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Are you willing to put on your suspenders of disbelief in order to feel good? Do you miss 24 so much you’d joyfully watch Kiefer Sutherland host an infomercial about countertop cooking systems? Get mushy watching Toy Story 3 or even a really good greeting card commercial? Do you engage in late night, wine-soaked conversations regarding fate vs. destiny? Or are you just longing for some scripted dramatic TV that does not include fairy tales or standard olice procedures? If you answered “yes” or “maybe” or “none of your f***ing business, but I’ll keep reading” to any of those questions…
But let’s do this in a not-so-germy and/or sexual kind of way, shall we?
“The ratio is always the same: 1 to 1.618 over and over and over again. Patterns are hidden in plain sight. You just have to know where to look. Things most people see as chaos actually follow several laws of behavior. Galaxies. Planets. Seashells. The patterns never lie. There are only some of us who can see how the pieces fit together. Seven billion 80 million 360,000 of us live on this tiny planet. This is the story of some of those people. There’s any ancient Chinese myth about the red thread of faith. It says that the gods have had a red thread around every one of our ankles and attached it to all the people whose lives we are destined to touch. This thread may stretch or tangle but it will never break. It’s all been predetermined by mathematical probability and it’s my job to keep track of those numbers. To make the connection for those who need to find each other. The ones whose lives need to touch. I was born four thousand one hundred and sixty-one days ago on October 26th, 2000. I’ve been alive for eleven years, four
months, 21 days and fourteen hours and in all that time, I’ve never said a single word.” Jake—Touch, pilot episode.
And I haven’t shut the hell up.
I want to kick this off by pointing out I am blatantly stealing from Saint Clare of Assisi’s excellent Walking Dead recaps in terms of format. This show jumps all over the place. So—thanks, SCOA! And now…let’s get touched!
After Jake finishes the opening monologue and we’ve seen shots of the characters who are featured in this pilot episode, we see a guy drop a cell phone in the airport. The cell is decorated with pink teddy bears.
Different random airport
Kiefer Sutherland’s character (Martin) is an employee of the airport and we see him at the Lost and Found counter where his work buddy hands him a whole box of cell phones. He tells Martin most of them are dead and what in the world does he want with all those phones? Martin tells him his son likes to take them apart. As he is walking away, the teddy bear phone starts to ring and he answers it. On the other end is some guy with a British accent in a crowded restaurant and he immediately starts giving Martin a hard time about stealing his phone. Guy is serious about his teddy bears. Martin argues he did nothing illegal and the phone was in the Lost and Found at JFK where he works. British guy tells him he lost his phone at Heathrow two days ago and people have been skipping it around the globe. Question: Do people really do this? And: That is one serious battery. It must not be an iPhone. Martin asks the obvious question, “Can’t you get a new phone?” and the British guy tells him it is not the phone he is interested in, but a photo stored inside of it. It is a photo of his daughter and her birthday is tomorrow. I think we know immediately why he can’t just take another picture of his daughter, am I right? Brit guy is in Mumbai and he just wants it back. Martin tells him no problem and tells him he’ll get his address. But as he starts fumbling for a pen, his own cell phone rings. He sets the teddy bear phone down on the baggage carousel (bye-bye teddy bear phone!) and answers his cell. He listens for a few seconds and then freaks out. He pays good money to his son’s school to protect him and this happens again? He runs out the airport, the teddy bear phone completely forgotten. For now.
His son, Jake, who is autistic and a hell of a good climber is on top of a cell phone tower, calmly writing in a notebook as police and fire trucks swarm the base of the tower. Martin shows up and a policeman immediately tells him this is the 3rd time this month.
Officer Friendly is impressed with neither Jake’s climbing abilities or Martin’s fish impression
Martin ignores him and is yelling at the policeman/fireman climbing up the tower that he cannot touch the boy. “Don’t touch him!” Another officer chastises Martin and tells him he is not allowed to go up the tower and Martin does not disagree, as he is afraid of heights. He has a better idea. He starts yelling up to Jake he has a present for him and shows him the box of cell phones he got from the airport. That does the trick and Jake starts climbing down the tower. A utility worker tells Martin he’s lucky it wasn’t raining as Jake could have been lit up like a torch. He then asks Martin if 3:18 means anything to him.
No, no…3:18. And quit blocking people behind you, ya freak!
Martin doesn’t know anything significant about those numbers even though that is the exact time Jake tripped the alarm all three times he climbed the tower. As Jake walks up and takes the box of cell phones, without a word to anyone, another officer tells him this time they’ll have to report it to child services. Martin says he understands and he’s sorry for their trouble.
