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No Ordinary Family 1-12: No Ordinary Brother

I’d been hearing rumors that Lost‘s Rebecca Mader was joining the cast of No Ordinary Family, and tonight was the night. She is going to make for an interesting character, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, the quality of the episodes seems to be slipping, and tonight was no exception.

Before we really get going, let’s resolve last week’s cliffhanger. The first time we see them, “Joshua” is waking up in bed and Katie is sitting next to it with Stephanie’s diary in her hands. She demands an explanation, turning the page to show him Stephanie’s hand writing. But Joshua still has some power since he changes it to be a different hand writing and the sentiment to look like his diary. Katie immediately thinks she was mistaken and apologizes. Another cliffhanger wrapped up in just a few minutes.

But the episode actually opens with Jim and Stephanie in bed. Stephanie awakes to hear someone in the kitchen. Jim gets up to confront the burglar. In one of the funny moments of the episode, he grabs a bat and then sets it down again. Good thing, too, because the intruder turns out to be his brother Mike. Mike has a new scheme selling defective shoes that have been thrown away, or so he claims. After a guy’s night out, Jim saves Mike from being beaten up by some thugs and then Jim reveals his powers when a van knocks him off the top level of a garage and he survives.

Soon, Mike knows about the entire Powell family powers, and he takes JJ from school to the track where JJ’s brilliant mind is able to predict the winners of each horse race. Eventually, it comes out that Mike owes a loan shark $15,000. Make that $150,000, which Jim finds out when he goes to the loan shark and tries to make a deal to pay it off. Then all the electronics from George’s garage are stolen. Jim thinks it was Mike, but as Daphne is hugging him goodbye, she comes up with Mike’s alibi – he was at a doctor’s appointment seeing an ultrasound of his baby. Jim calls to apologize for not believing Mike, but Mike is being held by the loan shark. Jim has 24 hours to come up with the money or Mike dies.

JJ offers to go back to the track and bet the money they need, and it’s actually Stephanie who goes along with that plan. But JJ doesn’t factor in injury and so they lose everything. That means Jim has to go and offer himself in Mike’s place, figuring that they’ll shoot him from a distance and he’ll be fine. The loan shark holds a gun right to Jim’s head, but Mike is able to distract him and start a fight, so they get away and the loan shark is arrested. In the closing moments, it looks like Mike has learned his lesson. Plus seeing his kid is enough to encourage him to go straight.

Have I mentioned this is a great bit of Hollywood casting? Mike and Jim look nothing alike, down to the fact that Mike has a full head of hair and isn’t close to losing any of it. But I digress.

JJ’s only role in the episode was betting at the track, so let’s move to Daphne. She had a small sub-plot. Apparently she won student body president last week because she has now found that one of her new duties is sitting on the peer discipline board. She uses her mind reading to figure out if the students are really guilty or not, and she decides one of them is covering for someone. She eventually figures out that it is his brother and not him who has an addiction to prescription pills. Frankly, it kind of went no where and was obvious. I’m not sure if the other stories took so much time this one couldn’t be developed or what.

Meanwhile, Stephanie’s assistant Katie has been offered a promotion that would move her across the country to Miami. And this is where Rebecca Mader comes into play. She’s Victoria, the new head of HR at the lab, and she offers Katie the job. At first Katie is ecstatic while Stephanie is bummed. They have a few changes of heart, but both come to terms with it over lunch at a sidewalk cafe. As they are leaving, a heavy plate of glass is dropped from a crane and aimed directly for Katie. Stephanie is able to save her, but that serves as a wake up to Katie. She realizes she’s doing what she wants to do now, so she is going to stay right where she is.

The only thing that made this story interesting was the behind the scenes maneuvering. Joshua knows what this is really all about. He knows that this is a way to get him back in the fold, but he intends to move across the country with Katie. After the accident, he confronts Dr. King and threatens him. Dr. King says he isn’t scared since Joshua is normal. He also implies that Joshua will start experiencing pain as the effects of the serum completely wear off. Joshua doesn’t seem to care about the pain and he manages to make Dr. King look nervous as he threatens him despite being ordinary again.

The final scene finds a construction worker walking into Dr. King’s office apologizing for missing Katie with the sheet of glass. As he starts to make excuses, he morphs into…Victoria. Yep, our new character has powers, at least the ability to shape shift.

I’d say that could be interesting, but I’m beginning to notice a pattern with the show. They leave us with something interesting only to wrap it up nice and neat in one quick scene. (There was nothing on Daphne’s erased memory this week. It was like that never happened.) I’m not as upset by the fact that the story arc isn’t the main focus yet since the suspense builds much better if we know something is coming and the Powells don’t. But both episodes since the break now have felt formulaic and rushed at the end. They don’t have time to quite pay things off, so they shove a few quick scenes in and hope that works for us.

I realize things haven’t changed that much. Maybe it’s my bad week and lack of sleep that is making me more critical. Hopefully, they step up the game next week and I’m back to really loving the show.

Meantime, please join me at my regular home, Random Ramblings from Sunny Southern CA

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