The Thing I Like About …

Touch: the thing that most likely was the reason the show got cancelled.

Touch deals with a boy and his father; the father is ordinary, and the boy is extraordinary. The boy can see the numerical underpinnings of the world, and he uses that ability to help others. The father loves his son, and uses that love to help him. And the glimpses we the audience get to see of the interconnectedness of human life are creative, inspiring and heartwarming.

But Season Two puts the boy and his father on a path of escape – running from some shadowy powers-that-be who know what the boy can do and either fear it or want to control it or both. We spend this season watching them stay less than a step ahead of their pursuers, and we don’t get to see as much of the magic interconnectedness of human life. Things just aren’t as creative, inspiring or heartwarming, and the tension of constantly hiding and fleeing becomes the only thing we experience.

The ending, though, was more than hopeful. It clearly (to my eyes, anyway) was going to allow the boy to use his ability even more than before, and to help others again, and to inspire again. Unfortunately the powers-that-be in the real world didn’t see it that way, and they decided to cancel the show.

And that, to me, is the real darkness that the boy (and his father) were combatting the whole time: the tendency of human beings to be afraid of the magic of our lives, to try to control and micromanage that magic for short-sighted reasons, and, sadly, to give up looking for magic just when it becomes visible – like lying down and freezing to death twenty yards from the farmhouse we glimpsed through the trees.

The first and most consistent thing the boy tries to impress upon his father is that the magic of the universe cannot be controlled or micro-managed; it blossoms as it wishes to, and does what it’s meant to do, regardless of any external attempts to change it or anyone’s opinions about it. The boy is never afraid of the people who follow and hunt them, because he has total faith and trust in the magic that he sees all around him. Season Two warned us what those of us who can’t see the grand pattern might do unless we’re careful: we’ll destroy rather than create, hurt rather than heal, fear rather than live. Season Two was the reason why Season One was so amazing – because in our real world full of fear and doubt and struggle, the challenge isn’t to find magic or harness it or understand it. The challenge is to leave it the hell alone – to trust, to allow, to believe, to relax, to know.

I’m disappointed that there was no Season Three, but if the purpose of the show was to demonstrate what’s possible – both good and bad – then I say message received. I’ll never be the one who sees the grand pattern – sometimes I can’t quite see myself getting through the next two hours – but I believe in the magical interconnectedness of humanity. I believe in magic, the real kind.

And if we can envision it while watching a television show, imagine what we can witness if we bring that vision outside with us. Imagine what the world will show us then.

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