Jake is in the back seat checking out his cell phone bounty, while Martin sadly watches a school bus filled with laughing and screaming children. When he looks in the back seat again, Jake is gone. Jake is outside, looking at the back of the bus, writing furiously in his notebook. Martin approaches and tells him what he needs a nice ORANGE SODA. (yeah, there’s a reason I yelled that at you). Naturally, Jake ignores him and walks away. Frustrated, Martin looks back at the bus and notices it is bus No. 318. Oooohhhhh….chills. They enter the store and Martin buys him an orange “Citrus” soda. There is a man in line buying a lottery ticket and Martin’s attention is drawn to the TV in the corner of the store, which is featuring a story about the children of 9/11. As the man is reciting his lottery numbers (87 1 9 20 31 11), Jake’s full attention is on him. While the man is taking out his money to pay for the Lotto, Jake suddenly grabs the ticket and runs out of the store. The man chases Jake out of the store who jumps in the car and locks the door behind him. As Martin is apologizing profusely to the man who is pounding on the car door, Jake is quickly writing the numbers in his notebook. He finishes, opens the window and hands the ticket to the pissed-off customer. The man angrily tells Martin he should keep that kid in a cage which upsets Martin, who puts a hand on the guy’s shoulder. His reward for being a protective Dad? A quick punch in the gut. And because this is not 24, the guy gets away without being gutted. Jake reacts to none of this. To be fair it may not be his autism. Maybe Martin gets his ass kicked every time he goes to the gas station.
“If I had a cell phone for every time that guy got beat up…”
We see a girl singing through the viewfinder of a camera phone. It is the teddy bear phone and guess what? Battery is full! The girl on stage is singing Bob Marley’s “Everything’s Going To Be Alright” and she sings okay. In a draft beer special karaoke kind of way. Not that I’m one to judge. At least on the singing portion. Judging draft beer specials—oh, hell yeah. A guy is recording her performance on the phone and after she is finished he tells her to “Play it forward and start your own fan clubs here.” He tells the girl she killed it (um, okay) as she grabs a CITRUS ORANGE SODA and looks at him in disbelief. The girl, Kayla, walks outside and we see she was performing in a hotel bar. He follows her out there and tells her half the company was there because of her. Wow—not much going on in Dublin or just incredibly close co-workers? Kayla tells him she’ll never really get to be the superstar he thinks she’ll be but he tells her it is her destiny. He pulls out the teddy bear phone and tells her that phone is the key. One of the salesmen for their company just got back from NY and the phone was stuck in his bag. Yay, airport security! My sister could tell you a story about a randomly placed sausage put unknowingly in her friend’s luggage. Seriously. The somewhat pathetic star struck co-worker tells Kayla there are tons of videos and pictures on the phone from around the world. Because although she is a mediocre singer but not a complete moron, she repeats back to him how ludicrous his idea really is. He tells her he is going to pass the phone off to someone else and when people find the video of her singing, she’ll become a megastar. Yep. Just like that. As she leaves, a guest leaving the hotel rolls his suitcase out to a taxi, conveniently calling out to the driver, “Airport, please. Air Japan.” Male co-worker runs to the bag and slides the phone inside, just before the driver puts it in the trunk. So for those keeping score at home, teddy bear phone: Heathrow, New York, Dublin and now off to Japan. And a male co-worker is just a little too obsessed with the young girl’s singing career, which puts him in squarely on the corner of creepy and possibly tone-deaf.
If one of my co-workers cared this much, I’d file for a restraining order.
We get a close up of the lottery ticket Jake temporarily stole and copied the numbers from at the gas station. Martin’s stomach puncher is taping it to his bedroom wall next to thousands of other lottery tickets—all with the same numbers.
With the right throw pillows, this could work.
NYC (Martin’s home)
Martin is face down on his desk, asleep in front of his laptop which shows he was researching custody rights, when his computer alarm goes off at 3:18AM. Bleary-eyed, he goes into Jake’s room. Jake is wide awake and has formed a circle with the airport cell phones around his notepad. Martin tells him it is time to go to bed and as he tucks him in, Martin tells the boy this time it is serious. The police filed another report today and they were already on thin ice. Martin accidentally slams his hand in a drawer and yells out. Jake lies in bed, eyes wide open and with no reaction again to his Dad’s pain. Martin sits down in obvious frustration as he looks at his silent son. He tells Jake his doctor said Jake is going to be bigger than him soon and asks him how the hell is that supposed to work? No response. Martin starts to leave the room when all the phones on the floor start chirping and ringing. All of the displays have the exact same numbers on it, which of course, are the lottery numbers Jake wrote down on his notepad. Martin: “All the same numbers. Jake, how did you do that?” Jake, unblinking and silent, looks pleased. Cue: chills.
So, who can hear me now, bitches?
