After the season premiere of Ordinary Joe established its plot and introduced a handful of characters, Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 2, “Requiem,” managed to continue a steady pace in its storytelling venture. Nothing crazy, but it’s obvious the writers have a direction and a story they want to tell.
With its prescribed course of action, it leaves minimal room for changes. But a show that knows what it wants to say and where it wants to go has its strengths. It isn’t just along for the ride. Each decision is purposeful.
We’ve seen it before in This Is Us, a show that has extreme success in dotting its i’s and crossing its t’s. Viewers trust the storytelling process and know that every move is deliberate.
“Requiem,” does just that. Each moment leads up to something bigger and nothing feels forced.
In every storyline, Jenny has Joe’s baby. So before the fork in the road, Chris always exists. Whether he was put up for adoption or is being raised by Jenny and her new husband he’s always an option, linking Joe and Jenny forever. So, if you’re already #TeamJenny, I think it’s safe to say that’s probably the outcome that we’re in for by the end of the season.
When a show reveals its character’s motivations through storytelling rather than through direct dialogue that’s what elevates bad storytelling to meaningful storytelling. It’s through Joe’s actions and his past that despite the moving pieces and the changing elements of each timeline, one constant remains: Joe wants children.
Joe’s father passed away during 9/11 and in flashbacks, we’re told from Joe’s perspective how he believes he was the root cause of his father’s death. While we know this not to be true, and that his one decision during childhood to stay home for a battle of the bands rather than go to Denver with his father for a Giants baseball game did not cause his father’s death, it’s something that’s haunted him for his entire life.
He says he stays away from 9/11 memorials because he would rather not remember his father’s death, and while this is true to a certain extent, the deeper reasons lie in his guilt and shame.
His tendency to only reveal bits of the truth and conceal the deeper parts is also a constant character flaw. One that has put his relationship with Jenny in peril. This flaw is abundantly clear throughout the timelines. The decision to make his character consistent is welcomed and keeps things from getting totally confused. Yes, his character has different amplified traits in each chronology, but at the core Joe is Joe.
Even in Rockstar Joe’s life, he’s chosen to pursue an investigation to find Chris, even against Jenny’s wishes and without Amy’s knowledge. This will certainly put his marriage with Amy on the rocks as well, even though he’s already on his way.
The strong desire for finding Chris and having children stems from the loss of his father. Since he missed that connection with his father at an early age, his hope to reconcile this relationship is through a child.
And although, he’s not doing such a great job of reconciliation with Chris in the second alternative timeline, by the end of the episode, he’s accepted his flaw and actively began the process of change. We’re already seeing character growth!
Admittedly, tears were shed during the memorial scene. It was a beautiful tribute and close enough to the actual 9/11 2oth year anniversary that it was meaningful. Ordinary Joe is really trying to be a mix of A Million Little Things and This Is Us, while successfully finding its own version and bearings.
I haven’t turned away yet, and am excited to continue returning for new episodes. So, I’d say while it’s not totally riveting, it’s at least heartfelt. And the good news is that it’s only the beginning. There’s always room for improvement.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Don’t forget to leave your comments down below!
- On a technical note, it’s helpful to have a more distinguishable filter for each storyline, but the red, green, and blue hues are a bit too strong for my liking. They could dial it down a bit to make it less intense.
- For future reference: Amy storyline (red), Jenny storyline (green), and police storyline (blue).
- Also, the title sequence is a bit strange. Why no music and no sound? Ordinary Joe has the storytelling part down, but some of the editing needs work!
Ordinary Joe Review: Mask On Mask Off (1×05)
It’s Halloween time on Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 5, “Mask On Mask Off,” and some unsettling secrets were revealed! Initially, I thought this show was going to be a wholesome ponderance about different life choices. Little did I know we were going to get some big drama.
While the show’s narrative is mostly third person, there’s no doubt it’s focused on Joe. The challenge is balancing three storylines and furthering multiple characters while providing more than a one-dimensional cast. Ordinary Joe understands the assignment but struggles to execute it well.
Through flashbacks, Eric’s coming out story is explored. It wasn’t a terrible scene, but nothing special. The dialogue between young Joe and young Eric was a bit cheesy, with Joe responding to Eric’s news, saying, “how can I support you?” It’s a nice moment shared, but there could have been more.
Even as Eric’s identity is explored, it’s not at the center of this episode, so it instead feels like a throwaway storyline.
