The thing about each one of Joe’s timelines, is that none of them are ordinary. Each timeline of his life is this extraordinary man, filled with so much love and fear, he’s just aching to do good to disguise his pain.
I wonder which timeline of Joes is real, but all three timelines would be a lot for any person to deal with. All three timelines of his life have a man who has been living with regret and blaming himself for the death of his father.
Now before I dive into this show, I want to complement the writers of Ordinary Joe, because one thing that these timelines excel at is showing how it’s okay to feel different things. The reactions that one has to experiences can be varied and we all need to accept that people can and do deal with things in their own way. But every choice that Joe makes, the writers manage to make you feel in the moment with Joe. You know what he feels. You can take on his emotions.
And that’s strong writing and strong acting.
Requiem is about, “With the anniversary of 9/11 approaching, all three Joes grapple with the emotions that come with the day. Cop Joe and Amy pursue a romance, but Music Joe and Amy’s marriage is clouded by a big secret. Nurse Joe and Jenny have a breakthrough.”
Grappling with the feelings that September 11th left someone with is a lot to cover, but the writers do it strongly, beautifully, and with care.
When Joe was a kid, his Dad passed away. His father was a member of the NYPD and passed away on September 11th. Through flashbacks we learn that Joe blames himself for his fathers death.
While shopping for a suit for Joe’s confirmation, Joe’s Dad surprises him with a trip to Denver to see the Giants take on the Broncos. He is excited to take his son on an adventure – the two of them. And Joe seems excited too.
His Dad tells him that with his confirmation, he’s becoming a man. He gets to make decisions. And whereas I get that – because I was raised Catholic – I also have to wonder, isn’t that a lot of pressure to put on a kid? I think so.
But it’s also words that can come back to haunt you, because eventually Joe uses those words to tell his father that he doesn’t want to go to the game, because battle of the bands is happening and he wants to be there for his bandmates. It’s the first big decision that he’s made in his entire life.
When his Dad agrees, he tells Joe that he’ll give the tickets to Uncle Frank. You kinda see the pride in Joes face, that he’s made this big decision and no one has fought him on it. He’s made a grown up decision and he feels strong.
Until he doesn’t.
On September 11th, Joe was in school, practicing for the Battle of the Bands competition, when there is commotion. People are running. Joe and his bandmate look out the window and they see the smoke from the World Trade Center.
One of his bandmates asks Joe if his Dad still went to the game, and staring out the window with fear and regret in his eyes, says no, that he went to work that morning.
There was no part of me that didn’t break in that moment.
And then here we are, 20 years later, and all three Joe’s lives have been changed by that moment.
Being famous doesn’t mean that the past doesn’t haunt you, you’re still human after all.
Joe is dealing with a lot in his head. His head is spinning with the news that Amy gave him – that she is going to run for Congress. He’s also living with the knowledge that he has a son out there, and that Jenny never told him. He’s dealing with the pressures of his job and all of the people around him.
But most of all – he’s dealing with the want to be a Dad.
Joes decided that he is going to find his son and enlists Uncle Frank to help him. Now, Uncle Frank may not exactly be on his side, but he agrees to look into it.
And this gives Joe a little bit of hope. Even though in that hope, he’s still not told Amy about his son. Part of me wonders though, is he not telling her because she just lost a baby, or because he doesn’t trust her?
Uncle Frank asks to talk to Joe. He says that if Jenny would write a letter, it would help. So Joe decides that he’s going to go talk to Jenny. She’s taken a back that he is there, wondering why. Her twin girls are excited to meet him, and her husband is too. But when he talks to Jenny, alone, and asks for help, she’s not sharing the excitement.
She doesn’t want to help Joe. There is a part of me that gets it. She told Joe to unload her pain and regret, but that also makes me not like her because it’s not fair. It’s not right. We shouldn’t hurt others to make ourselves feel better. She did just that.
Joes wanted nothing more in his life than to be a Dad, and that’s just seeming further and further away.
Amy and Joe talk to the Congressman about the demand on her time. Joe says that they are asking because they want to start a family, but Amy corrects him and says that he does. It’s a moment that is so passive, but so like woah, that you have to wonder if these two can recover.
I don’t think that they can.
When Amy tells Joe later that day that she doesn’t want to have kids, my heart breaks for him. I do understand, she’s lost multiple pregnancies and that is hard. It just feels like for all these characters on this timeline – pain is the only thing that life is leaving them with.