A young teen-ager is watching Chris Rock doing a stand-up routine on his TV, imitating his movements and style. His Mom walks in the room and berates him for looking like an idiot. The boy tells her he is going to be like Chris Rock and make lots of money in comedy clubs. (HAHA—remember those suspenders we’re wearing, right?) His Mom dryly responds, “Because living in Baghdad is a laugh a minute.” Is it??? How did I not know that??? Oh, sarcasm: Way to put the wacky in Iraqi. Her son tells her they won’t need to sell bread anymore to make money. Mom starts crying and tells him that is not an issue anymore. Their oven is gone (broken? Repo’d?), so no more bread, no more money and no more house. The son looks at her seriously and tells her he will take care of it.
NYC (Martin’s home)
Knock knock. Who’s there? Clea Hopkins, from Child and Family Services. DOOR SLAM. Oh, I love knock-knock jokes. Martin takes a deep breath, unlatches the chain and opens the door wide. She enters the room, handing him his newspaper. He offers her something to drink, while she looks around the loft apartment/condo with total surprise on her face. She asks him if he is still working as a door man. Martin replies he’s been a taxi driver, a construction worker and a baggage handler since then.
Clea tells him he knows why she’s here and he responds that he can explain about the cell tower. Really? Because I would like to hear that actually. Clea tells him the cell tower incident is the third one in three weeks and Martin lightly responds to look on the bright side—at least Jake is consistent. Humorless Clea keeps going. Jake’s been in five schools in seven years. No mother in the home. Multiple jobs. She tells him it doesn’t look promising, but Martin argues they’ve always gotten through challenging times. Clea tells him that unfortunately, it comes down to resources and commitment. Well, now you’ve done it, CLEA. Martin reacts angrily, “You do NOT get to talk to be about commitment.” Clea exposits for us that ten years ago, Martin was a highly paid reporter (THIS IS FICTION, PEOPLE) at the Herald. Now he’s working 50 hours a week and can’t provide…She gets interrupted again by Martin, who says he’s provided for the past ten years. The Clair Bitch Project: “With less and less success…” And that shuts him up. She tells him it will get tougher and tougher and she is there to offer solutions. This gets a sardonic chuckle out of Martin, who tells her, “I’m all ears.”
And red hair. But mostly all ears.
Clea starts questioning the loft (apartment? Condo??) and Martin tells her it was his wife’s place. She was a stock broker who worked in the North Tower. He trails off and says all that should be in her file, which is not exactly incredibly loud, but it is incredibly close. As she starts in on how the loft is worth a lot of money, he tells her everything his wife had is in trust under Jake’s name. He didn’t want her family to think he was after her money. That shuts Clea up momentarily and she asks if she can just take a few minutes to meet Jake. Martin tells her to knock her socks off—he’s right behind her. Startled, Clea looks behind her and sees Jake playing on the floor. Martin chuckles at her like she’s a blind moron. Clea approaches Martin and says, “Well, aren’t you a quiet one?” She did read the file, right? She holds out her hand to shake with Jake and Martin tells her he wouldn’t do that if he were her. Jake doesn’t let anyone (not even him) have physical contact. Martin looks very sad saying this and you know what? That would be horribly sad for a parent. As Clea tries to engage in conversation with Jake, Martin looks at the front page of the paper is suddenly, “OMG!”
“There’s a sale at Penney’s!”
Actually, he says, “The numbers!” and hightails it out of the room. He goes into Jake’s room and plops on the floor, still covered with cell phones. He compares the front page which shows the winning lottery numbers to the numbers Jake had written down and of course, they match. Clea shows up in the doorway and he tells her about all the cell phones going off the previous night at the same time and all with the same numbers. He looks at her and asks, “How would he know?” I would add, “And why didn’t the kid let me know so I could quit the Village People?”
NYC APT (Not Martin’s)
A TV is showing a newscaster who is reading off the winning lottery numbers, with the story headline “Biggest Lottery Win in Tri-State History”. The stomach puncher from the gas station pokes his head into the room and hears the numbers. Instead of peeling himself off the ceiling like some of us would do, he calmly picks up the phone. On the other end, a woman’s voice: “Hello?” The man tells her, “It’s me.” Woman: “Randy?”. Randy (gas station guy): “I really want to come home now.” I’m guessing if he’s really the big winner, he might just be welcome.
