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‘No Ordinary Family’ – No Ordinary Accident

Even superheroes can have bad days, glitches and allergic reactions

This article may contain spoilers.

Ever since the Powells discovered their new super-human abilities, they never quite considered the possibility that those powers would one day vanish. Just as quickly as the powers arrived, they can disappear too. Jim (Michael Chiklis) was the only one to fall prey to a sudden power-loss, but as they analogized, even Superman had kryptonite — he was not always invincible. In Jim’s case, he was allergic to Steph’s (Julie Benz) new lip gloss which contained an ingredient that nullified his super strength and invincibility.

But not knowing initially what was the cause of his power-loss was, proved problematic. Were his powers vanishing permanently or simply intermittently? Was it a virus or an allergic reaction to something Jim was coming into contact with? It is never a good thing when a super-hero can be felled by a simple flu virus or a tube of lip gloss.

This episode dealt with a myriad of issues, one being unpredictability and susceptibility; and the other was should the Powells stand by and do nothing when they have been blessed with such extraordinary abilities?

Jim may want to be the crime-fighter in the family, but even Steph and J.J. (Jimmy Bennett) felt the responsibility of having abilities that could save a life. J.J. of any of them should not have felt as compelled to save his teacher’s life as Mr. Litchfield (Jason Antoon) was going to recommend possible criminal prosecution for J.J. trying to alter his friend Kenny’s (James Earl) grades. But feeling responsible for Mr. Litchfield being in the wrong place at the wrong time and nearly costing him his life in the process, J.J. could not just stand helplessly by. He was insistent that because his family could help Mr. Litchfield that they must — otherwise he was going to die.

They were ultimately successful in saving Mr. Litchfield, but even Jim realized that they cannot save everyone all the time. They have amazing abilities, but they cannot be everywhere at once to save the whole world. They can only do what they can with the abilities they have. That may mean saving one person at a time.

With great power, comes great responsibility. But it also has limits. Superheroes are limited in what they can do too — and it comes with great risk. Jim could be identified by any number of the criminals he stops. Steph and J.J. could have been recognized at the hospital — and in fact, given Mr. Litchfield’s convenient memory loss after the surgery, perhaps he overheard all their discussion about the surgery to save his life. Sudden power-loss is but one threat, having their secret identities revealed is another threat.

With Watcher a.k.a. Will (Josh Stewart) closing in at Dr. King’s (Stephen Collins) behest, keeping their abilities secret is becoming of paramount importance.

What Worked

Speaking of Watcher, it was cool to see that his powers may be induced by injections, and not something he has all the time. It will also be interesting to see if he is able to take on different kinds of abilities depending on the type of injection he receives. It also makes him seem less like an evil villain and more of a pawn in Dr. Kings game. Then, as he bonded with Katie (Autumn Reeser) about having a mentor, one got the sense that he is a lonely person perhaps a bit misguided in what he is doing. Is there a path of redemption that will be explored for him? Or will he continue to choose to be the mindless killing machine that Dr. King has turned him into?

The nod to Twilight and X-Men was also cutely done when Katie described Will as having a dash of Edward and Wolverine mixed in. While Katie is undoubtedly going to have her heart crushed for falling for the wrong guy, it is adorable watching her be in love. She is equally assured and uncertain in dating and her portrayal is a delight to watch.

Also taking a nice turn, it was great that J.J. finally called Daphne (Kay Panabaker) on her superficial, self-serving behavior in using her powers to trick Bret (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) into liking her. When he told her, “What a waste of your powers — you’re manipulating some guy into liking you and it is not even you that you’re getting him to like, it was cheer-worthy. Daphne needed to be reminded that Bret was not actually falling for her, he was falling for an illusion — the person he thought she was, not who she really was. She would have hated always knowing that he was really into someone she was only pretending to be. Real relationships must be based on honesty or it will never be real.

J.J. also reminded Daphne of a lesson that she needed to be paying closer attention to: are they going to use their powers only for self-gain or to help others? J.J. was no longer just using his abilities to impress others; he was tutoring his fellow football friend Kenny in math so that Kenny could get the football scholarship he needed. Every time Daphne seems like she is going to stop being a self-centered teenager, she backslides. Thus, J.J.s haunting reminder, “Who knows how long these powers are going to last and if they were somehow to end today. You have to ask yourself, did you do the best you could with them while you had a chance? ‘Cause I am,” was a wake-up call to Daphne.

Finally, it was nice to see how worried George (Romany Malco) was about letting Jim continue crime-fighting when his abilities may suddenly quit on him — for there is no sense in saving a life if it costs a life in the process. Jim may be invincible most of the time, but he is one of a kind. He is irreplaceable.

What Didn’t Work

Amy Acker, playing Amanda, made an all too brief appearance again in this episode. It would be great to see her more actively involved with the show instead of being relegated to arm candy.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“No Ordinary Accident” was written by Leigh Dana Jackson and Sonny Postiglione, and directed by Tom Verica. “No Ordinary Family” stars Michael Chiklis, Julie Benz, Kay Panabaker, Jimmy Bennett, Autumn Reeser, Romany Malco, Stephen Collins, Josh Stewart.

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

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