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No Ordinary Family – “No Ordinary Mobster” – review
Wow. Apparently all the Powells needed was a scenic drive, some Cee-Lo, and a renewed sense of self-identity. “Mobster” was one of the tightest and best paced episodes of the season so far. It actually wove all three of the themes together! We had Jim shouldering the burdens of the city (and throwing in the “great responsibility” line to boot!), the weirdness of Global Tech, the alluring Watcher / Assassin dude, and some family silliness. And it actually worked! There are still a lot of clunky bits to this show, but I finally have some hope that they are hammering down their dynamic.
Oh, and this episode had Amy Acker! Kind of! She and George opened the episode with a threatening mobster, a little flirting, some “Happy Birthday, George!” partying, and then they shot her. Sorry, Acker fans! She’s alive, and I imagine she’ll be back, but it wasn’t the most auspicious start for her character. Someone should tell the writers that it’s best to shoot the pretty love interest after we’ve made eyes at her for a few episodes. We’ll care more!
This was actually a fairly George-centric episode. He has been trying to bust the city’s Albanian mafia (yes, really), but its evil ringleader, Luka, just keeps slipping out of the net. George hasn’t seen a lot of mafia movies, so he openly threatened Luka in the courtroom, which resulted in Ms. Acker’s critical shooting. George feels responsible, and Jim eagerly offers to help capture Luka. After all, this is what the two of them have been training for! But George wavers. Having since rented Eastern Promises and The Godfather, he fears that it will only aid Luka in his crimes.
But Jim doesn’t listen and muscles in while Luka is shaking down a drug dealer. Here it might be amusing to note that “Albanian” simply meant “guys without accents.” There actually is an Albanian mafia, and they’re renowned for their violence, but not even the FBI has much data on them. So, it’s probably best not to use them in a television show or else they seem kind of phony. (Please don’t hurt me, Albanian mafia.) Luckily for Jim, he’s successful at stopping their bullets, and he throws a van at them. Unfortunately, they see his face–and so does the mysterious Watcher.
Stephanie has decided that JJ could use some genius guidance, and calls Katie in to keep his brain busy. Katie eagerly agrees, because by her own admission, she has no life. The reason she has no dating life? She can namedrop Reed Richards and Lex Luthor. Ouch. I criticized “No Ordinary Family” for its clunky depictions of humans (especially last week with the inlaws), but this was dead on. Family writers know of what they speak.
JJ and Katie bond over mutual geekery, and JJ feels bad that she can’t meet nice guys. So he does what any sociopath would do–he makes a fake dating profile and chats her up. Now, initially I thought, “Oh, he has a crush on her, and will use this as a way to admit it.” No, he plans on asking her out and standing her up in some bizarre idea that this will help her self-esteem. She’ll know there are nice guys out there, who will lure her in with conversations about Avatar and then never speak to her again! JJ…man…what the hell.
Boy problems were also on the agenda for Daphne. She, too, met a nice boy, who took her to an modernist art exhibit. Her massive insecurity led her to bring JJ along, so he could feed her intelligent art history and theory mentally. They bonded…and then he went back to his ex-girlfriend. Well played, Family. If there was one thing I didn’t expect from you, it was a scathing and honest critique of dating!
Dr. King brought Stephanie into his office, and warned her to stop pursuing Dr. Volson’s research. He tells her the path of her predecessor literally leads to madness. Katie, with all of her comic book knowledge, has figured something is iffy with that story, so she encourages Stephanie to run to Mexico and talk with his widow, Mrs. Volson. Stephanie learns a shocking secret: Dr. Volson created a serum that cured his wife’s paralysis and gave them superpowers. But the powers proved to be temporary, and their loss drove Dr. Volson to suicide. Stephanie returns home, her fears about their powers reinforced. She gently tells Jim what she’s learned, and warns him that this life could disappear at any time. It could even kill him. Now Jim has to worry about his powers vanishing and Luka the Mobster taking out his entire family.
Luka firmly believes Jim is a superpowered cop and tries to extort George into setting him free. But the Watcher has other plans and telekinetically stops his heart, keeping Jim’s secret.
We knew dark plans were afoot, but now they’re creeping ever closer to the Powells. Over at GlobalTech, Mrs. Volson calls Dr. King and assures him that she “stuck to the script.” She gets up out of her chair, and walks away. Something tells me we’ll be meeting Dr. Volson very soon, too. Suspicious, King calls in the Watcher, and asks him to keep an eye on the Powell family. In another twist, the Watcher looks at the picture and says “Hmm. I’ve never seen them before.” Is he protecting them? Or does he have an even nastier agenda?
Whatever it is, Katie is going to be the first to suffer the consequences. Because as she sat waiting for Mr. Dream Geek to arrive, the Watcher smoothly slipped into the seat opposite her, and pretended to be him. Katie, if you can hear me, run! There’s a reason he looks like Dr. Doom!
As I said, it was actually a pretty good episode. The mythology is coming together, there were some genuine twists, and a character I really like is now in danger of a telekinetic creep. And did I mention that Jim finally gave the “we have great responsibilities” speech? Yeah. It’s about time he finally settles into his role of superhero. Please keep it up, Family. Oh, and give the Albanians some accents.