Wednesday, May 18, 2011

No Ordinary Family "No Ordinary Animal" Review

It's been more than two months since I wrote about No Ordinary Family. In my March 1 review of "No Ordinary Love," I anticipated the series would return in April with six new episodes. The series ended forever on April 5 so I was wrong. The next new episode aired on March 22 then ABC burned the penultimate episode on a Saturday night at 10PM. I abandoned the series in March and early April because of family matters.

I didn't watch "No Ordinary Animal" until a few weeks ago. Halfway through the episode, I became annoyed and turned the episode off. I finally returned to the episode this morning, knowing that I only needed to watch twenty more minutes. The episode dealt with the consequences of Stephanie injecting the serum into Lucas. He became an animal. Mrs. X ordered him to kill anyone with super powers (I think). For most of the episode, Lucas attacked various people. The Powells investigated who could be behind the attacks. Stephanie suspected it was the man she used the serum on to prove her loyalty and trust to Dr. King. Things became personal when Lucas attacked Stephanie and she became infected. A big fight between Jim and Lucas happened. Lucas went to jail. The focus switched to saving Stephanie's life. Jim brought her to King, who used serum to counteract the infection. King warned that the injection would have side-effects. Of course, it does and Stephanie somehow runs into the future. How's that for lazily summarizing the A story?

I expected Lucas to grow into a villain. The character had potential because of Stephanie's relationship to the monster that she created; however, this is No Ordinary Family. Whenever a shred of potential existed for the story, Feldman seemingly shot it down in the writer's room. Mrs. X is a threat but her connection with the Powells is non-existent. Dr. King's nothing more than a bit player now in the grand scheme of the narrative. The writers could've explored themes found in Firefly's "Bushwhacked." Doc Jensen eloquently expressed the theme of that episode: people and their responsibility to others in catastrophic situations. I would've been interested in Steph's internal struggle because she's responsible for his new nature. I remember, though, that Jim and Steph killed a villain earlier in the episode with zero consequences. Through Jim, NOF removes blame from Stephanie. Jim tells Lucas that serum enhances the core of one's essence of being (now he didn't use the words...instead he said 'you were always an animal...that's what yo momma said...this show deserved cancellation). Jim's line suggests that Lucas is inherently evil. The line discards the notion of free will and suggests a kind of determinism in the evil characters in the series. It's problematic and frustrating. In the 18th episode, though, it's silly for me to expect complex, well-written villains.

Meanwhile, Chris and Daphne ditched school. Chris convinced his girlfriend to use her powers to manipulate the minds of the faculty members who tried to discipline them. Daphne listens to her boyfriend. Sometime between the concert and her fun with Lucas, the girl came to her senses and decided that maybe Chris shouldn't influence her to mis-use her powers. Daphne suggests the two take a break. The couple went from a nice story in episode seventeen to a break-up in the following story. I thought their story in "No Ordinary Love" worked as a commentary on the importance of truth in a relationship and the importance of a supportive spouse. Apparently not. Daphne actually broke up with Chris after she read Mr. Litchfield's mind and discovered that getting the equation was the difference between his life or death. Speaking of the equation,, we learned that Dr. King and Mrs. X plan on using the equation to make the powers permanent in the supers. They won't succeed.

"No Ordinary Animal" briefly flirts with the idea that Katie gained superpowers somehow. When Lucas tries to attack her, she uses her mind to throw the dude across the neighborhood. It turns out that she's pregnant with Sylar II's baby. Usually, pregnancy arcs annoy me; however, the series has been cancelled so it doesn't bother me.

Zak Estrin and Jon Harmon Feldman wrote the episode. Greg Beeman directed it. I plan on writing about "No Ordinary Future" Saturday and the series finale on Tuesday. I'm following the final broadcast schedule for NOF for no reason, really.

The Everwood Season 1 re-watch begins tomorrow in The Foot. Tell your friends.


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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.