Thursday, 17 February 2011

No Ordinary Family - S1 E15 - No Ordinary Powell

Jim investigates Dr. King who has sent shapeshifter Victoria (Rebecca Mader) to infiltrate the Powell household. JJ and Daphne look into an old murder case and improbably put the pieces together.

Recap after the jump.

If a show has a cool premise, eventually a decent episode will come along. I wouldn't call this one great or anything, but it was definitely an improvement over previous dire weeks. The episode begins with Stephanie (Julie Benz) walking in on a wrecked home to find Jim (Michael Chiklis) apparently dead which is obviously a red herring because no show has the guts (nor should they) to kill off its main character midway through a season. Anyway, flash back to twelve hours prior, Daphne (Kay Panabaker) is using her new found powers for evil again, convincing her mother to give her a raise in allowance. This doesn't escape JJ's notice but he is preoccupied with trying to get his ex-girlfriend Natalie interested in him again. He meets her at a coffee shop but she's swung into a funk when she sees a barrista wearing what looks like her dead mother's one of a kind stolen locket.

After the revelations in the last episode about Dr. King, Jim visits the apartment of someone King has apparently been calling a lot. He's shocked to find that whoever lives there has the entire family under surveillance and calls up Daphne to make sure she's OK. However, by this point, the shapeshifter Victoria has already arrived in the house at the intruction of King. Taking the form of Daphne, she first encounters JJ who unwittingly fills her in on the kids abilities before leaving, then she answers the phone and takes Jim's message. She then roots through the house to look for clues on the family powers. The real Daphne later joins JJ and uses her power to extract information from the barrista and the pawn shop owner the locket was stolen from. They're able to discover who sold the locket in the first place, and she's forced to admit to JJ the truth about her development.

Jim does some DIY fingerprint dusting but is interrupted by Victoria - turns out its her home. Jim confronts her but she maces him and runs away. Despite having the prints, he and George are unable to turn up any matches. Joshua aka Watcher meanwhile is going through withdrawal again. He convinces Katie (Autumn Reeser) that she can make produce the serum for him but she is caught trying to take a sample by Stephanie. Katie spills all to her and she goes to Joshua and tells him that she is working on a cure - it will remove his powers, but prevent his organs from degenerating. In return she threatens him against harming Katie in any way.

Reporting back to Dr. King with her findings, Victoria is told to kill Jim so she goes to him in the form of George and shoots him at which obviously doesn't work. Shocked, she backs out and shortly thereafter the real George returns and they figure out what's really going on. George has also managed to expand the search on the fingerprints and uncover Victoria's real identity as an orphaned girl named Amelia Hammond who was adopted by King. He goes to find Stephanie to warn her but is intercepted by Victoria posing as her and he stupidly reveals his weakness - a certain lipstick Stephanie uses that can temporarily rob Jim of his powers. On the kids front, they've gone to the home of the guy who sold Natalie's mother's locket and once again using her power, Daphne realizes that this guy's wife was the murderer and runs out to phone Jim for help. The wife flips out and tries to kill the kids but Jim superjumps his way to rescue and throws a freaking car against the murderess and her husband.

He takes the kids home and Stephanie is there (she gives him a kiss hello) but Jim susses that it's a fake and telepathically orders Daphne to take JJ upstairs and lock the doors. Jim gets into it with Victoria who morphs into him leading to an incredibly confusing fight. Jim is robbed of his powers thanks to the lipstick but eventually triumphs, caving in Victoria's skull with a crowbar, a very grisly end. The real Stephanie comes home and thinks its Jim, but he had just gone upstairs to check on the kids. The corpse reverts to its real form and Stephanie calls Joshua to take it away. Josh reveals that Dr. King is just on a lower level - the conspiracy reaches much further than they would ever believe. The next day, JJ is able to return the locket to Natalie, her mother's murderer now locked up and Stephanie approaches Dr. King pretending to be Victoria. She's apparently able to convince him that Victoria is going to Brazil (to check the crash site) and that he should bring Stephanie "into the fold".

The episode had good pacing and some kick-ass action scenes but some stuff made no sense whatsoever. It was already established that Stephanie's lipstick messed up Jim, so why did she keep it? That's more of a nitpick, maybe Stephanie is really really selfish and likes wearing it. It's possible I've forgotten but at no point in the past was it ever established that Dr. King lusts after Stephanie, where the hell did that come from? It seems like they were referencing "The Room" in this episode with all the entering the room and then immediately exiting. What was with Victoria changing into her normal form all the damn time? I get that it's her and not really whoever she's imitating, I don't need to be whacked over the head with a crowbar about it. Maybe they felt like they needed to get their moneys worth from Rebecca Mader?

JJ's stories are always without exception stupid. Well, not stupid, more like terribly written and acted. It's not that Jimmy Bennett is terrible, but there's just something not quite right there. By contrast, Daphne's stories are all really stupid but Kay Panabaker is just good enough to compensate. I like it when brother and sister combine though, hopefully we'll see more of that. It was cool to see the story actually kick into some semblance of high gear - about time and it's really time the show started going somewhere, it's been coasting on throwaway crap for way too long. Honestly, the writers aren't skilled enough to do a real character driven show so they need a strong plot.

"No Ordinary Family" airs Tuesdays on ABC at 9:00 pm EST.

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