The guy who lost the phone in the beginning and asked Martin to send it back to him, plops down in his airplane seat and makes a call. He tells the woman who answers on the other end of his conversation, “It is Simon. I’m just checking in.” He tells her he is headed to Tokyo where there is a new chain of bakeries opening up and it is a great business opportunity. We see the woman in a home, specifically in what appears to be a child’s bedroom. She does not seem very interested in Japanese bakeries, which is just crazy. Who doesn’t love bread? Oh, but this is sad because this is obviously the wife/ mother of the daughter we just know is no longer alive. Simon tells her he was going to try and come home tomorrow because it is their daughter’s birthday, She tells him she doesn’t see the point and tries to get off the phone. Then Simon asks her if the only pictures they have from last summer’s vacation were in his cell phone or does she have other ones? She tells him, “No.” The pictures of daughter Lily were only in the cell phone. Seriously, people? The Cloud—use it. Simon is seriously bummed and the woman hangs up, crying.
NYC (Martin’s place)
Clea is explaining to Martin there are strange coincidences all of the time and autistic children have often been associated with numbers. Martin argues that he knows that and for years, specialists have been trying to label Jake, but none fit. Wait. Let’s make this scene easier:
Martin: Maybe Jake doesn’t speak because he doesn’t have anything to say! Boy, I wish that worked for politicians.
Clea: It is not unusual for a guardian to feel a total lack of human connection. It is human nature to want to be part of the human league…passion burning…love so strong
Martin: Maybe that’s what Jake is trying to do…connect.
Clea: Two weeks evaluation? Yes. Institutionalized? Maybe.
Martin: Maybe he’s trying to communicate. He climbed the tower every time at 3:18. He set all my clocks to 3:18. He’s been writing 318 in his notebook. He cooks every microwave meal for 3 minutes, 18 seconds when instructions clearly say 3 minutes, then stir!
Clea: Do they drug test for baggage handling?
Martin: Hugs not drugs! I’m not making this up!
Clea: You’ve lost too much and you are being dominated by a child you can’t control.
And that never turns out well
Martin grabs the notebook and stomps off. Clea asks him if he’s really ever communicated with his son and while we’re on that subject, does Jake really even know who Martin is? Ouch, says us and Martin’s face. The truth and splinters: they both hurt. Clea tells him the boarding care facility is just 15 blocks away and it is the best in the city. After the evaluation, Martin can make his case that he can provide a safe environment. (how about a cell tower in the back yard on top of those jumpy tarp things firemen use? Oh, she wasn’t asking me.) In the end, even if Jake needs to go somewhere else, it might be better for both of them.
Martin: Are you talking about the fact I haven’t gotten laid in over a decade?
Clea: No, but now that you bring it up…well, not literally, I mean…not “up” per say…stammer, stammer, blush, blush…
The real and fake conversation ends as they both look over to Jake who is paying no attention to them and playing with his cereal.
The young Chris Rock wannabe (his name is Abdul) and his buddy (Tarik) are walking down a street talking about how much a new oven would cost. Tarik tells Abdul he only knows one way to make that kind of money and he nods his head to two really bad looking dudes sitting outside a café. Abdul says, “Yeah, I’ll volunteer to blow myself up. That’s an idea.” Tarik tells him his parents would have the cash by nightfall. Then Tarik laughs, indicating he was joking and Abdul laughs with him. Because suicide bombing jokes just never get old! Back to oven business, Tarik suggests stealing one from Hassam’s. They have an oven because they are a restaurant. Abdul: You mean the place where all the terrorists hang out for Terrorist Dollar Beer Tuesdays??? If they got caught, their heads would be cut off. Well, it would be one less mouth (literally) for Abdul’s Dad to feed. But Tarik tells him he knows where the owner hides the key and so the great oven stealing caper has been hatched. Hopefully for the two lads, Hassam’s is not Baghdad’s most popular sushi restaurant…
A young pig-tailed Japanese girl is looking through the lens of the teddy bear camera. She’s not really that young—just dressed that way for her client/john/trick, who is in the bathroom of the hotel room while she roots through his luggage. She asks him about Ireland and he comes back into the room for some small talk, but when she tells him it is time to get down to business and he needs to go get cleaned up, he leaves the room and she steals the money from his wallet and the teddy bear phone from his bag. See? Wearing pigtails makes even the nicest hookers do mean things. It is something about the brain pull.
NYC Boarding Care Facility
Martin and Jake are sitting in a hallway
Martin: It will only be for two weeks and I’ll come visit all the time and then you’ll get to come home. Jake doesn’t even look at him. Clea comes out and tells them they’re all set and there are tons of fun things for Jake to do while he’s here. Yay, Institutions! I wish I could go to one. Martin pulls her away and hands her a box of cell phones, saying these will keep Jake busy. I can predict this now: Give it three years and all Jake will want is a box of porn. Also if he gets agitated, usually an ORANGE SODA will calm him down. Also he likes popcorn, but he needs to count the kernels before he eats them. So, I guess Jake never gets popcorn at the movies. There is absolutely no 5 second rule in those places and if he’s dumping out buckets of popcorn to count them…Clea tells Martin to give it 24 hours before he comes back for his first visit. Twenty four full Jake-free hours? You know what that means. Bow-chicka-bow-wow. Or not. I have no idea why I’m fascinated by Martin’s sex/love life. Martin tells Jake he’ll see him tomorrow and looks at him sadly. He reaches out to touch Jake’s face and Jake flinches. Martin tells him he loves him and Clea takes the boy to the rec room. Martin sits on the bench, looking very helpless and alone. Awww…sorry I made the porn jokes.