To make matters more emotional for Joe, it’s the 20 year anniversary of 9/11 and he’s been asked to perform. He won’t do it – he can’t even bring himself to attend the ceremony. Instead, he sits home and watches the reading of the names on the TV, strumming at his guitar, and his life filled with hurt from every turn.
Being famous doesn’t save you from pain – you are still human after all.
This version of Joe, has a million steel walls built around himself. He doesn’t know how to be open with feelings, even though he thinks he is.
This version of Joe is one of the most closed off people that I have ever seen. It’s a weird thing, because he’s so loving on the surface, but underneath he is living in a world of pain.
Chris asks his Dad if they can go to the memorial ceremony and Joe lies to his son. He says they can’t because it is his Moms day with him. That’s some selfish shit Joe, tossing the blame onto your wife in order to protect yourself.
Joe avoids 9/11 because of his pain. But here’s the thing – pain doesn’t start to process until we admit that it’s there. It’s a fact of life.
When he surprises Jenny at work for a picnic (love the romantic try here), she tells him that Chris texted and he tells her that he can’t take him because he has to work.
What I love about Jenny at this moment is that she doesn’t let him just avoid it. She calls him out for lying, for avoiding, and for not listening. He needs to feel. He needs to also deal with his past, if for nothing more than being there for his son.
But in the same breathe, I wonder if Joe realizes that what he has kept in has been the biggest issue of all the thing that are challenging him right now. He needs to talk to someone.
And you wonder, what if he had talked to someone before? How different would life have been?
He tries to get his Mom to take Chris to the ceremony, and ends up being distant and weird with her. He admits to Chris that he doesn’t like going because it reminds him of the day that his Dad died.
But where I find pride and also cried my eyes out for this version of Joe is that he does show up. He comes to the ceremony and he finds out that his Mom and Chris are due to read the names.
His Mom offers to switch out and he read the names instead of her. He does, for his son. But I also believe that is was the best thing that Joe could have done for himself. It opened the door to his healing.
It opened the door to him telling his Mom that he felt as if the decision that he made as a kid caused his fathers death. It opened the door to healing when she told him that it wasn’t his fault.
Sometimes we need need to remember that life is filled with what if’s but the reality is that we will never have all the answers. We need to let what if’s go, because they can and will destroy us.
Every moment of life is a choice – ours, others, fates…
We can’t hang onto what if’s. We need to let them go for healing.
Living at home with ones Mom when you are grown, personally I think if you can handle it – it’s smart. Save your money. But Joe, this version it’s not about money, it’s about family. He has a deep love and commitment to them.
Uncle Frank tells Joe that he needs to get dressed, the commissioner wants to see him. But it’s a lie. He’s bringing Joe to the station, because he’s getting a promotion. He’s now a detective.
And who does Joe pull as his training officer? Uncle Frank. And the first case that they are on is talking to the man who tried to assassinate the congressman. When they are at the hospital, Uncle Frank tells Joe it’s a conflict of interest for him to question the subject. He just wants him to listen.
When he listens, the man keeps saying that the Congressman knows what he did to him and his family and he will pay. He’s not going to give up that vendetta, though none of us know what that is.
But Joe wants to do his job to the best of his ability, so he looks into it. None of it is really adding up, so he turns to Jenny for help.
Not that any of us should be shocked, we learn quickly that Joe is Luca’s Dad. Jenny agreeing to help him puts a wrench in her marriage, as Lucas has been raised not knowing that his Dad isn’t his biological Dad.
Joe’s family is giving him shit about being in a relationship and in the car with Uncle Frank he tells him that he doesn’t want to be married, because he never wants to put the woman that he loves through anything like he saw what his Mom went through.
You can’t be mad at Joe, but you can feel for him. The pain that he has inside is something that he needs to deal with. He’s trying to be strong for everyone else, but you have to wonder if he can ever see that he needs to help himself first. Joe is strong, but even the strong need to know that sometimes the strongest thing you can do is be vulnerable.
When it comes time for the 9/11 anniversary, Joe and Uncle Frank are at the station, watching on the TV. His Mom is reading the names. And we find out that Uncle Frank had gotten Joe’s Dads badge number for him. It had been retired but Amy helped him unretire it.
Now, I wanted to like this version of Amy, because she helped get Joe’s Dad’s badge number, but once I found out that she is having an affair with the congressman – I don’t like any version of her.