Saturday, October 23, 2010

No Ordinary Family 1.03: "No Ordinary Ring"

“You’re stopping a felony, and I’m committing one. Remember when we used to have movie night?”

I think with “No Ordinary Ring,” we’re starting to get a picture of how the typical episode of “No Ordinary Family” will be structured. There’s Jim’s crime of the week, there’s teen drama, and there’s conspiracy stuff going down at the lab. The episode didn’t really stand out to me, although I still really like the adult characters and can’t stand the kids. I kind of think the show is trying to be too many things all at once. There’s the crime procedural, the conspiracy thriller, and the teen drama. I could do without the third, at least. Or if we have to have teen drama, I wish it could be as compelling as Friday Night Lights. I guess it takes a special gift to write believable dialogue for teens, and I’m not seeing that here.

The episode opens with Jim having a tough time dealing with lack of control. He’s worried about how to keep his family safe, and he’s upset over the death of Detective Cho. Jim is working out the stress by hitting baseballs full force off a cliff and into the ocean. George is with him, of course. After Jim does a little tell and not show to catch us up on what’s been happening (and the fact that he knows about Cho’s death), George tells him that he’d better get going or he’s a dead man. Jim starts to do his jumping thing across town, and he winds up at a tuxedo shop. The Powells are going to the wedding of a family friend. The wedding is, not surprisingly, interrupted by a rather scary robbery. A bunch of guys bust into the place and scare all the guests by firing off machine guns before taking all their jewelry (including Stephanie’s rings) and money. After a brief hesitation, Jim chases after. The robbers are on their way up to the roof where a helicopter is waiting (these are high class robbers, everybody), and Jim tries to jump after them but misses the mark.

The next day, Jim is still brooding about not being able to stop the robbery, especially since it resulted in Stephanie’s wedding and engagement rings being stolen. He wants to try and catch the robbers the next time they strike. Predictably, Stephanie is still kind of pissed off about Jim’s desire to fight crime. She wants him to hide it from the kids, because she thinks they’ll worry too much if they know what he’s really up to. The kids are too wrapped up in their drama at the moment to really notice, though. J.J. seems to hit it off with a girl in his math class. She’s impressed at his sudden improvement, considering she’s still having trouble, and she wants to study together. After class, he meets up with Daphne, who gives him a pile of homework to do. It’s her price for keeping silent about J.J.’s powers to their parents. Daphne’s interrupted by hearing the thoughts of her childhood friend Megan, who is thinking about how she really doesn’t want to be alone. Daphne tells Megan she can come over to her house and hang out.

For our conspiracy part of this episode, Dr. King shows up at Stephanie’s lab station to inform her that the board wants to fund her research on the plant she found in Brazil. Because the investment is a lot of money, Global Tech wants to take out an insurance policy on Stephanie. This means she has to get a physical. When Dr. King leaves, Stephanie freaks out because a physical involves bloodwork, and that bloodwork would certainly reveal that she isn’t normal. Katie has it right when she says that if discovered, Stephanie will “be the research.” Other scientists are certainly going to want to know all about her powers. Without running it by Stephanie first, Katie decides to be helpful by taking the physical instead. When she tells Stephanie, Stephanie informs her just how bad of an idea that was. Global Tech has a real blood sample of Stephanie’s that they took when she was first hired, so it will be blatantly obvious that an imposter took this latest physical. They have to get that blood back.

We then head back to the teen drama for a bit. Megan arrives at the Powells’ house, and Daphne tries to offer comforting words about how her parents’ marriage isn’t always perfect, either. Megan freaks out, demanding to know how Daphne found out that her parents are splitting up. She think Daphne has become a creepy stalker or something. Daphne can’t tell the truth, because her parents have forbidden her from revealing her powers, and Megan leaves, furious. Daphne is devastated that she’s lost one of her oldest friends, and she begs Jim and Stephanie to be allowed to tell the truth. She thinks it’s unfair that they each have a confidant and she doesn’t. Her problems become more complicated when she talks to Sarah, the girl from J.J.’s math class (at J.J.’s request), and hears her thoughts. Sarah thinks J.J. is a complete loser. She doesn’t have any interest in him at all, other than math help.

