While "No Ordinary Family" is far from the strongest show on television today, Tuesday's episode, "No Ordinary Brother", showed again why Michael Chiklis is considered such a good actor.
The episode centered around the sudden arrival of Jim's brother Mike, who it turned out owed $150,000 to a loan shark. They had the typical big brother-little brother relationship, where Jim was always the responsible one and Mike was the screwup. "NOF" wasn't breaking any ground with the story, but Chicklis did so well that it didn't matter. He's the straw that stirs the drink on this show, and he's doing a great job making it watchable.
There were two other developments I liked this week:
- the addition of Rebecca Mader to the cast, as a shapeshifter who is also the VP of the company where Stephanie works. The character was introduced as a superior of evil Dr. King, but at the end it appeared more like she was working for him, as part of his evil plot of evil (they're really trying hard to push the "Dr. King is evil" agenda). I don't know whether Mader's character was always evil, or replaced by an evil shapeshifter, but that really doesn't matter at this point. She's another evil character, and more importantly Mader is back on my TV after mostly disappearing from the last couple seasons of "Lost."
- Jimmy's magical super-intelligence powers NOT working as planned, when he and Jim were trying to bet on horse races to raise money to pay off Mike's debt. Jimmy used his super brain to predict how the races would turn out. When Jimmy's brain turned out a 12-1 long shot in the second-to-last race, they let all their winnings ride. Only the long shot broke down in the race, and Jimmy freaked out, saying "I can't factor an injury". The first time they showed a horse-racing scene I was all ready to criticize the writers for reducing horse racing to a "formula", but then they showed exactly why it CAN'T be reduced to a formula. They've still got a long way to go to make up for the football debacle from earlier this season, but this is a start.
Lastly, the secondary story between Stephanie and Katie was relatively weak, but it gave them a reason to introduce Mader and immediately gave her something to do, so I'll let it slide. Plus, Autumn Reeser continues to be given at least one incredibly dorky thing to say each week (this week it was a Tony Stark/Iron Man reference), so she'll always get a pass in my book. I just wish they hadn't resolved the journal cliffhanger as quickly and as neatly as they did with the erased memory cliffhanger. It's getting to be a tease.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.