Sunday, 28 November 2010

'NO ORDINARY FAMILY' 1.8 – "No Ordinary Accident"

Sunday, 28 November 2010

After the preceding highpoint, it was inevitable "No Ordinary Accident" wouldn't be able to compete, but I was glad it didn't ignore the issue with Katie (Autumn Reeser) now dating the show's roaming villain "Will" (Josh Stewart). The rest of the episode was the customary assortment of gentle subplots for the Powells: Jim (Michael Chiklis) was chasing violent carjackers, while struggling with "outages" that rendered him occasionally powerless; Stephanie (Julie Benz) investigated her husband's strange problem at the lab; Daphne (Kay Panabaker) again used her mind-reading to try and impress Bret (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) at a Japanese restaurant; and JJ (Jimmy Bennett) was caught hacking the school computer system by Mr Litchfield (Jason Antoon), who was later hospitalized in a car accident JJ blamed himself for.

The thing I'm enjoying more than I expected to about No Ordinary Family is that every week's problem impacts the family. I was worried the show wouldn't be able to sustain this, but so far it's doing a great job. Having JJ realize only his super-fast mother could perform life-saving surgery on Mr Litchfield was a great example, as they both saved someone's life that actually meant something to the characters and was something the audience could buy into. There may come a time when the show starts struggling to find things for the Powells to do every week, or uses up all the friends/family they can save, but that's a problem for another day. Plus, we have Jim going after the more traditional villains, so the show still has access to bigger stories that affect the whole city, and maybe one day the entire country.

It was also fun to see how much Jim's super-strength means to him now, and how much he'll miss his abilities if they're taken away. The story revealed a chemical found in lip gloss that acts as temporary "kryptonite" on Jim, which was a predictable but welcome wrinkle. JJ's storyline with Mr Litchfield was the strongest component of this week's episode, ignoring the unlikelihood that his teacher would be hit by the carjackers his dad's after, and the silly moment when JJ's super-genius was somehow able to see into Litchfield's chest to survey the damage. How does that work? Daphne's storyline was also just a variation on the art gallery ruse from before, which was a shame.

Overall, "No Ordinary Accident" was averagely entertaining; not particularly good or bad, just run-of-the-mill with a few good moments. I enjoyed seeing Jim defeat those carjackers at the junkyard (especially with his tyre toss), while JJ and Stephanie's two-man surgery made for a tense little scene. It's also great to see Katie more involved, now that she's dating the villain who's actually providing reconnaissance on Stephanie for her creepy boss, but I hope George's (Romany Malco) relationship with his work colleague Amanda (Amy Acker) becomes more interesting than it is currently. Acker's a good actress, so it would be a shame to waste her in a trivial girlfriend role.

Hardly a remarkable episode; just innocuous family viewing that passed the hour quite nicely.

WRITERS: Leigh Dana Jackson & Sonny Postiglione
DIRECTOR: Tom Verica
TRANSMISSION: 23 November 2010, ABC, 8/7