Jim and George show up at a high class wedding to try and stop another robbery. Again, Jim’s attempt at stopping the guys goes horribly wrong. Jim and George are pretending to be friends of the groom, and when the father of the bride brings the groom over to say “hi,” things get a little dicey. Because, obviously, the groom has no clue who they are. Jim and George are saved by the lights going out. Jim thinks it’s show time. When the lights come back on, Jim makes a tackle, but he accidentally tackles the cake delivery guy instead of a robber. There are no robbers here, and Jim has made a huge fool of himself. Honestly, I’m surprised he didn’t end up in jail after that stunt. I guess there wasn’t time for that in this episode. George tells Jim that Jim needs to work on his moves to get better at crime fighting, and he tries to teach him to dance. From the names of the CDs George had Jim choose from, I expected some great early 90s jams that I would remember from my childhood dance recitals. But no, we get Usher’s “OMG.” Daphne walks in on this, which is more than a little awkward.

The Powell parents have told the kids that if they need someone to confide in, they should confide in Katie or George, since they already know about the powers. So when Daphne is conflicted about what to do with her knowledge about Sarah, she goes to George. George suggests Daphne lie to J.J. about the reason Sarah isn’t interested so J.J. can be let down easy. This bit is pretty great, because George is always entertaining. He’s delighted Daphne has brought a problem to him that he thinks he can handle. Daphne tells J.J. that Sarah only dates Jewish guys. Predictably, J.J. rushes to the computer and starts researching everything he needs to know to start acting Jewish. He ends up scaring off Sarah at their study session by going so overboard. She tells him that she’s never dated a Jewish guy, and J.J. knows Daphne lied. Needless to say, he’s pretty upset with her for that.

Speaking of lies, as Jim rushes out of the house to another wedding, Daphne asks him where he’s going. Jim tells her he’s going to the precinct, but Daphne hears him think the name of a hotel. She asks him if he’s lying to her, and he says “no.” At the wedding, there’s a big line dance sequence to “Mambo No. 5,” which is kind of silly. Who line dances to that song? Then the robbers show up and crash the party. Daphne has shown up at the hotel to try to catch her dad in the lie, and she sees Jim run after the robbers. Jim has better luck jumping this time, but some of the robbers still get away. He pushes one of them off a ladder, and he lands with a thud on a police car. Somehow the guy survives, though. You’d think Jim would get hit with assault charges or something for that bit, but he doesn’t.

The next day, George calls Jim to the precinct. The robbers are going to go free because none of the wedding guests got a clear ID, but he did manage to get Stephanie’s ring back. I thought that was kind of a dumb ending to the plot. Out of all the stuff those guys stole, somehow Stephanie’s jewelry mysteriously reappeared. Jim plans a romantic dinner for Stephanie to surprise her with the reappearance of the ring. Daphne, meanwhile, throws a complete fit over the fact that Jim lied when she has to keep all these secrets, and she runs off to tell Megan the truth about everything. She has a crisis of conscience at the very last second, though, and tells Megan she knew about her parents through eavesdropping at the grocery store.

Stephanie’s been having her own adventures this episode related to that pesky blood sample. She and Katie need to switch out Katie’s blood sample for an old blood sample of Stephanie’s. First they steal the key card of the scientist who disparaged Stephanie’s work with the plant in the pilot. The actual plan is for Stephanie to run full tilt through the Global Tech building so she won’t show up on the security cameras. The plan seems to work. Stephanie makes the switch and gets out without any alarms going off or security guards seeing her. At the end of the episode, though, we see Dr. King watching CCTV footage of Stephanie’s blood sample seeming to glimmer as one vial is switched out for another at top speed. He obviously knows something’s up, and since he’s evil, that can’t be good for the Powells.

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