serial) feet. I liked the way the fireman kept cropping up, there should be more of that. And Kiefer Sutherland deserves the chance to show he’s capable of a lot more than just running around in total confusion.

    Like: Thumb up 1

    • Avatar of Roco says

      “But the stories-of-the-week are way too sappy for my taste – that blogging girl trying to connect the Italian guy with his lost love just about had me gagging”

      I really struggled with that one too.

      Like: Thumb up 0

  2. says

    I think what clicked for me during the finale was that as weird and implausible as the plotlines are, the real strength in Touch is in the emotional message that it gives. Kring touched on this type of interconnectedness with Heroes, but he’s certainly refined his message on Touch, and that’s what I find satisfying about the series, despite the kookiness!

    I’ve got a piece about the finale on my site now – would love to hear your thoughts on it :)

    Like: Thumb up 1

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