Couples therapy seemed to have smoothed things over in Jenny and Joe’s marriage, and Jenny rescinded the divorce papers. We knew it was going to happen. They’re just too good together. Although, Joe’s marriage to Amy in the red storyline is struggling and hitting new lows.
Joe continued to withhold his big secret from Amy, despite being relentless in connecting with Zeke. But, as expected, Bobby was the one to tell Amy that Joe’s been seen with Jenny a few too many times. In this red storyline, I thought Bobby was safe and not so overt with his attraction to Amy. However, during the Halloween soiree for her campaign, he puts on the googly eyes, and yep, they sleep together.
It would be easy to blame Amy’s infidelity on simply trying to hurt Joe the same way he hurt her, but it goes beyond that. Not to excuse Amy, but it’s clear her marriage with Joe hasn’t been fulfilling, and she’s looking for love and support from someone, and a few drinks later, Bobby is that person.
Although, to say I’m upset about this would be a lie. As Eric noted, Jenny and Joe are not friends. They have too much history together. And according to the quote by Rumi, “lovers don’t finally meet somewhere, they’re in each other all along.”
Perhaps this is why the green storyline is the most wholesome and least dramatic. Amy’s happily married to Eric, and there’s no thought about infidelity. Jenny and Joe are meant to be together, so the only conflict is between them, with no outside forces. It will be interesting to see how distance affects their relationship, though.
Meanwhile, in the blue storyline, Joe and Jenny play detective and look into Bobby’s history with Carrie, his old intern. Amy’s offended at the accusation at first, but when Bobby lies to her about there being others, she knows it’s a pattern.
Bobby’s got it coming for him, so he better watch his back. I hate that he’s a snake, but there has to be a least one in a show, and unfortunately, he is the easiest candidate.
What did you think of the newest installment? Which is your favorite storyline? Please don’t forget to leave your comments down below!
- Chris and Moh are mirror images of Joe and Eric. Also, the audition scene was incredible. No way Moh sounds that terrible. But, it’s good to see Chris at school and in an environment other than his house.
- We didn’t know Joe had an estranged sister, Camille, right? There must be a reason they lightly touched on it.
- Eric’s bisexual representation is certainly needed on TV right now. So, it’s good to see them highlight a bisexual, biracial man.
Ordinary Joe Review: Shooting Star (1×04)
It’s undeniable that Joe and Jenny’s history and old friendship keeps their lives close. Even when Jenny got married and started a life with another man. Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 4, “Shooting Star,” takes a closer look at their relationship in every storyline and ignites a spark, further confirming that they are meant to be.
Despite Jenny’s marriage to separate men in the red and blue storylines, we’re hardly given a glimpse into those relationships. Rather, we’re provided additional scenes shining a spotlight on Jenny and Joe’s gravitational pull. The gentle hand touches between the two aren’t just friendly.
Through their sustained connection and even in their marital problems, the storytelling deepens their character’s evolutions. The green storyline provides a future in which they both suspend their dreams and stick together to raise their son together. However, later on, Jenny finally gets a second chance to pursue that lifelong goal, which she turns down again. But, Joe’s not going to let that happen, despite his envy.
Will the family move to Atlanta? If they do, this could very well save their relationship. No more halting their lives and aspirations to do the right thing. Because they’re slowly realizing the right thing is to support one another in anything the other wants. Plus, Chris is the most intuitive child and understands the sacrifices his parents made to take care of him.
Meanwhile, Jenny and Joe are working together to gain contact with their son Zeke. The emotional moment shared between the two once they finally saw him leaving school, was extremely powerful. The show does a great job providing windows into the intimate moments shared between characters. Again, mimicking This Is Us.
While Amy’s garnering attention and important press for her campaign, Joe’s slowly distancing himself. He’s already chosen Jenny over Amy once before and makes the same decision again. If his marriage to Amy isn’t in the dumps yet, it certainly will be soon.
It’ll be interesting to see where they take plan on taking this storyline. I really hope Jenny and Joe stay their distance from Zeke. But, it doesn’t seem like Joe wants that. Legally though, I’m not sure what he can do, and I wonder what that will mean for Jenny and Joe’s future.
We’re only four episodes in and this show already has me spiraling about the various ways my life could be different if I went left instead of right. Although, the show also forces us to reckon with how the choices we make have the power to impact others’ lives too.
Finally, in the blue storyline, Bobby turns evil. There haven’t been any bad guys on the show so far, so it had to be done. Bobby’s questionable relationships with his staffers leave Jenny and Joe suspicious and onto another investigation together.
