This review contains spoilers.18. No Ordinary Animal
What this show has been very short of through its run is revelations. But now it’s nearly done, someone in production has found the box where they keep them, and splurged almost a whole season’s worth on just one episode.
The story starts off where it was left off the previous week, with the Wolverine-lite character Chris, played by Luke Kleintank, going around being stupid. He’s so dumb that even Miss X asks him the “are you stupid” question. He gets the answer wrong, and almost everything else he does in the story doesn’t work out either.
What I can say is, at least things move along with some pace this week, with Jim on the hunt for the animal killer while Daphne conspires to make sure she’s vulnerable at the appropriate point of the story. In fact, it was all the parts with the kids that really dragged down what was promising in a few places.
JJ’s battle with the teacher is terminally boring, and Daphne’s silly relationship is hardly watchable. Daphne gets asked by JJ to find out what Mr Litchfield is up to, and she does such a shoddy job of this that she doesn’t even find out who it is he’s working for!
I could also mention that Daphne goes to a music video shoot by Sara Bareilles, but then, I can’t see that many people here would know who she was. I’m happy to admit I’d never heard of her before this appearance, although she’s been nominated for three Grammies, I’m told.
However, the scene where Jim had to ask Doctor King to help save Stephanie by injecting her was the low point of the proceedings, because frankly, how did he know he wasn’t just going to kill her? He didn’t, and their excuse for not taking her to a hospital seemed remarkably thin and contrived.
I find it amusing that, since Stephanie pretended to be Doctor King’s shape shifting minion, she’s never been mentioned again, like she never existed.
So, the revelations? Well, JJ manages to solve an equation that could make injected super powers permanent, Katie is pregnant from her first ever relationship, Robert Picardo is now reduced to cameoing as a vice principle (not even principle), and having claw marks on your face makes you “beyond recognition” according to Jim. Oh, and injecting super power serum into super beings makes them extra super, and people carrying super babies exhibit their powers. That’s plenty, isn’t it?
There’s a point at the end of the episode where we’re given a glimpse at what the implications of Stephanie being injected are, where she runs so fast she actually leaves our dimension. This is symbolic on so many levels, but not least that the actress in question, along with the one who plays her husband, have been shooting pilot episodes for entirely new shows on CBS for the new fall season.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that ABC Studios might have some sort of mid-life crisis and commission another season, but clearly Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz have both seen the writing on this wall, and made a hasty exit stage left.
I was talking to a show writing friend the other day, and he talked about how he likes to keep his ‘powder dry’ in building up a show (he’s just written a CSI episode), but in retrospect, the creators of No Ordinary Family kept so much in reserve that the viewing audience lost interest before we ever got to the payoff.
So what have we left to look forward to? Well, next week we get a time travel story based on where Stephanie went, and then on the 5th of April we get the final story, where I’m reliably informed Joshua returns, presumably to die heroically.
It’s not been great, but thankfully No Ordinary Family is nearly done, which is the bit I’m most keen to experience.
Read our review of episode 17, No Ordinary Love, here.
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