No Ordinary Family episode 15 review: No Ordinary Powell

Billy's frustration with this show is as boundless as the rage of Mr Fury, because even when it's good, it's often annoying…

This review contains spoilers.

15. No Ordinary Powell

The best fighters have a way of disguising the punch they are about to throw, and those that end up lying on the canvas usual telegraph their attacks. I mention this only because the opening scene of No Ordinary Powell, where Stephanie finds Jim dead in their lounge, was one of those signposted so well that it could only have been more obvious if they’d placed a Vegas-style neon sign above his head flashing “This is not Jim” on it.

And, given that their current nemesis is a shape-shifter, it didn’t take the brain of JJ to work out who it was.

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Yet, and I find myself pinching myself for saying this, the flashback storyline to how we got here was actually rather good in places, and I’d rate this as probably the best story so far in the season.

The evil Doctor King unleashes Victoria to find out about Jim and Stephanie’s powers, and ultimately to kill Jim. She goes about this in an incredibly unsubtle and inept way, but curiously, it takes many complete gaffs before anyone suspects they’re being stalked, although the audience is always entirely aware what’s going on because, well, we’re awake.

Every time she replaces someone, she makes it really obvious. She replaces Stephanie and then strolls into the house at a leisurely pace, and she even changes back to her original form before leaving Jim, assuming he wouldn’t turn around. Considering she has the power to shapeshift, as an infiltrator, Victoria is abysmal.

Yet, even with this lack of nuance, the way things develop is rather fun and I might even say slick, on occasion. We find out that Dr. King has a thing for Stephanie, which isn’t much of a surprise, and Katie finally outs Josh as a ‘super’, which allows him to become useful when Jim and Victoria finally have their confrontation.

The effects in the fight where Jim appears to be fighting himself were very good, indeed, to the extent that I quickly lost track of which was actually Jim. My only concern was that the way he eventually killed her, with a metal poker while she was facing away from him on her knees, might not actually stand up in court as ‘self defence’. But then, he wasn’t about to call the cops, was he?

With her dealt with, the Powells decide to take the fight to Dr. King, and in a neat twist, Stephanie manages to convince him that she’s Victoria, shifted into a pleasing form for him.

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Overall, what I actually liked most was the idea that the Powells are now in the driving seat of the narrative, and not just reacting to oncoming traffic. With them going on the offensive against Dr. King, things might actually start to happen that aren’t just accidental and corny. I hope.

But then, just when I thought that the show may have turned some corner, where the writers generally accepted the notion that things have to get more interesting, they then return to shoddy type in the last segment.

What I’m talking about are plot jumps that make Jim’s city leaps seem like skipping. JJ meets his ex, Natalie, and mentions that they caught her mother’s murderer! How, exactly? Police are called to what appears to be a bizarre road traffic accident, and without any evidence that leads to the conviction of someone for murder. Clearly, JJ and Daphne weren’t going to give evidence in court, were they?

It’s the scant regard for any attempt to join up this story that really infuriated me, because, clearly, the writers didn’t consider this, and other huge holes, as worth filling with anything meaningful.

If they can resist the temptation to just ignore bits of the plot they couldn’t be bothered to resolve, this show might be watchable. But at the moment, it’s falling into the old Heroes trap of just not caring enough to make everything fit properly.

Read our review of episode 14, No Ordinary Double Standard, here.

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