Jenny and Joe are basically partners in every parallel universe. They can’t be stopped. But Jenny’s fascination with Joe in this storyline seems to come out of a place of apprehension surrounding her secret.
I predict a bad reaction from Joe when he finds out Lucas is his son. Because in this show no secret goes left uncovered. And poor Amy, Joe’s already made up his mind and deleted hr number without letting her explain to him the situation between her and Bobby.
I would hate Bobby more if I didn’t like Jenny and Joe so much.
What are your thoughts on this episode? Were you surprised by the questions against Bobby? Do you think he had something to do with the death of the woman? Don’t forget to leave your comments down below1
- I love the commitment to making each storyline stick to the color. Jenny and her father’s all red wardrobe was a bold statement.
- “I want to take one of those selfies.”
- I’d love to know the decision-making process in naming Chris Zeke and Lucas in the other storylines. There has to be a significance behind those names. After all, Chris was named after Joe’s late father.
- The final shot of the shooting store flying through each universe was an incredible touch.
Ordinary Joe Review – Jenny’s Birthday (1×03)
The sheer time and effort put into telling three different storylines will always amaze me. And each week, this show continues to do just that. With three different plots weaving in and out, you’d expect little progress to be made. However, Ordinary Joe, “Jenny’s Birthday,” manages to make impactful strides forward, continuing its pursuit of a determined path.
Joe’s history has been thoroughly established in the first two episodes. We’ve been introduced to his mother, the unfortunate demise of his father, and all of his relationships. Now, it’s time for other characters to be further developed, and this episode attempts to dig deeper into Jenny’s life. Jenny’s birthday is a day that holds a lot of history between Joe and Jenny, in every universe. Especially during a turbulent period in their relationship, Joe needs to step it up.
Apparently, this is a common theme across all of his parallel universes, as his marriage with Amy is also struggling. In both marriages, he only focuses on what he wants rather than considering everything and everyone.
The writer’s decision to develop this character flaw so early on was a great choice. It allows for viewers to connect to Joe’s humanity and frankly makes his character a bit annoying.
Overwhelmingly, rockstar Joe is his most entitled and distasteful version. His pushiness to make contact with his son and using whatever resource he can because he has the means to do so is downright ugly.
We haven’t received much insight into Joe before he hit the fork in the road, so it’s hard to decipher whether or not he has changed or stayed the same. Although, Mr. Banks and Jenny seem to think hasn’t changed at all. The history with Mr. Banks is a bit ambiguous as well, it’s evident there’s a bit of a rocky connection between him and Jenny.
It seems most relevant to unpack this relationship, and I imagine Mr. Banks will become a more integral character.
As for Joe’s relationship with Amy, his unwillingness to support her campaign will surely bite him in the butt. His decision to attend Jenny’s birthday over his wife’s career-changing event is telling. When he finally tells Amy about his son, that is certainly going to cause a blow up.
While things are rough between Amy and Joe in their marriage, things are going great for Officer Joe and Amy in the blue timeline. Things are quickly progressing, but it’s predictable Congressman Diaz won’t back down.
On another note, I can’t get over the feeling that Jenny has feelings for Joe as well, but maybe it’s just her reservations knowing Lucas is his son.
Whatever they might be, this third storyline is the most unsuspecting. It’s hard to piece together what path he’s on. All we know is that he’s stuck in his childhood house, living out a career his father would’ve been proud of.
Is it far off to say that Jenny’s husband hasn’t been given much screentime, so I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Joe and Jenny reconnected and she ended up leaving her husband? Perhaps that’s just my desire because I totally ship Joe and Jenny!
The writers have done a fantastic job providing endless possibilities for each storyline, and leaving certain elements foreseeable. There’s a decent balance between the two, leaving enough curiosity for me to continue watching.
What questions are you hoping are answered in the next episode? Comment below your thoughts on tonight’s episode!
- Ughh, what a great scene between Amy and Jenny! There are minimal interactions between the two and they’re so awkwardly cordial, I eat that up. So, seeing Jenny’s passive-aggressive comment on her having dated Joe in college and Amy dating him now was pure gold. Please, we need more of these crossovers.
- Is it really possible to not have any recollection of a date? Amy’s surely playing Eric right?!
- Joe’s rockstar form is NOT his cutest. I beg to differ that he’s the cutest in his police form.
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