Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Foot: No Ordinary Family "No Ordinary Anniversary" Review

A weekend PGA tournament moves faster than No Ordinary Family. The last 30 seconds of an NBA game (that somehow takes 15 minutes) moves faster than an episode of this show. The series continues to plod along, uninterested in telling interesting stories. Instead, the merry band of writers prefer to treat the viewers with lousy B stories like "the kids were left alone and they can't let the parents know that they had company over" because the audience can really invest in a story when the stakes are, "the car will be taken away for a few weeks or JJ can't get the computer he was already not allowed to buy at the beginning of the episode."

The A story involved the Powell parents, as per usual. The happy couple's 18th anniversary arrived and the two decided to get a hotel room and some dinner. For one night, Jim swore he would not fight crime (i wonder how many times a season he will swear to not fight crime before actually fighting crime 2-4 scenes later). Meanwhile, a serial arsonist ran through town setting fire to various buildings. George and Jim simply could not ignore the serial arsonist. Shortly after Steph gives up she and Jim's table, the serial arsonist strikes and sticks around to watch the remains of his charred work.

Jim recognizes the man from an earlier fire, and the serial arsonist remembers that Jim is a nuisance. One would think the arsonist would learn to step away after the crime but he doesn't. Jim and the serial arsonist fight until Stephanie joins in on the fun. Together, the married couple get the man locked up; however, arrest is the last thing they want because Jim knows the guy is a supervillain and dangerous to police. Jim, Steph and George scramble to intercept the transport vehicle with the arsonist inside.

Unfortunately, Sylar II intercepts the vehicle first and sets the arsonist free. You see, the serial arsonist got his powers from the nefarious Dr. King. The serial arsonist does not get saved by Jim. In fact, the complete opposite happens. The supervillain dies at the hands of the Powells though Stephanie claims the murder was in self-defense. The two experience maybe thirty seconds of guilt before they rest comfortably in bed, though Jim looks troubled before the scene ends.

I hoped the story would lead to the Powells discovering the duplicity of Dr. King; however, the story showed that Jim won't be a hero all the time, that not even he can prevent accidents (even though he slammed the arsonist into the thing that would eventually result in his death so it wasn't quite an accident although the contraption had no rhyme or reason besides easy plot device). Also, Jim and Steph realized that they are more powerful together than apart--a theme that has disappeared since the pilot episode, and a theme I thought the show would build itself around. Nevertheless, the theme would've resonated more if the couple had trouble in previous episodes.

I mentioned the broad beats of the B story already. JJ and Daphne clearly cheated during the poker game and won money through cheating. The show sent that message to families across America. In fact, the duo bribed the school security guard with the dirty money. The B story was complete filler and entirely unnecessary. Unfortunately, the show has developed an alarming lack of well-developed characters with stories of their own. If the show digs into cliche, parents-children shenanigans with so much season left, I shudder to think what kind of stories JJ and Daphne will find themselves in. Of course, No Ordinary Family is by-the-book so the possibility of more by-the-book cliche storylines is great. Jon Harmon Feldman isn't exactly Joss Whedon or Damon Lindelof.

Also, Steph's lab partner has begun to follow the trail of Dr. King after his abrupt firing. The plot thickens at a snail's pace.

Elisabeth R. Finch & Kate Barnow wrote the episode. David Semel directed it.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.