Martin visits his wife’s tombstone, which of course confirms what we already knew. She died in the WTC on 9/11. Martin cries and tells her (Sarah) he’s done everything he can and still can’t connect to their son and he’s so sorry. It is so incredibly sad but then Martin looks next to the tombstone and sees a Fire Department badge with the co# 318 on it. Ooooh…double chills
Hooker/escort is watching the video of the Dublin singer (Kayla) on the teddy bear phone and seems really excited with the performance. It is also important to point out she’s wearing a big shiny “Barbie” necklace. There is a reason Barbie dolls don’t talk and this character’s giggling and annoying voice remind me how much I used to love my silent, dead-eyed Barbie. Barbie-hooker is backstage or something with another giggly friend talking about the Kayla video and Barbie-hooker seems to think Kayla is a really big star in Dublin. Barbie-Hooker is kind of a dumbass. They want to start a fan club for her in Tokyo so in order to do that, they’ll post the video from the phone (and everything else on it) on to a jumbotron, so everybody can see it! Some guy has the hots for Barbie-hooker and he’s in charge of what gets played on this jumbotron, so fan club for mediocre singer Kayla problem is solved! Friend of Barbie-hooker asks her what she’s going to do with the phone once she’s done with it. She has a client at 4pm who will be zooming off to Kuwait later, so she’ll send the phone with him.
Martin is doing what every respectable employee does while at work—surfing the internet. He typing in mutism+cell phones into a search engine. You know what came up when I did that? THIS VERY SHOW. It is fate or destiny or something…What Martin finds is The Teller Institute, where “If You Have Questions, We Have Answers”. Martin sees the location of the institute is in nearby Bronx, so road trip time!
Martin shows up at what just looks to be like someone’s home and when he rings the doorbell, a crabby old due asks him what he wants. WAIT! That’s Danny Glover! He’s not crabby. He’s just sick of everyone asking him if Mel was racist during the filming of all 800 Lethal Weapon movies! He doesn’t have those kinds of answers. Martin tells him he must be at the wrong place and starts to walk away. Danny Glover (who in the show is Arthur Teller), stops Martin in his tracks with this, “Do you think I have extraordinarily large hands?” HAHA, just kidding. No, his comment was, “Let me guess. Your kid keeps climbing cell towers.” He tells Martin to come on in the house. As Martin stands in the little living room, Arthur pulls a couple of ORANGE SODAS from the fridge and let the exposition begin…
Arthur: There is electromagnetic energy and connections and there are those among us, mainly kids, whose sole purpose is to play the role of air traffic controllers for these connections.
Martin: My son doesn’t even talk.
Arthur: Not necessary. Has he had any special math training?
Martin: No, mainly ORANGE SODA. No meth at all.
Arthur: No, MATH, you silly baggage handler/doorman/construction worker!
Martin: Oh. No.
Arthur: Then he found the Fibonacci number sequence all on his own!
Martin: Not possible! I keep locked in my nightstand!
Arthur: Sigh. This is the math sequence discovered in the 12th century developed by Fibonacci and the numbers
represent the patterns found in nature. All around us. The ratios are always the same. The curve of a wave, the segments of a pineapple…The universe is made up of these precise ratios and patterns. You and I—we don’t see them. But if we did? Not only would we probably eat more pineapple, but it would be magical. Everything is cause and effect and everything and everyone affects everything and everyone else. [sidenote: Danny Glover needs to get out more]. Imagine what Jake sees. No wonder he doesn’t talk.
Martin: My son sees all that? What a weirdo.
Arthur: Your son sees the past, the present and the future! He sees how it is all connected.
Martin: You’re telling me my son can predict the future?
Arthur: Well, it is more of a road map. And your purpose is to follow that map for him. It is your destiny. Now grab a cape and an ORANGE SODA for the road and get to it, my new ginger friend.
