Thursday, 24 February 2011

No Ordinary Family - S1 E16 - No Ordinary Proposal

Joshua proposes to Katie while the super serum is stolen from the Powell household by a mystery interloper.

Recap after the jump.

Jim chases after a gun wielding maniac and deflects all his bullets but one of them ricochets through a window and hits some random dude. He feels really guilty about it as the guy gets carted off to the ER. Joshua proposes to Katie, she accepts and the Powells throw a party at their house in celebration. Daphne invites her boyfriend Chris along but he says he is too busy with various jobs - he is pretty much paying all the bills what with his father's paralysis. He says maybe he'll pop along for a little while. At the house, Jim wants to take some of the super power serum to heal the kid who got hit with the bullet but Stephanie believes they should refrain from playing God. He reluctantly agrees with her stance. Dr. King turns up at the party and makes a grand yet somehow also menacing speech wishing the happy couple all the best for their future.

After the party, Stephanie finds the serum missing. Jim denies taking and suspicion falls instead on Joshua who vehemently denies it, claiming it he wants shot of his powers, not the other way round. Later on George reports a series of ATM robberies where the criminal has punched open the damn thing. They zero in on Chris who has his own rap sheet not to mention his motorcycle was spotted at the scene. Jim confronts him but it turns out he has an alibi. Daphne goes over to apologize but with her touch powers, she 'perceives' the truth; that Chris did steal it - and gave it to his father, curing him. She goes to tell Jim and he is able to catch Chris's Dad fleeing the scene of his next crime. They fight it out and Jim gets his ass handed to him as Chris's Dad also has super strength, with the benefit of being taller than 3'5" - Michael Chiklis' dwarfism is horribly exposed in this episode.

Chris tries to confront his dad over his criminal activity, but his pleas to stop fall on deaf ears and he gets thrown through a window. The dad needs more juice so he mysteriously figures out he can get some at Global Tech Labs. Taking Katie hostage, he demands Stephanie give him some. She tries to use her speed to disable him, but it doesn't work as he's as impenetrable as Jim. He swats her aside and takes what he needs. As he's leaving, Jim stops him. He's been practicing boxing with George and since he's smaller, uses his nimble footwork to outmaneuver his rival and defeats him. Stephanie swoops in to take back the stolen serum and with the drug wearing off, Chris's dad is arrested. Chris ends up kissing Daphne on the couch, presumably about to be sent off to live with his mother.

JJ is wanted by his teacher Litchfield to compete in some academic decathlon but JJ is resistant. Taking note of JJ's pursuit of Natalie, he blackmails the kid with his ability to award Natalie a crucial scholarship. He has JJ solve some ridiculous equation for him and it turns out he was put up to it by Dr. King who seems very interested in JJ indeed. Dr. King smarting over a visit from Joshua who rejected his "father" again, earlier went to Stephanie with detailed information on Joshua supposedly concerned about Katie, and reveals that he can wipe minds. Steph puts two and two together and realizes Joshua had wiped Daphne's mind previously (in episode 10) and tells Jim. Jim goes berserk and beats him down... well no, actually he beats up Katie's apartment, the great big clot. Katie arrives home, seems she has also been filled in. She calls off the engagement, upset that he also wiped her memory. The episode ends with Joshua leaving town on a bus.

I'm starting to think this series is set in a World of Ham. The set pieces in this show never flow naturally, they're so staged it feels like I'm watching a musical without any of the music. The storyline with kid getting hit by a stray bullet was so random and flippantly dealt with, it was purely an excuse to establish that there was some serum in the Powell household. Stephanie claims there are experiments she can't perform at the lab, but we never ever see her working anywhere except the lab! What's with the same scene constantly being recycled where Joshua tells Dr. King he won't work for him anymore? I feel like that's happened in every single episode since he quit his employ. I get it, write some new material! Chris goes to live with his mother at the end of the episode but that should already have happened - I mean come on, his father was disabled and an ex-con! Kids get taken away from great fathers to go live with horrible mothers all the time, it will never ever ever ever happen the reverse way. That was totally preposterous.

How in the hell did Jim learn to box in five minutes? That was dumb. When they started punching out all the support structures in the parking lot, I was convinced they were going for some hammy scene where the roof caved in, but it didn't happen - even though they destroyed a whole bunch, the roof didn't even creak. At some points though, the fights between Jim and Chris's dad started looking like something out Dragonball Z with guys getting thrown across the screen in a perfect horizontal line. I'm so glad it turned out Litchfield was being paid off by Dr. King because that was getting horribly hammy too although the depiction of a public school teacher seems to be fairly accurate if Wisconsin is anything to go by. There may have been some good points in this episode somewhere, but the density of ham was too overwhelming and there are so many more things I could slam I don't even know where to begin. It's just unreal how weak the writing is on this show.

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

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