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‘No Ordinary Family’ – No Ordinary Quake

Secrets kept for the best reasons can still cause more harm than good


This article may contain spoilers.

The Powell family learned the hard way that keeping secrets has a painful price. Jim (Michael Chiklis) did not tell Steph (Julie Benz) about others having abilities because he did not want her to worry; J.J. (Jimmy Bennett) did not reveal that he had an ability because it would change the way his parents felt about him; and, for Daphne (Kay Panabaker), she learned that sharing other people’s secrets can be painful too — especially if you are wrong about the secret being kept.

Up until this point, it has been all fun and games for the Powells as they discovered their abilities, tested their limits, learned to adapt and worked on keeping their family secret. But their family secret has caused ripple effects throughout the rest of their lives. Jim and J.J. should have never felt that they had to keep such secrets. Whether Jim just wanted to protect someone he cared about or because J.J. wanted to sustain the feeling that he is special for who he is and not because of what he can do, keeping secrets ultimately had a destructive effect. Steph was angry that both her husband and her son felt it necessary to lie to her. For these secrets were keeping them all apart and not bringing them closer as a family.

In fact, the little white lies were wreaking havoc. The “I wont tell her because she’ll only worry” and the “they don’t need to know, it’s not hurting anybody” lies slowly created the cracks in the fabric of their family relationship. It was only after Jim shared with Steph about others having abilities that she could fully understand that whatever has happened has not just affected them — and the control group is suddenly much larger. As a scientist, this is critical information. Not to mention that she needs to know that there may be a very real threat to her and family that extends beyond just normal people finding out that they have abilities; imagine what a person with abilities may do once they find out? Such a discovery may bring unwanted attention and coercion to make the Powells use their abilities for unsavory purposes.

Then, for J.J., it was only after his secret was exposed that his family could truly appreciate when he did achieve something without using his abilities. The satisfaction of a job well done is much sweeter when earned.

At the root of their secrets were misguided intentions. Jim only wanted to help Rebecca (Rachel Miner); J.J. only wanted to be appreciated for who he was; and poor Daphne was only trying to help a fellow student by revealing her secrets. But white lies, misguided intentions did not prove to have the positive outcome they sought. It is time for the Powells to communicate more and work together to help each other and have each other’s backs. They are likely to need each other as others become aware how special they are. The clock is ticking and they need to be ready.

What Worked

Finally! It was about time that Steph’s motherly intuition kicked in and figured out what was really going on with J.J. As she remarked, there is no way this was the same boy from before the accident with problems passing school. For J.J. to suddenly be excelling in school, in sports and being accused of performance enhancement drugs, Steph should have been testing his blood from the start.

However, despite the late date in revealing J.J.’s secret, it was rather fun watching the bonding between J.J. and Katie (Autumn Reeser) over the encrypted computer files. It would certainly be cool if Steph employed J.J.’s abilities at the lab as an intern and give the three of them a super-powered edge on figuring out what happened. Plus, Katie’s enthusiasm over having secret identities and secret super powers is infectious.

When Steph told Jim, “Just because you’ve gotten into crime-fighting, does not make it a family business,” it was a fun nod to where the show is going. For this is exactly the direction that the Powells are headed in — whether they want to or not. In order to protect themselves, they will need to take a less ostrich-like stance and become proactive in dealing with those that may hunt them soon. Another clue was when Steph told Daphne, “We didn’t ask for these powers, but we should do what’s right.”

Just as Jim felt that he was destined to do something to stop criminals, Steph and Daphne are beginning to feel that they too must take a more assertive stance to help others. It is not enough to have special abilities to make one’s own life better; if one can, one should help others too. While Daphne was mistaken about the student-teacher relationship, her heart was in the right place. Her instincts were to protect someone and that is exactly what she should be doing.

Also it was cool how initially thought Rebecca’s shock-waves were created by a concussion grenade. Nice bit of real world realism masking what was really going on and a fun nod to “Warehouse 13.”

Finally, it was great to see that George (Romany Malco) is looking to expand their crime-fighting network but cultivating sources to help keep one step ahead of the police in tracking criminals. After all, information is power and befriending a local reporter made perfect sense.

What Didn’t Work

The abrupt capture of Rebecca and her quick disappearance felt like an unsatisfying ending to this week’s mystery. Just where was Rebecca being kept and why? It is time to ramp up the show’s darker mythology and let us see a bit more of what the villains are up to. Just having them lurking in the background feels unsatisfying. Let’s crank up the octane on this show!

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“No Ordinary Quake” was written by Todd Sklavin and Darren Swimmer, and directed by Timothy Busfield. “No Ordinary Family” stars Michael Chiklis, Julie Benz, Kay Panabaker, Jimmy Bennett, Autumn Reeser, Romany Malco, and Stephen Collins.

“No Ordinary Family” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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