EPISODE REVIEW: No Ordinary Family: "No Ordinary Marriage" (Season 1, Episode 2)

Sam White
Sam White's picture

On this, the second episode of the show, we find the Powell family still trying to figure out their powers. Meanwhile, someone is robbing local banks and the police are at a loss for how to stop them.

Recalling fondly the travails of trying to figure out how to fly on "Greatest American Hero", Jim Powell tries to figure out how to use his super-strength and near-invulnerability to stop oncoming cars. The results are pretty funny, as his friend, Deputy D.A. George continually runs him down in a beat-up old car. It's not often you see the hero's body flopping around under smoking tires used for humorous affect on TV, but it worked.

Mom, as this is happening, is racing all over the southern United States to try and find a water sample that will tell her why the family has these new abilities. The only thing is, Jim and Stephanie had promised each other not to use their powers until they figured out whether doing so might be harmful. The kids, during all this, are having their own problems with the powers. JJ is suddenly doing so good at school that he's being accused of cheating and Daphne's ability to hear the thoughts of others is driving her crazy.

Finally, the family decides to work together to help each other figure out their new roles and new abilities. All except JJ, who is still trying to keep his powers a secret because--for the first time in his life--he feels smart. This led to a good, character-establishing scene wherein Stephanie helped her daughter learn how to control her abilities. I still say Daphne's ability to read minds may be the most intriguing of all on this show.

And then some big things happen. George calls in Jim on a bank robbery, which Jim thwarts, but is scene by a policewoman friend running away from the crime. She warns Jim about being a vigilante and doesn't listen to his warning that she needs him because there are bad guys out there with special powers. She should have listened, because later in the show she is [spoiler alert] apparently killed by a guy who has the ability to levitate objects. More clues are given as to the nature of the abilities (even though Steph's tests show nothing) and the role Steph's boss may have had in developing them. [Hint: Will Dekker has come back from wherever and it hasn't improved his personality.]

I really like this show, and the characters are becoming more and more interesting. My main quibble with this episode were the mom's running scenes. For the most part, they've adopted the "Smallville" tactic of showing things in slow motion to indicate super speed. Not a bad idea, but when they did it, IMHO it went on to long. Show it once, then show Steph arriving at her destination--or crashing in the street, as the case may be. And, while crashing and sliding for two blocks wreaks havoc with her clothes, running 600mph in stiletto heels doesn't wear out her shoes. Ditto for Jim getting run over by cars.