Post Mortems

Ordinary Joe EPs Talk Finale's Romantic Twists, Music Joe's Hallucinatory Vision

Ordinary Joe Recap

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Monday’s Ordinary Joe finale. Proceed at your own risk!

Ordinary Joe wrapped up its season by shaking things up, romantically, for all three of its titular characters.

After totaling his car and nearly dying, Music Joe got a visit from Jenny, who confessed that she had to want to live following her mom’s death and giving up their baby for adoption. Now he needed to do the same, so Joe entered rehab. But he didn’t stay there for very long, leaving at the end of the episode to come to Jenny’s door and tell her that he wants to live… with her.

Meanwhile, Cop Joe impulsively proposed to Amy after she announced that she was moving to Miami to run her mom’s campaign, and Nurse Joe surprised Jenny in Atlanta, where he asked her to renew their vows. Little does he know that Barrett also made a big proposal to Jenny: to stay in Atlanta and start a firm with him.

Below, executive producers Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner break down those cliffhangers and reveal what viewers should make of the glimpses of Cop Joe and Nurse Joe in Music Joe’s world. (For scoop on the show’s renewal odds, click here.)

TVLINE | When Music Joe sees Cop Joe and Nurse Joe as he’s being wheeled into the hospital, what is he seeing in that moment?
RUSSEL FRIEND | Obviously, he’s in this kind of fugue state, where he’s in and out of consciousness, and what we’re trying to convey goes to the central question of the show, which is, “Well, what if?” [Music Joe is] having this existential crisis, in a way. So we’re hoping it conveys this idea that like now he’s just seeing these other paths he could’ve taken. That’s what’s rattling around in his brain, and then he falls into full unconsciousness. We also just, frankly, thought it’d be really cool and fun and interesting to take advantage of him being in this hallucinatory state. That’s how the idea to have his ghost father come to him [came about]. We thought we could really take advantage of this and have some fun with it, and also, like we like to do, make sure it’s all character-centered. So it’s all coming out of his crisis and his rock bottom, basically.

TVLINE | How literally, though, should viewers be taking him seeing the other Joes? Is that more of a symbolic thing? Or is he literally seeing through the veil, so to speak, to the other timelines?
I like leaving it open for interpretation. I like the rationale that he’s near death, and he does flatline, we do hear that. The common thing in our culture is that your life flashes before your eyes, but I like the notion that your lives flash before your eyes, instead of just your life flashing before your eyes. It’s cool to think about on that level, but I wouldn’t want to impose on an audience that they have to take it literally. I remember Russ and I were in Atlanta, just talking about the car crash, and spitballing like, “What if the first person on the scene was his dad?” and we loved that idea. It grew out of that, like if his dad is the first one to show up on the scene, then all bets are off. We can do whatever we want a little bit, because he’s hallucinatory. And then when the idea came up to cross worlds in the hallucinatory state, it just was something we found really exciting.

TVLINE | When Music Joe goes to see Jenny at the end of the episode and says he wants to be with her, he’s just ditched rehab, his marriage is in trouble. So how clearly is he thinking about Jenny? Do they really belong together?
FRIEND | Like Garrett said, we’re hoping, obviously, that every audience member could bring their own feeling to that or idea to that. This might not be the right interpretation, but our feeling and interpretation is he’s not in a very good place. He believes, in that moment, that it’s the right thing, that maybe Jenny could be the solution to all his problems and this panacea, [like], “If I chose her, everything would’ve been better.” Then as an audience, we have the advantage of knowing, well, if you chose her, you would’ve been a nurse, and you would’ve had challenges as well. There’s no necessarily right choice. But in our minds, this is probably not a great choice in this moment, because he’s really hit rock bottom. He’s not thinking straight, he’s having this existential crisis. Like you said, his marriage has basically imploded. Our take on it is he’s authentic and passionate and genuine about this choice, and he does believe he loves Jenny, and he should’ve done this. But is he really in the right frame of mind to make those big life decisions is the bigger question. We love that cliffhanger aspect of that, and where could that go?