Boarding Care Facility
Jake is dumping a bowl of popcorn on the floor because he hates the janitor and to count the kernels before he eats them. Clea is there (because she has NOWHERE else to be) observing him. Isn’t it wonderful the state of New York can afford a child care worker to child ratio of 1:1?? As he is laying out the popcorn, she tells him she notices he is arranging them in little rows and would like to count with him. “There’s two in that one, one in that one…” I would have loved for Jake to break his silence with one sarcastic, “You know how hard it is to count to yourself when someone else is counting aloud? SHUT IT.” She starts realizing what he is arranging is this: 212 920 6922. That is Clea’s Mom’s phone number and for some reason, she hasn’t thought of that number in years. Anybody else not care yet about Clea’s sad and/or tragic backstory yet? Thought so. Just then, her phone starts to ring and it is that very number! She stares at Jake and he walks away. After about the 100th ring, she finally answers. “Mom, Mom…are you
there?” And unless her Mom speaks in that mysterious ancient language of Static, she is not there. Meanwhile, Jake is standing at the big write-on March calendar on the wall and he is circling the 18th in red. Oooh…more 3 18.
NYC (Randy, the lottery winner’s apartment)
Randy is in the bathroom shaving and talking via speaker (thanks!) to an automated Amtrak customer service line. He is booking a trip to Richmond, VA. There has to be a reason the largest lottery winner in the tri-state area is taking a train rather than first class, though…right??? This short scene ends when his tickets are confirmed with a departure from NYC and arrival in Richmond, VA.
Martin is looking through Jake’s notebook of numbers and sees within the rows and rows of 318 and “All Work And No Play Make Jake A Dull Boy”, numbers that are little, yellow, different.
Is this really the time for Sodoku, Martin??
He writes the new numbers down and very quickly realizes this is a phone number. Wow, if Da Vinci had more codes, I’d want this guy with me. He calls the number and it just rings and rings. He types it into his computer under “reverse phone number look up” and discovers it is Grand Central Station. It would have been great for someone to pick up the phone with that greeting because I use that all the time when I’m really busy at work (writing recaps) and it would have been a total shout-out to me and everyone else who does that stupid joke. Suddenly, there is knocking at his door. Is there ever knocking on a door that is not sudden? Anyway, it is Clea and she has abandoned her one charge to come to Martin’s place to freak out about the 3 18 Jake pointed out on the calendar. She tells him that is today’s date! Martin tells her he knew that Jake was trying to tell them something! Clea is in full freak out mode, “But what? Who? Where? When? Why?” Unfortunately, Martin doesn’t slap her and yell, “SNAP OUT OF IT!”, but he’s rushing around, grabbing his jacket and tells her they have 22 minutes to get to Grand Central Station! Really quick road trip—no time for jerky!
Grand Central Station
Martin and Clea go rushing into Grand Central Station and Clea asks him what are they going to do now? Clea—if you’re not helping, you’re hurting. Quit asking stupid questions. Martin tells her they need to find the phone the number is attached to, but which one is it? There must be over fifty phones in that place! He looks at the clock as it nears 3:18 and they decide to separate, because I think he wants to get the hell away from her. He starts running down the terminal/hallway area and pulls out his cell phone. He dials the number and hears the phone ring! But before he can get to the payphone, there is already a man on the phone, all hunched over and with his back to Martin. Martin runs towards him saying, “I need that phone. I’m waiting for a call. I need that phone.” Man on phone does the whole one finger “one second” thing, but Martin is out of control, so he grabs the guy and spins him around. It is Randy! Our lottery-winning, stomach-punching, train-riding, speakerphone-using buddy! Randy and Martin immediately recognize each other and Martin pays back the gas station stomach punch with one of his own. Pow! Randy fights back and before you know it, they’re greasing up, removing their earrings and the hair-pulling starts! They’re really going at it when two policemen run up and break up the fight. As they are being handcuffed, Martin is trying to explain about the phone, which makes him sound like a complete lunatic and Randy is screaming about missing his train. As the clock hits 3:19, Martin looks on in confusion and despair.
