No Ordinary Family does its best Die Hard impression

Illustration for article titled No Ordinary Family does its best Die Hard impression

Tonight's No Ordinary Family offered a Die Hard style hostage crisis, with Jim doing his best Bruce Willis impersonation to save his fellow cops, including Warehouse 13 star Joanne Kelly. And then there's some superpowered "truth or dare."


"No Ordinary Detention" locked its main characters in three different sets of enclosed spaces. Jim and George get caught up in a hostage crisis at the police station, but Jim's got to be extra careful to save the day without arousing the suspicion's of an internal affair office, played by Joanne Kelly (Warehouse 13's Myka Bering). Stephanie and Katie are stuck in lockdown with an ailing Joshua and a shapeshifting Victoria Morrow (Lost's Rebecca Mader), who pretends to be Katie in an attempt to accomplish...something. (Evil masterplans tend to be kinda fuzzy on this show.) Finally, JJ and Daphne are sent to detention, where they play superpowered Truth or Dare with their respective love interests. You can probably guess which two of these three stories are actually interesting.

In particular, the Jim and George story is a ton of fun, if only because it's hard to go wrong when you're ripping off a movie as great as Die Hard. Still, No Ordinary Family finds some fun twists on the now well-worn formula, and Michael Chiklis is clearly having a ton of fun getting to pretend to be that other bald action star. But don't take my word for it - here's all the best Die Hard moments together:

I've been looking forward to this episode for a while, if only because I was intrigued to see Joanne Kelly play someone who wasn't Myka. She didn't get a ton to do, and Internal Affairs Officer Rachel Jacobs might as well have been Agent Bering on special assignment, but she did a good job. I particularly liked this final scene between her and Jim, in which Myka Rachel sums up Jim's character in a single sentence. It's a corny sentiment, but anyone who has seen Warehouse 13 knows how well Kelly can sell corniness:

The Stephanie and Katie story also had its fun moments, particularly when Victoria started pretending to be Katie. Autumn Reeser, who's usually the best part of this show anyway, was particularly awesome here, as her Victoria-Katie worked in some nice hints of Rebecca Mader's performance - I even thought I detected some subtly British inflections. Still, the real highlight is the impromptu science fiction quiz that a clearly out-of-her-depth Stephane is forced to give to the two Katies. Take a look:

Of course, we can all agree how woefully incomplete Katie's answer is. Any real Battlestar Galactica fan knows the president was Laura Roslin, followed by Gauis Baltar, briefly Tom Zarek, Roslin again, Zarek during the failed coup d'etat, Roslin one last time, and only then Lee Adama, followed by Romo Lampkin. And yes, I did that from memory, because I want to prove to you all that I'm definitely not an evil British shapeshifter. Well, I'm not a shapeshifter, at any rate. (I did, however, forget the name of Roslin's predecessor President Adar. I hope, with time, you can all forgive me.)

This was a fun episode of No Ordinary Family, even if I really didn't need to watch a bunch of angsty teens play Truth or Dare in some half-baked Breakfast Club homage. The show took a couple of familiar plots - the Die Hard scenario and the evil duplicate - and threw in just enough little twists and executed them with just enough verve and style to make them entertaining. No Ordinary Family might just be closing in on a workable formula that can turn it into a really solid show. For now, an evil shapeshifting Katie, genre-friendly guest stars, and Jim gleefully saying "Yippee-ki-yay!" while crawling through air ducts is enough for me.


Imitation is the best form of flattery, but i would want that the show find its own voice, and turn to be in its own way as good as this episode. Maybe 40 mins aren't enough time to develop a good scenario for this, but a 2 (or 3?) part episode could give enough space to make all pieces fit together.

Anyway, characters still need a bit of development. still the kids are just focused in getting the boy/girl friend of the week, Jim is just fighting the criminal of the week, but Steph is just in the middle of the important action for the story of the show. And a final conflict with the boss (still have to give a hint of his power, must have a mindblowing one to not fear at all the Watcher) that really requires the entire family powers should be at the end of this season. Of course, i could be assuming too much and not being the show goal to make an epic saga, but just to have fun.