Saturday, 12 February 2011

'NO ORDINARY FAMILY' 1.14 - "No Ordinary Double Standard"

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The word on the street says No Ordinary Family is doomed because of low ratings for ABC, which is a shame. It's lost half its audience since last September's premiere, with this episode marking a nadir of 5.3m. But while I agree it's hardly a revolutionary or particularly inventive series, I have a consistent amount of carefree fun watching it every week. The awkwardly-titled "No Ordinary Double Standard" was a curious hour, though; the first half was quite flat and throwaway, but the second half introduced unanticipated developments to the mytharc. It was ultimately an episode where important information was imparted amidst a fairly dreary storyline, but it had its moments,.

This week, Stephanie's (Julie Benz) lab friend Nina (Betsy Brandt) was attacked in her home by an unseen assailant and Jim (Michael Chiklis) resolve to find the culprit, initially unaware that his wife's keen to prove that she's just as capable when it comes to bringing criminals to justice using super-powers. The Powell's, each helped by their trusty sidekicks George (Romany Malco) and Katie (Autumn Reeser), essentially found themselves competing to find the perpetrator, Tom Seeley (Ethan Suplee), who it transpired can turn his physical body into mist.

Meanwhile, Daphne (Kay Panabaker) and JJ (Jimmy Bennett) were both asked out on dates by seniors; but while Jim's happy to let JJ go have fun with the older Bailey (Katrina Begin), he was less inclined to let his more vulnerable daughter spend time with a mature teen like Chris (Luke Kleintank). Elsewhere, Katie became aware of her boyfriend Joshua's (Josh Stewart) involvement with Dr Chiles' original research into super-powers and heard Dr King (Stephen Collins) insinuate he's involved in nefarious deeds, only to have her memory erased by Joshua after she confronted him to demand the truth.

There isn't much to say about this episode's storyline, really. There was some lighthearted rivalry between Stephanie and Jim, before they inevitably realized they can achieve more if they combine forces, and the titular "double standards" storyline over how they treated their loved-up kids. It's only really worth mentioning the sudden information-dump of realizing Nina worked in a penitentiary affiliated with Dr King, who has apparently been experimenting on inmates with his super-serum. Many of this year's super-villains are therefore former prisoners, who appear incapable of using their powers against King, which retroactively explains their often angry vibe.

Overall, "No Ordinary Double Standard" benefited from seeing Jim and Stephanie together as a crime-fighting married couple (more, please), the supervillain's power was an effective visual that threw up uncertainties over how he'd be defeated, I appreciated the insight into Dr King's back-story (was he telling the truth about only experimenting on disabled people, like the allegedly paralyzed Tom?), it feels like a notable turning point now Stephanie's aware her boss can't be trusted (and he knows she knows this), and Daphne's storyline presented us with a fun evolution of her mind-reading to encompass mind control.

A somewhat brief review this week, owing to real-world pressures -- but what did you think of this fourteenth episode?

written by Sallie Patrick / directed by Paul Edwards / 8 February 2011 / ABC