No Ordinary Family – No Ordinary Mobster – Episode review

Romance abounds in this episode of No Ordinary Family. Faithful sidekicks George and Katie both end up with partners, though one ends up getting shot, and the other isn’t exactly what he seems to be.

George is the catalyst for Jim’s storyline this week, as he taunts a monster who walks free from court. Said mobster then puts a bullet in George’s colleague/potential new love interest, hospitalizing her. So Jim puts on his vigilante balaclava and heads out for a bit of retribution. He catches the gangster in the act of threatening a man and puts a stop to it, but the gangster unmasks him. Another rookie mistake for Jim.

Back in police custody, the gangster assumes that Jim – having witnessed his super-powered jumps – is a secret super-cop that the police don’t want the public to know about. And so he uses this to try and plea-bargain his way out of prosecution. There’s some brief banter about how to keep Jim’s identity a secret, but in the end, George takes control of the situation. 

Meanwhile there’s more teenage hijinx with the depressing Powell children. Daphne has some dating trouble which JJ helps her out with, and JJ tries to seduce his mother’s lab assistant through a dating website.

Of much more interest is Stephanie, who goes to Mexico to find out about a scientist who was working on a ‘secret powers’ experiment. However, as we discover, the woman is in the pay of the secretive Dr. King and – shock! – lies to Stephanie about their powers being temporary. King’s on to Stephanie by this point and villainously making remarks that have clear double meanings: “I’ll always have my eye on you, Stephanie”. And now he’s ordered his right-hand man, The Watcher, to follow the entire Powell family

What doesn’t make sense is how The Watcher – clearly a murderous, bad bad man – doesn’t reveal to King that he recognizes Jim. I mean, he’s just used his powers to kill the mobster guy and he later pretends he’s Katie’s secret date (how’d he know to meet her there?). So he’s not having some kind of ethical quandry. We’ve established that much. Why the hell did he pretend not to have seen Jim? Hero envy? I don’t know.

With No Ordinary Family, all the pieces are in place for a great show. Unfortunately it’s missing an engaging family at the heart of it. Jim’s just about likeable, but the kids are on the wrong side of annoying. Everybody’s playing it too straight. How about making JJ a supergenius, but with a Bart Simpson mischievious streak? Play on that pool scene from the other week. Let him cut loose with his powers. Why not have Daphne go all Easy A on her classmates?

For my money, the cast of this show are playing it far too straight. There’s not enough spark between the characters for me to care about most of them. And Julie Benz’s character could well end up bled out in another bathtub by the season’s end. She plays everything like she’s on anti-depressants and feels nothing.

I still have hopes that this show will turn a corner. After all, it’s early days and we’ve only just met this family. However, maybe they need to go back to their source material – Fantastic Four, The Incredibles to see how a family can be lively and fiery and bonded all at the same time. End of lecture.

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