Entertainment Magazine

Review #2423: No Ordinary Family 1.19: “No Ordinary Future”

Posted on the 29 March 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer
Directed by Milan Cheylov

I intentionally kept the end result of the last episode — which is expanded on in this one — off the review for that episode because it wasn’t in the episode. Suffice it to say, Stephanie’s trisettum injection to nurse her rapidly back to health had the unintended consequence of moving into time travel territory. This is something that the superhero genre has been embedded in since it began. It seems cool at first, but then the novelty wears off after a while.

Review #2423: No Ordinary Family 1.19: “No Ordinary Future”

“Heroes” was one show where I could remember how cool it was for one of the characters to see the future then travel back to prevent it from happening. It’s a standard for many sci-fi genre mediums. “No Ordinary Family” does not have the luxury of developing its world in a deep enough way for this episode to be the payoff, but at least they tried it. The story is more or less resolved by the end of the episode unfortunately, so we see the series play it safe once again instead of taking risks that might get the network’s attention in order to receive the renewal it desperately needs.

There is an inherent paradox to the time travel story the writers present here. In effect, having Stephanie see the events of the future then going back and changing the past renders the future she sees moot. It’s nice to see what the fallout of the Powells’ eventual exposure might look like, but by changing things due to foreknowledge, that future will cease to exist. The way it’s presented, the characters all but gloss over this fact on the way to stopping the larger plot at hand. Like, for example, meeting the Agent Norris of the FBI in the future, but never actually doing so in the past/present because Jim doesn’t ram the truck in front of a cameraman. Everything is wrapped up in a neat and tidy way, as become the custom on this show.

The plot did connect two separate threads, Stephanie’s future vision and the police corruption storyline that Jim and George was investigating, by the end. They also worked in the kids better this time, as Daphne inadvertently reveals her thought influence power and JJ gets to spout off terms about special relativity and the possibilities and dangers of time travel no one remotely understands. The science part of “science fiction” has never been the series’ strong suit, as everyone should know by now. I would personally like to know why Stephanie kept running into things in the past, but this never happens in the future where it would be just as likely. The show, not surprisingly, doesn’t dwell on such things.

Outside of all that is happening with the Powells, Mrs. X’s organization goes forward with its strange plan. She resurrects Victoria from the apparent dead in a scene where, like JJ’s time travel explanations, she reveals as little as possible about how she raises people from the dead to the point of incoherence. The characters in this show are willing to swallow a lot of things on blind faith and so Victoria now works for Mrs. X instead of Dr. King.

Her task is to find out more about Katie. Victoria discovers that Katie is pregnant with a superhuman child. So Mrs. X naturally wants that child. No worry about Katie, who has now been reduced to only having lines with as many sci-fi or comic book references as possible, since they will take the baby and eliminate the mother. Why Mrs. X specifically wants the baby or what she’ll do with him once she has him is anyone’s guess because it isn’t elaborated upon here.

At this point, I don’t know if the show will return for a second season. This episode not running on its regular weekly slot and the finale slated for the next couple of weeks, much earlier than what is usual for a network finale; It’s not a schedule that inspires confidence. Even with the series going a bit darker than it was early, there only seems to be a flicker of hope for survival. That struggle is not reflected in the direction of the storyline, which has been all over the place. Or maybe the directionless storyline contributed to the struggle. It’s like the paradox created in this episode.

Grade: 7/10


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