It is nighttime and Abdul and Tarik are letting themselves into the restaurant. They are both nervous, but Abdul really wants to back out, even though he is the one who desperately needs the oven. Tarik tells him they’ve come this far already and now all they have to do is measure the oven and then come back with his uncle’s truck to pick it up. They bend down to start measuring the oven and when the do, some bad guys come into the restaurant. The boys slide to the floor and hide. These are obviously the terrorists who hang out at this place. One of the bad guys is giving/selling a whole box of cell phones to the other bad guy. Hey—it is the teddy bear phone! Bad guy #1 sees the video of Kayla singing and like me, starts laughing. The other guy tells him that one was lifted off a businessman in Kuwait. For those of us on teddy bear phone watch: Heathrow (London), JFK (NYC), Dublin, Tokyo, Kuwait and now Baghdad. With the bad guys is a little girl who looks over and spots the boys hiding. She waves. Bad guy#2 does a sidelong glance to let us know he now sees the boys, but doesn’t say anything. They go to leave the restaurant and the hiding boys sigh a short-lived sigh of relief. The bad guys come back yelling at them and Tarik gets away. But the baddies slam Abdul against the wall and ask him if he knows what they do to thieves. He tells them he is not a thief; he is a comedian. He tries to tell a joke, but either terrorists aren’t known to giggle a whole lot or Abdul might want to think of Tax Preparation as a career option. He begs the baddies not to kill him and tells them he just needed the oven for the family to survive. They can’t afford a new one. The bad guys tell him there is a way for him to earn that kind of money…rut-roh…At this point, I’m getting a little pissed at Abdul Sr. Why don’t you learn a different trade that doesn’t require a big new expensive oven? Microwaves are cheap. Start selling microwave popcorn instead. Show people how to count the kernels or something. Be a Ken-hooker or SOMETHING.
Martin jolts awake to the sound of his 3:18 computer alarm. The TV is on in the other room showing the local news. Martin goes to turn off the computer and he sees the message light blinking on his answering machine. “Mr. Bohm. My name is Randall Meade. I was a fireman with ladder Co. 318. On September 11th, 2001, I was on the 87th floor of
the North Tower of the World Trade Center. I found a woman alive. Barely conscious and bleeding pretty bad. It was your wife, Sarah. I carried her down 31 flights of stairs and I just couldn’t carry her farther. I set her down and checked her pulse. Told myself she was already dead. Truth is: I don’t really know if she was. I’ve been thinking about her for ten years. I played the same lottery numbers for ten years. 9 11 2001 87th floor, 31 flights of stairs. I
was just trying to make the numbers come out right. I have some money now, because of her. I’m guessing she’d want me to give it all away. So that’s what I need to do.” Added chill factor: In the background at the end of this message, we can hear Martin’s voice saying, “Sir, I really need to use that phone.” Martin recognizes his own voice and rewinds the tape. But before he can listen to it again, he hears the newscaster mention retired fireman, Randall Meade. Apparently, Randy pulled a bunch of kids from a burning bus (yes, A no. 318 SCHOOL BUS) that had rolled into a ravine. Martin gazes at the TV in disbelief as they roll an interview with Randy, shortly after his heroic efforts. Randy tells the reporter he was on his way back to his apartment and was just in the right place at the right time. He saw the bus and started pulling kids out, one after another. Then he stops talking as something hits him. Martin is mesmerized watching. The reporter asks, “Mr. Meade”. Randy finally mutters, “If I hadn’t missed my train, I wouldn’t have been here. It is amazing how things work out…” And quadruple chills.
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Boarding Care Facility
Martin comes bursting through the door at the Boarding Care Facility, demanding to see his son. The front desk security guy tells him no and that visiting hours are from 9:00AM-5:00PM. Martin starts yelling, “Jake???!!”. Clea is of course there and she comes running out into the hall and tells Martin, “Thank God you’re here.” Martin starts excitedly telling her about the numbers and how they were right. “He predicted everything. The bus, the kids.” Clea is more concerned with her news which is well, Jake is gone. She went to check on him before she left, since she works the 3:19AM-3:17AM shift and he wasn’t there. She thought he might have tried to go back home. Martin says he’s not headed home, but he knows right where he is.
Tokyo (outside near a jumbotron)
Simon, the guy who lost the teddy bear phone is on a busy street in Tokyo talking to his cell phone company about his missing phone. And who is the friendly customer service professional on the other end??? It is Kayla, our singing Irish lass! He is telling her he’s been trying to track down his phone by calling it but a message keeps coming back as “Invalid Territory”. Which is a pretty good band name, or fingernail polish color actually. Kayle explains to Simon some locations are blocked to their customers for security reasons. So if his phone is in any of those areas, she won’t be able to help him. While this conversation is going on, we see Hooker-Barbie and friend holding up their own cell phone, taking pictures of the jumbotron. They’re all excited and jumping up and down. We see the video of Kayla singing playing on the large screen and Simon’s back is to it while he tells customer service non-singing Kayla although he has a new phone, he really needs his old phone back. He begs her to GPS it or call it because he really needs what is in that phone. Kayla tells him (not too forcefully) she is really not allowed to do that. Simon starts to tell her his story. He is thousands of miles away from home, selling restaurant supplies and although he knows it is a long shot, there are photos on that phone he desperately needs to see. He tells her there is someone in them he’s never going to see again. It is his daughter, Lily, and she died one year ago today on March 18th. Because this is
fiction and not the cell company I normally deal with, Kayla relents. She tells him she’s going to have to put him on hold. Thankfully just before I was about to lose my voice screaming at the TV, “TURN AROUND, BRIGHT EYES”, Simon finally turns toward the jumbotron just as the pictures of Lily from his phone are playing on the big screen. He stands there, shocked and then smiles. The tears come as picture after picture of his little girl are shown. He’s crying. I’m crying. And Oh, whoa, whoa, Jamie’s cryin’. Wish granted, teddy bear phone man.
