No Ordinary Family episode 2 review: No Ordinary Marriage

With great power comes complications for No Ordinary Family, a show that might just have found its feet already...

2. No Ordinary Marriage

Reviewing TV shows, it’s rather easy to become cynical, and see failure before it’s truly materialised. And I say that because deep down I’d already dismissed No Ordinary Family as far too derivative to have any real legs, after seeing the pilot.

But now, having seen the first real story, the scenery looks a lot more attractive than I’d anticipated. Part of my renewed optimism about the show is due to many of the issues I had with the pilot having now been addressed. The children are less whiny, and the direction it’s travelling significantly more dramatic than I’d hoped for.

On one level, the second story just continues the narrative of how the Powell family is adjusting to their changed circumstances, and the pitfalls that come with their powers.

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That’s reasonably entertaining, but where it started to really grab my attention was when Michael Chiklis’ Jim decided to embrace his crime fighting ambitions, and the fatal consequences of these actions.

So far, his character is best described as light comedy, and they even play on his role as The Thing as they recreate a scene from The Fantastic Four, where he stands in the way of a moving vehicle. It doesn’t go to plan exactly, and his repeated attempts with the help of George to solve this conundrum of kinetic energy becomes something of a running gag.

Stephanie Powell’s challenges for this week include dumped bicycles and a very pushy neighbour, Nina Claremont, played by another ex-Dexter alumni, Julia Campbell.

Her realisation is that the temptation to use their powers is greater than their ability to use them on occasion.

Yet, my favourite parts revolved around JJ and the power he’s kept secret and the problems it creates for him in class. JJ got short thrift in the pilot, but his character is actually one of the more interesting in his family, and the actor Jimmy Bennett is a very natural performer.

One of the joys of any super-powered story is how those gifts are used, often in entirely obtuse ways. My curiosity is peaked as to how JJ’s power will be utilised, as it’s not something that has the same obvious applications as the rest of the Powell powers. This all sounds good and, for the most part, it was, but the last couple of minutes of the show really greased the rails for me, personally.

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A major character dies, and I’m not going to reveal who, because I don’t want to spoil it for those that have it on their PVR ready to see. The much darker side of the show that this event ushers in reminded me of the better parts of Heroes, in the first season, where things pivoted rather dramatically.

If the writers of the show can throw curve balls like that one on a regular basis, then this could develop into something much more interesting than the pilot hinted. It was clearly intended to get people keen to see the next episode, and I, for one, am taking that bait.

Read our review of the series premiere here.