Ordinary Joe RecapTVLINE | Does she still have romantic feelings for him, though?
FRIEND | I think so. I do think, on a very basic level in every world, they do have a love for each other, whether that’s a friendship kind of love or a romantic kind of love, obviously, in their marriage. So I think she does. Is she in love with him? I don’t think so. But who knows? We could explore that in Season 2.
LERNER | We won’t be able to ignore the fact that she’s a married woman with twin daughters, and that’s obviously priority number one. Her marriage got upset, certainly, when her husband Darren learned this secret that she had this baby, and she had never told him about it, and her priority would be to fix her marriage. But that’s what’s beautiful and messy about the whole thing is, like Russ was saying, she also has this love for Joe, and Joe’s a person who’s obviously in need at this moment at the end. That’s what makes it so fun is, like, what is her next move? What is her next sentence? Where we wanted to leave each of the stories was right where we started, at a crossroads.

TVLINE | Cop Joe, like Music Joe, is kind of acting under duress and proposed to Amy maybe not under the most romantic, ideal circumstances. So what can you say about where Amy’s head is at with regards to that proposal?
FRIEND | I do think they love each other, but also, it’s a bit impulsive, to say the least. She’s stepping on the horns of a dilemma. It’s a big decision for her, and how could she balance both? Obviously, it would be a dream for her to go back home and run her mom’s campaign, and that’s what her whole life has led to, in a sense. But she does love Joe. So what do you do? Maybe they move to Miami? Maybe they have a long-distance thing? Again, going back to the crossroads of it all, we’re not sure, so we’re hoping that galvanizes the audience to want to see more.

Ordinary Joe RecapTVLINE | The fact that things are falling apart for Music Joe and Amy, is that a hint of trouble for Cop Joe and Amy, as well? That they might have similar issues?
FRIEND | It could be. We love that notion that all the worlds speak to each other, in a sense. But another thing we find interesting is, well, maybe another important thing in life is timing. So maybe Joe and Amy getting together 10 years ago, ultimately, maybe we discover it’s not going to work out. But maybe with Amy and Cop Joe starting their relationship in the present, maybe they could somehow avoid the obstacles that Music Joe and Amy hit. She’s told him she can’t have kids, and they’ve already had that conversation. So hopefully that’s not going to be such a big thing in their relationship, and they can figure out something else, if they decide they both want to have a family. Whereas in the music world, that’s what defines their marriage, in a way, is the fact that they discovered she couldn’t have kids, and they went through IVF, and then the all the emotions of that, and losing pregnancies. So maybe that’s something they can avoid in the cop world, and maybe that’ll help their relationship.

Ordinary Joe RecapTVLINE | Then you have Nurse Joe asking Jenny to renew their vows, only to find Barrett in her room. Was it all PG in there before he showed up?
LERNER | [Laughs] Yes, I think so. I would say it was PG. Barrett and Jenny care for each other, but as we saw in Episode 12, Barrett wasn’t going to cross those boundaries. I don’t think Jenny would’ve crossed those boundaries either, despite how drunk she was in Episode 12. But they have a connection, and they care for each other, and he’s courting her not necessarily romantically, but as a business partner and a way to change both of their lives. And that, obviously, then impacts on Joe and on Chris, and things get messy, and things get complicated. I don’t think Joe just showed up late, right after anything R-rated was happening. [Laughs] But it’s surprising that [Barrett] was in there at all, and it’s going to be surprising when [Joe] learns why he was in there, because he’s asking her to stay in Atlanta. Joe made this selfless gesture to say, “Go to Atlanta and achieve your dreams,” and then to find out now she’s entertaining staying in Atlanta — not without him, but [they] hadn’t even talked about that together. That’s what we wanted to build towards at the end, and what the last, final voiceover is about: how the premise of the show was about how your decisions write your life story, and the realization at the end of Season 1 is it’s not just your decisions. It’s other people’s decisions also.

TVLINE | There’s also the Kinsley factor, and him keeping that secret from Jenny, and also putting Eric and Amy in an awkward position by telling them about the kiss.
FRIEND | Exactly. That’s a really good point. We love that, too, because, Amy and Jenny are friends, Eric and Jenny [are friends], they’re all friends. What do you do now? That’s a great dilemma or real thing that we love dealing with from a character point of view. Where does that put them? Do they tell her? It was just a little kiss, but yet, it could be, technically, he cheated on her, if you want to look at it that way. But then he realized right away he was wrong. We love that moral gray area.

Ordinary Joe fans, what did you think of the season ender? Grade it below, then hit the comments!