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‘No Ordinary Family’ – No Ordinary Mobster

Playing super hero can put one in the cross-hairs of a super villain


This article may contain spoilers.

As feared all along, the Bennetts are now facing a double threat: one, their powers may only be temporary and may fail them at the wrong time; and two, a super villain has finally figured out that there may be a few more additions to add to his vault of those with super-enhanced abilities. It is one thing to be given a special gift, and another to have it taken away. With the warning their abilities may be only temporary hanging over them, all the fun and games that the Bennetts have been having is perhaps about to evaporate — and Jim’s (Michael Chiklis) attempts to play super-hero have put him on Dr. King’s (Stephen Collins) radar after Watcher (Josh Stewart) saw Jim’s latest crime-busting adventure.

After being seen a number of times during his attempts to play super-hero, it is about time that Jim realized that he is too recognizable and found something more effective than a ski mask to hide his identity. Jim’s heedless disregard for protecting his own family, by recklessly engaging with criminals and nearly getting caught by the police has become a huge liability. It is one thing to want to help. It is another to do it without a better game plan. Jim needs to understand that it takes a team effort to be effective when confronting criminals and that keeping his face hidden and identity secret is of paramount importance. He cannot endanger his family or jeopardize his job by being so careless.

The same can be said of Steph (Julie Benz). After being told directly by Dr. King that she needed to stop investigating Dr. Volkson’s work, she dashes off to visit Dr. Volkson’s widow, across the border. Like Dr. King would not have taken precautions against such a thing, and because she did not use her passport to cross into Mexico, she may have just tipped Dr. King off that she has an ability. When someone is watching your movements, it behooves one to lay low — not do something so outrageous that it will garner even more attention.

The Bennetts are still acting like what they are doing is not being noticed by those around them. But people one works with will ultimately notice such pronounced changes of behavior and demeanor. Jim is no longer an office wallflower. He is an over-confident, wanna-be super hero. Steph is no longer a harried mother trying to meet the pressing demands of her job and the responsibilities of being a parent. She is a woman who can suddenly find the time to do it all without breaking a sweat. Just like Detective Cordero (Guillermo Diaz) has taken notice that Jim seems to be too interested in apprehension of criminals; Dr. King has noticed that Steph is suddenly too capable and good at her job and that she is treading into dangerous scientific waters with her pursuit of Dr. Volkson’s work. As Dr. King told her, “I’ll always have my eye on you, Stephanie. That you can count on.”

As if the situation that J.J. (Jimmy Bennett) ran into at school by going from a borderline flunkie to an overnight super genius and being accused of cheating was not enough to forewarn them that sudden changes of behavior can lead to people wondering what is going on, Steph and Jim need to stop acting like their actions are going unnoticed. They are taking too many obvious risks and it will get them, or someone they care about hurt — particularly now that Steph has learned that their abilities may vanish at any time. Does she want to be stranded in Mexico if her super-speed suddenly quit? Does Jim want to be lying in a hospital bed the next time he tries to stop a bullet with his hand? These are surely not scenarios that they want to make realities.

It is time that the Bennetts stopped acting like they are the only ones who notice their changed behaviors and stop taking risks they cannot afford — especially not with Watcher keeping such close tabs on them. How much longer before Watcher discloses their little family secret to Dr. King? Are the Bennetts ready to be super-heroes to fight for their lives, or are they ready to run and hide?

What Worked

It was high time that Watcher took on a more visible and threatening role in the Bennetts lives. That he slipped in so seamlessly by taking over the fake online persona that J.J. created was brilliant. Josh Stewart’s calculating performance sent chills down our spines as he slipped into the chair at Katie’s (Autumn Reeser) table where she was expecting her date with “Will.” The cool and collected persona makes us wonder if he has an alternative agenda, or if he is merely a good little foot-soldier for the evil Dr. King. The mysteries surrounding Watcher and what game he is playing is ratcheting up the intrigue. It is fascinating to see where it all leads.

It was also great to see that George (Romany Malco) finally got a love interest too. It was just a shame that she promptly got shot and sidelined for most of the episode. When one has an actress of Amy Acker’s caliber it would be nice to have her play a bit more of a substantive role. Hopefully, her role will expand in the future.

Another cool turn of events was having Katie volunteer to tutor J.J., which got him more involved at the lab. But instead of having J.J. obsess over Katie’s love life, it would be cooler if they paired up to investigate the Bennett’s powers. It felt like a distraction to have J.J. play Cyrano de Bergerac, when he could be doing something much more integral to his mom’s work.

It was very thoughtful of Katie to remember that Steph may need a stash of power bars to take on her quick trip to the Mexico border to question Dr. Volkson’s widow. Burning up all those calories does require a bit more nourishment along the way and it was nice that Katie took the initiative to make sure that Steph would not pass out half-way on her journey.

What Didn’t Work

After watching Daphne (Kay Panabaker) try to help people in the last few episodes with her ability, it is a shame that she back-slid into using her telepathy to merely impress a guy at an art gallery. It felt so superficial and unnecessary. It was much cooler when Katie sought to use her abilities to help her dad in his crime-fighting endeavors.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“No Ordinary Mobster” was written by Marc Guggenheim, and directed by John Polson. “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 8:00 pm ET on ABC.

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