No Ordinary Family episode 4 review: No Ordinary Vigilante

Billy really hopes No Ordinary Family has turned a corner, where they've given up moaning about being super-powered…

4. No Ordinary Vigilante

I’ll say up front, No Ordinary Vigilante was a much, much better episode than the previous story. Mostly it was a more enjoyable watch because the kids started to do more interesting things with their abilities rather than just whine about them.

But also because it reintroduced the dark streak that I so admired in episode 2, where things don’t work out in a Brady Bunch fashion.

There are two basic threads in this episode, one involving Jim being mistaken for a vigilante, probably because he is one, and the other is about JJ coming to terms with his powers. They both work to some degree or another, but if forced to choose, I liked the JJ story much more.  Not only did the writers come up with an interesting application of his math power, but it also provided some mildly amusing moments.

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I mention this aspect because humour on this show continues to be an issue for me, as things the creators find hysterical generally make me yawn. Possibly the worst scene in this one is the one where Jim tries to hide his face while creating a likeness from two witnesses who saw him in the park. It was stupid, and the fact that he then created a picture that looked just like him, but with long hair, was, frankly, moronic.

What resurrected that side of the narrative was Jim’s brush with a man who lost his son to a mugger and addresses that pain by shooting others attempting the same thing.

How this ends is pretty tragic, and falls into the category of things Jim does that have unforeseen and fatal consequences. This might seem a little Kick-Ass in concept, but this show needs an edge to keep people watching, which, given the recent viewing figures, is an issue here.

The person who makes me laugh most is Autumn Reeser who plays Stephanie’s assistant, Katie Andrews. Her mile-a-minute interjections can be very funny, and she’s taken over from George as the better sidekick.

Here’s the rub: a choice is coming up where the show needs to decide where its destiny lies (if it has one), and the two options that we’re being presented with is ‘whacky super-family’ or ‘related Heroes‘. One of these takes the dramatic elements we’ve seen and creates a plausible threat that challenges all the Powell family to work together to resolve, and the other has Superman cooking breakfast with heat-vision.

I know which way I’d like to see this swing, but as we’re being fed both currently, it seems the writers haven’t come down on a particular side of that fence yet.

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Perhaps the next story, entitled No Ordinary Earthquake, may provide more insight into their preferences. Because I can’t really see the show carrying on trying to be all things to all viewers.

Read our review of episode 3, No Ordinary Ring, here.