Abdul, who wanted to be just like Chris Rock and try and save his family from certain poverty and possible death is now walking around the streets of Baghdad, clearly upset. We hear a cell phone ring and he looks around nervously before stepping into a side alley. When he unzips his jacket, we see that he is now wired with an explosive device hooked up to none other than the teddy bear phone. And who is calling him at this most crucial time? Kayla, of course. She starts to berate him for using a phone that doesn’t belong to him. He tells her they just put it on him. To explode the bomb. Kayla: “Did you just say…?” Abdul: “A bomb. In one minute, fifty-four seconds.” Kayla tells him this must be a joke. Hey, Abdul is finally making people laugh. But not really. He tells her he is not a bad person. Kayla is looking more serious now. She asks him where he is. Abdul tells her when she hears about this on the news, she will tell people he was not a bad person. Alarmed, Kayla tells him he can’t do this. He has to take the battery out of the phone right now. Is there training at cell phone customer service centers on bomb deactivation? Abdul tells her he has no choice. Kayla tells him we always have a choice and to think of the people and if that doesn’t work, think of himself. He must have a future. Abdul tells him he has no dreams. At one time, he wanted to be a comedian, like Chris Rock. Kayla tells him she loves Chris Rock and that we all have dreams. Maybe there is someone who can help him reach his. Thankfully, she doesn’t break into Dream The Impossible Dream. Abdul tells her that no one can help him get an oven for his family. Unless of course she has a restaurant supply salesmen on the other line looking for the exact same phone strapped to the bomb on the boy’s chest. Of course, Kayla figures this all out and talks the boy into disarming the bomb in exchange for an oven for his family. Bomb disconnected and tragedy diverted. If Kayla’s megastar singing career doesn’t work out, she should at least get “Employee of the Month”.
NYC (cell tower)
Martin and Clea pull up and Clea asks what Jake is doing up there. She has one client and still hasn’t read that file? Martin is yelling up to Jake to come down, but he is being ignored so there is no choice but for Martin to climb up there. In the pouring rain. If the testing on this pilot didn’t go well, they could have just ended it here. Martin gets zapped on the tower, as does Jake. Clea drowns from the rain pouring into her gaping mouth as she still tries to figure out what’s going on up there and Randy wins a lifetime of ORANGE SODA for saving those kids. Thankfully (because I do really like this show so far), none of that happens. As Martin begins the ascent, we hear Jake going through a monologue again. As he “speaks”, we see vignettes of the other characters featured on this episode. Tone-deaf, stalking co-worker calls Kayla over to his cubicle to show her the video of her singing on the jumbotron on the internet, where it has had over a million and half views. Thanks to a million and half people who screw around at work. Simon comes home to his wife and she seems pretty happy to see him and much more welcoming to him than she was on the phone. Abdul is helping his family install the new oven he received while his Mom smiles at him proudly. (How’d he explain the new oven, exactly? So…a funny thing happened on the way to the suicide bombing). Randy boards a bus to finally go home. (I guess planes are out because of 9/11, which would make a lot of sense for him). Martin finally makes it to the top of the tower. Moments later, Clea is up there too. Who invited her to the cell tower party? Martin starts telling Jake he did what he wanted. He followed the numbers. He tells Jake the kids on the bus were saved because of him. “Jake, I don’t know if you can understand a single word I’m saying. I don’t even know if you hear me. But I can hear you.” Jake looks directly at Martin—probably for the first time. Martin smiles tentatively and then BAM! Lightning strikes. Just kidding—Jake gets up and hugs Martin. It is a brief but unbelievably powerful hug. Then Jake slides Martin’s cell phone out of his jacket and enters a phone number. He hands it back to Martin and Clea asks, “I don’t understand.” SHOCKING, Clea. Martin tells her it is a road map. As he connects the call, Jake watches him. Phone is answered, “Hello, this is Arnie.” Martin: Hello, my name is Martin Bohm. Look, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I think we were supposed to find each other.”
Well, that was a boatload of detail, wasn’t it? Future episodes will probably not have as much exposition, so I apologize for the length of this one. What did you think? Did you find yourself sucked in? (Jerry Seinfeld voice): “And what was with all the orange soda?” All I know is I bought some orange soda after seeing this show so who knows…maybe I’ve been “Touched”.
Thanks for joining me!