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No Ordinary Family 1-4: No Ordinary Vigilante

This show is always about the family. I get that. I won’t deny it. But it seems each week focuses on a different member of the Powell family. (And yes, I’m slow in just now realizing it, although I was pretty sure that was what was happening last week.) This week’s show focused on JJ, so let’s start with him.

As a reward for JJ pulling his grades up by his hard work, Jim is planning to take him camping. But when Jim pulls out because of a case he is working on, JJ isn’t too upset. See, he’s realized that football is all math, so he figures he can work the angles and become the quarterback of the team even though he’s a freshman. He works out a tryout thanks to acing a history test from the coach. And his abilities get him a spot on the team. His math teacher, however, still thinks he’s cheating or on drugs, and he hauls Jim and Stephanie into the school to talk to them about that. JJ denies it, naturally, insisting it’s just hard work. His parents decide to believe him and even show up at his first game, where he throws a pass for a touchdown when the regular quarterback gets hurt.

Daphne played around the outsides of JJ’s story this week, still trying to talk him into telling their parents the truth. She also used her abilities to get into an invite only party. As Daphne and her friends were about to be kicked out, she volunteered to buy more alcohol. See, she had blackmail material on the clerk at the local convenience store since she read his thoughts about stealing from the cash register. But the clerk didn’t fall for the blackmail and Daphne got sent home with a warning and then grounded like crazy by her parents.

Looks like I’m doing this in reverse order this week, so let’s move on to Stephanie. She finds out that she has a new research partner on her project, the mysterious plant from South America. And things take get very tense on that front when she discovered the mysterious plant has the same properties as her family now does. She thinks her new lab partner as discovered this, when really he’s found what he thinks is research from a former employee of the lab who got fired. And researching this former employee turns up…nothing. Katie, the assistant, thinks that this former employee is dead. If so, who killed him, what had he learned first, and why was he killed?

Jim had the biggest of the secondary stories this week. He spent the entire episode wrestling with was he a vigilante or not. And yes, I know I said the show was focusing on JJ when it was named after Jim’s storyline. Anyway, Jim almost catches a mugger in a park when the mugger is shot. He starts trying to find this guy and almost gets nailed by two eyewitnesses the next night who mistake Jim for the shooter. But thanks to George in the DA’s office, they are able to track down the real shooter, a man who lost his son to the crime in that same park. He almost slips through the police’s fingers, but they set up a sting and take him down, freeing Jim from suspicion.

I liked the revelation Jim had about potentially losing his family while trying to fight crime. He has been so consumed with what his new abilities can do that he hasn’t been listening to any of his family. Of course, if he just stays home and does nothing, we won’t have more story or more conflict, so I wonder how they will deal with this next week.

Likewise, I wonder how much longer it will be before JJ’s secret is revealed to Jim and Stephanie. And how will they feel since he lied to them, claiming to have no abilities whatsoever.

And the other thing I am wondering about is the therapist. We haven’t seen Jim and Stephanie in therapy since the first episode. I thought they might do more with that, but I guess it was just a storytelling device for the pilot.

The show is part superhero story and part character study/family drama. I feel like the last couple of episodes have been focused a bit on the family to the exclusion of the superhero stuff. I’d like to see more of a mix. Can’t they find some way to advance all the storylines a bit more in every episode? Looks like we’ve got some great action next week, however. Can’t wait to see what all those previews were about.

When not spying on the Powell family, Mark can be found blogging about whatever is on his mind, including other TV shows, at Random Ramblings from Sunny Southern CA.