No Ordinary Family, "No Ordinary Beginning": an ordinary end?

Quick Take: No Ordinary Family, "No Ordinary Beginning"
Is this the end of this super family?


Review: No Ordinary Family, "No Ordinary Beginning"
(S0120) While it was promoted as the season finale of the ABC show No Ordinary Family, it’s more than likely going to be the series finale as one of the stars, Michael Chiklis, has been seen shooting another pilot for next season. But there has been no official statement given about the series’ status so there is that slim chance it could return.

No Ordinary Family is about the Powells, an ordinary family who while on vacation emerge from a plane crash to find that they are nothing but ordinary. Somehow they have been imbued with superpowers and have no idea why.

Jim (Chiklis) is the patriarch of the family. He is a police sketch artist with super strength and invulnerability.

Stephanie (Julie Benz) is Jim’s wife and a scientist. Somehow her company is involved in what happened to them. She has incredible speed.

J.J. (Jimmy Bennett) is the couple’s teenage son who finds himself gifted with a super genius brain.

Daphne (Kay Panabaker), the slightly older daughter has the ability to read minds and impose her thoughts on others.

George St. Cloud (Romany Malco) is a District Attorney and best friend of Jim who helps him search for and find criminals to catch.

Katie Andrews (Autumn Reeser) is Stephanie’s nerdy but hot assistant who knows everything about comics, science fiction, and how to keep her boss’ secret.

"No Ordinary Beginning" starts with George on a plane that is about to crash and having no idea how he got there. Suddenly it’s a day earlier and J.J. is being confronted by a frantic Mr. Litchfield (Jason Antoon) who needs the boy to finish some equations that he gave him. JJ says no and tells him that he can do them himself and that he won't be helping him anymore.

Litchfield immediately calls Dr. King (Stephen Collins) who is busy fighting with Xena, the warrior princess. (Well, that’s not exactly her name, but up to this point she’s only been referred to as Mrs. X and she is being played by Lucy Lawless who will always be Xena, so feel free to make up your own mind). It seems that Mrs. X is furious with Dr. King for his incompetence in getting the secret of how the Powells have managed to get permanent powers while her experimental subjects only have temporary abilities. So she fires him.

After speaking with J.J., Jim and George head off to have a word with the teacher for pressuring his son, but find Litchfield dead in his classroom having been electrocuted. While most people would think this a simple accident, Jim is smart enough to realize that it must be the work of another super. When Jim calls home to warn his family, the power goes out and J.J. is abducted.

As the family searches frantically for their missing son, Joshua (Josh Stewart) tries to reconnect with Katie and is exited to find that she is having his baby. But while the two try to mend their broken relationship, George is trying to figure out why her obstetrician doesn’t have any recollection of who she is. He reviews the surveillance tapes from the date of her visit and discovers that the shape shifter is back.

J.J. awakens to find himself in the clutches of Mrs. X who is threatening to kill him if he cannot come up with the solution to make the effects of the super serum permanent. But he doesn’t know why and ends up locked up with the real Joshua.

Still with no clue as to J.J.’s whereabouts the family goes after Dr. King to make him confess what he has done with their son. But King refuses to tell them what has happened until after Stephanie injects him with the serum. He’s had cancer for 18 years and while he has no super powers, periodic injections of the serum is the only thing keeping him alive. Once he regains his strength he tells them why the CEO of the company, Helen Burton (Mrs. X finally has a name), wants J.J. to solve the problem so she can turn her 80 test subjects into unstoppable soldiers.

After fighting their way through multiple groups of armed guards inside Global Tech, they decide to take the elevator and end up being gassed into unconsciousness.

Knowing all their secrets, Helen separates Jim from the others and gives Jim and Daphne drugs to dampen their powers. Putting a gun to Daphne’s head she tells J.J. that this is his last chance to solve the problem or she dies. In a complete panic, the answer comes to him. There is no secret to the permanence. The reason that his family has their powers is because of the plane crash. The fire aboard the plane turned the serum into a gas which they inhaled. And since they were under such duress and pumped full of adrenaline, it mixed in more thoroughly with their body chemistry.

Having the answer, Helen leaves them locked up with a couple of guards with an order to kill them after she departs. But before they can finish the job, Dr. King makes a sudden appearance and rescues them. Sending Stephanie off to stop Helen from escaping, King goes to recue Jim and Joshua. Once Joshua leaves to find Katie, Dr. King turns the gun on Jim, shooting him multiple times in the chest. This is his one chance to kill Jim and have Stephanie all to himself.

While Stephanie can move lightning fast, she misses Helen’s helicopter by a few seconds. The two kids arrive shortly afterwards followed by Dr. King. When questioned as to Jim’s whereabouts he tells them that he was too late. The guards killed him. Completely shocked by this new development they start to break down. Their grief is short lived as a Jim shows up seconds later pissed off and ready to tear off the Doctor’s head.

After smashing him through a metal dumpster they find that King does have a super power. He cannot be killed. But before Jim can react the Doctor injects himself with multiple doses and starts tossing him around like a rag doll. If not for J.J.’s quick thinking and his deadly accuracy with a syringe full of antidote they all would all be dead.

Joshua and George arrive at Katie’s house where Joshua confronts the shape shifter and throws her out. Katie goes into premature labor and her not so ordinary baby is born. It's six months early, but the baby is born and looks perfectly normal just like a baby carried to full term.

George follows the shape shifter and discovers the 80 test subjects being loaded into a plane. While snooping around he’s mistaken for one of the subjects, knocked unconscious, and loaded onto the plane. It’s the same plane that we found him on when the episode first started, but now we know how he got there and what’s about to happen to him.

With all of the excitement over, the Powells return home only to be greeted by a NSA agent who tells them of the plane crash. When Jim asks what that would have to do with them, he replies by telling them that the government knows about their super powers and needs their help.

The final scene is George walking away from a plane crash and his eyes are glowing.

A lot happened in the season finale, and a number of threads were wrapped up, but did the show leave with any big cliff hangers? No, not really. It left off with some new possibilities for the next chapter in the Powell’s adventures, and finished in a place where fans could at least feel satisfied even if it doesn’t return in the fall.

Video: No Ordinary Family, "No Ordinary Beginning"
Check out the episode in full from Hulu, while available:

By Todd Karella

About the author

After doing a few film reviews during an internship with the L.A. Times Todd learned how much he enjoyed it. He has written articles for the Daily Pilot, Blog Critics and is a former member of the Masked Movie Snobs.

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On: Thursday, April 7, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

I found the premiere to be quite promising, but grew bored pretty quickly over subsequent weeks. I love Chiklis (there's a shrine to The Shield somewhere in my house), and especially loved Malco's work on this show, and the fun/friendly family vibe worked pretty well. But there wasn't enough drama or comedy or intriuge in there to keep me coming back, I suppose. 

Great review and take, Todd !

On: Thursday, April 7, 2011
Todd Karella said:

Interesting. I'm always curious to hear why people leave a show. And I'm trying to understand why somethign like Smallville lasts forever and this and Heroes goes away quickly after a big set up and positive initial reviews.


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