Entertainment Magazine

Review #2414: No Ordinary Family 1.18: “No Ordinary Animal”

Posted on the 24 March 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Zack Estrin and Jon Harmon Feldman
Directed by Greg Beeman

I couldn’t get into this episode at the start, probably due to many factors including a pale imitation of X-Men’s Sabretooth character and a sudden change to Katie, one of the show’s unpowered sidekicks. While there was an explanation for the latter (that may or may not make much sense), the Winnick character kept the episode from working as a whole. The episode was saved by the final act, which was engaging and, I believe, better than anything the series has shown since the pilot. It had me wondering where this kind of material had been earlier in the season, where it would have been possible to still save the show.

Review #2414: No Ordinary Family 1.18: “No Ordinary Animal”

Most of the things that Winnick did in this episode as the animalistic super did not serve to draw me towards the character. It simply did not make much sense. All of a sudden, those with the trisettum in their bloodstream give off a scent? What was the purpose of killing off those with powers? And where was the police on all this? What Winnick did here was largely forgettable until he went after the Powells. The scene where he stabs Stephanie was darker than the show has been since the season began, although it helped his cause that Stephanie was dumb enough to move closer to a person who’s been leaving claw marks on people all over town.

Jim and Stephanie were able to protect JJ from Winnick, but Daphne was a different case. Actually, Winnick didn’t even have to look for Daphne since she put a huge photo that had her exact location right next to her bed! Jim’s fight with Winnick fulfilled the action quotient of the episode (and featured the strangest dialogue exchange between superpowered characters ever), though I’d question he’d leave a dangerous murderer with temporary superpowers for the police.

Winnick also tried attacking Katie because she gave off the trisettum scent as well. When she sent him flying at the car suddenly, well, I was puzzled. I tried figuring out how it could’ve been possible for Katie, the lone completely innocent character on the show, to get powers without her knowing it. The series never showed Joshua willingly experimenting on her with the serum needles so that was out. I was saved from figuring things out by the final scene, where Katie finds out she’s pregnant. So that means her baby is releasing trisettum somehow into her bloodstream and makes her have inconsistent, uncontrollable telekinetic powers. The science behind this show has never been its strongpoint, unfortunately.

But again, I liked the final act very much. Jim races home to find Stephanie dying from her (visually inconsistent) wounds. The gang can’t save her, despite JJ’s encyclopedic knowledge base of medicine, because the staph infection is unfamiliar to any of them. So Jim resolves to go to the only person who he thinks can help: Dr. King. Jim bursts into King’s office and tells him the best line of the season so far; in effect, Jim sums up that they all know that King knows about their powers and needs to save her.

Here, the show cuts right to the point. There is no more sneaking around, no more deceit, no more lying. I mean, it completely discredits what they’ve been trying to do thus far in trying to see what King is up to, but damned if it was the show trying to do something else to get itself out of a season-long funk. The Powells could be on the run now that their secret is exposed, and with Dr. King nearing completion on his work for superpower permanence under the watch of Mrs. X, things are getting more complicated. It is definitely better than anything the series has shown us so far.

The fact remains, unfortunately, that this show is not long to stay on air. A “special” episode will air on Saturday, presumably as follow-up to what occurred in this episode, then the likely series finale goes early next month. So I have to wonder if the writers will be sticking with plot points like Katie’s new pregnancy with so little time left. This episode is endemic of what the series has been as a whole: unable to reconcile the serial elements, many of which were the darker edges of the show, with the lighter standalone aspects. This episode took so much time to get going and though it ended well, I was left with an empty feeling. I knew that it was too little, too late for the series so I’m left to wonder what will happen at the end.

Grade: 8/10

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