Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Way Leads On To Way

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NBC has another hit on their hands. Ordinary Joe showed a charming, heartfelt drama about how one decision can alter your life.

Joe Kimbreau (James Wolk) had to make an important decision at his college graduation that affected three different life courses on Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1.

He had to choose between following the family tradition and becoming a cop, joining his BFF and crush Jenny at the lake, or asking out the beautiful new girl he just met, Amy, on a date.

Graduation Decisions-vertical - Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1

Eric: Please tell me you're going to the beach with Jenny Banks.
Joe: It’s complicated.
Eric: No, it’s simple. You both have been doing this back and forth dance since college.

We soon learned Joe never made a decision, and the rest of the premiere focused on three different timelines.

It was an interesting concept, but the jumps in and out of timelines were very jarring, especially in the first 10 minutes.

One second we saw Rockstar Joe sing, and the next, we saw Nurse Joe video-chatting with his son. Then, we’d cut again to Cop Joe, who saved a local congressman’s life, while Nurse Joe saved the gunman’s life.

It was hard to connect to Joe in any incarnation or the other characters as the passing moments were fleeting and informational rather than providing any depth.

Nurse Joe - Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1

The only way to tell the difference, in the beginning, was that NBC tinted each timeline a different color.

Once we got to the heart of the episode, it was easier to become invested.

Joe Kimbreau is living the life so many people only dream of -- he's got three different chances to get it right.

I felt for Nurse Joe. I know how hard my parents worked with my physical and cognitive disability, so I understood the strain it put on his marriage.

Divorce Papers - Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1

In many ways, Joe wanted to act like nothing was wrong, even though it was evident he hated his job, and his marriage had fallen apart. That saddened me since I've always loved the friends-to-lovers trope.

Hopefully, they will learn to communicate better and get back to the close bond they once shared.

Jenny: We don’t even talk. You don’t seem happy or unhappy. You don’t seem to feel anything ever.
Joe: That’s not fair. I feel things.
Jenny: We used to be best friends. Now, the only good times are the old times.

Rockstar Joe’s timeline was my favorite. He looked so defeated in the other two, but he was always smiling on stage.

James Wolk has a great singing voice, and it looks like he's having a blast playing the guitar.

Rockstar Joe - Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1

Joe and Amy (Natalie Martinez) appeared to have the perfect marriage and successful careers, but things weren’t what they seemed.

Their perfect marriage was marred by a problem many couples face -- pregnancy woes.

Rockstar Joe and Amy had the most realistic storyline. Unfortunately, well-done pregnancy and miscarriage storylines don't often get covered realistically, so it will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

So many women that have miscarriages blame themselves and are more worried about upsetting their partners.

Pregnancy Woes - Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1

Sometimes, it gets to be too much, and they can’t try anymore for their emotional sanity. That’s what happened to Amy. She was so tired of trying and feeling disappointed.

She wanted to focus on advancing her career but was afraid Joe might not stay with her if it were just the two of them. That’s a fear many infertile women struggle with -- if they’re enough for their husbands.

What if we’re not meant to have kids? Are you going to be okay with just us?


I wasn't expecting Jenny to throw a further wrench in their marriage, but this is the soapy drama that TV shows are made of.

It was the dream Joe had been waiting for -- he had a son. However, it was with his college girlfriend, and she gave their son up for adoption.

Jenny Has News - Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1

Knowing he has a child that he wants to find will kill Amy. That’s tough news for most infertile women to swallow.

Could Amy and Joe have a future in another time? Maybe. Cop Joe remembered Amy's dream of working for a local politician, and he agreed to the awards ceremony hoping that he'd run into her.

Was it a coincidence or fate that these two cuties were both single and reluctant about going to their college reunion alone?

Amy and Joe Dance - Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1

Could they have a better chance in this timeline? Their chemistry is still off the charts. However, it's interesting that Jenny has Joe's child in every timeline. If Amy is infertile in each timeline, that could prove to be an issue.

Joe: I’ll make you a deal. I’ll go if you go.
Amy: To the reunion?
Joe: Only if you want to. No pressure.
Amy: Okay. Deal.

Ordinary Joe is off to a fun start, and it's relatable since many of us would jump at a second chance at our love lives and careers. It's also believable that the same influential people show up and intersect, meaning Joe will have to choose one of his leading ladies at some point.

However, it’s often hard to keep track of everything, especially the relationship statuses of Amy and Joe and Jenny and Joe.

It seemed like the rest of the ensemble cast, including Joe’s best friend and wingman, Eric, and his family always wanted to weigh in on his decisions. Eric mentioned, in the beginning, it was time for Joe to make his own decisions, and he was right.

Friday Night Dinner - Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1

Ordinary Joe gives off This is Us vibes of a heartfelt drama and jumping timelines. We need one of those right now, especially with NBC's juggernaut going into its final season.

With Rockstar Joe, there are even some Nashville vibes. Not so long ago, shows about musicians were all over, and we welcome another.

Shows with great music and soapy drama appeal to many, and this had both wrapped into one. Using Joe's passion for music in all timelines is a lovely throughline for all three Joes.

Ordinary Joe is off to a fun start. With some tweaking to make the timeline changes less abrupt, it should be a delightful ride.

What did you think, Fanatics?

Did you enjoy the premiere?

What did you think of Jenny’s anvil?

Chime in below.

Ordinary Joe airs at 10/9c on Mondays on NBC.

Way Leads On To Way Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (35 Votes)

Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Ordinary Joe Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Jenny: Joe, when you get home tomorrow, can we talk?
Joe: Sure Jenny, what about?
Jenny: It's kind of an in-person thing.

Eric: Please tell me you're going to the beach with Jenny Banks.
Joe: It’s complicated.
Eric: No, it’s simple. You both have been doing this back and forth dance since college.