No Ordinary Family episode 13 review: No Ordinary Detention

The good news is that this episode of No Ordinary Family isn't as bad as the last, if that's a recommendation…

This review contains spoilers.

13. No Ordinary Detention

After the shambles of last week, I was actually not looking forward to No Ordinary Detention, like I’d actually been given one.

The story is actually three entirely unconnected subplots, one where Jim’s actions come back to haunt him at his workplace, another where Joshua’s withdrawal symptoms from the super-serum drive Katie to take him to see Stephanie in the lab, and the detention story, where both JJ and Daphne get on the wrong side of their loveable and rational teacher.

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Probably the best was element was the Jim story, where a bad guy that he stops ends up taking over the precinct, and it’s Jim’s job to play John McClane in this reworking of Die Hard. It’s so close to its film inspiration that the characters actually comment on both the movie and the events in it.

The added spice in this narrative burrito is that one of the hostages is a city prosecutor intent on finding the vigilante who’s been fighting crime in her jurisdiction. It’s a by-the-numbers script, but it had a few entertaining sequences along the way.

Of more relevance to the greater story arc was the Joshua part (and yes, that is his name, apparently). I’d predicted that Victoria the shapeshifter and Joshua the watcher would have a fight at some point, and one week later it came to be. What slightly let this down was that they didn’t really play with the notion of shapeshifting, other than to have two Katie’s at one point, and frankly, one is more than enough.

Where it was interesting is that the bad guy’s now know that Stephanie has powers, and probably through association, the rest of the Powells. Stephanie also gets the award as the dumbest smart person of the week, when she works out who is the real Katie only to turn her back on the fake! She should hand back her PhD.

I can’t see this is the last fight between Victoria and Joshua, because I’d be amazed if they both survive the season.

The kids’ plot was a bonding exercise where everyone gets to be slightly more than they started out. It was harmless enough, although it’s certainly about time that the younger Powells took on Mr. Litchfield, instead of taking the abuse he deals out arbitrarily.

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Though, with the positive things that each subplot brought, they each also delivered the exceptionally sloppy writing that has become the hallmark of this show. The ‘she’s disappeared’ ending of the lab standoff was bad enough, but the one that concluded the hostage situation was beyond stupid. “You should get going. SWAT will be here any minute” was the line that got me.

They’ll be here any minute? They’re in a police precinct where there’s been a hostage situation! Surely they’d have appeared once the sound of gunfire was heard? Or did they go to some local eatery and order the special? And surely all the exits from the building would be covered?

The laziness in not being able to solve problems like this is a major issue for the show, because it hints to me that those writing it don’t take their characters and situations remotely seriously, and that type of thinking won’t sell them to the viewer.

This show could be so much better than it is. There were small parts of this story that worked, but unfortunately, they’re outnumbered by the bits that didn’t, currently.

Read our review of episode 12, No Ordinary Brother, here.

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