The Most Heartbreaking Episode Of Ordinary Joe

We'd like to imagine that the NBC parallel timeline drama "Ordinary Joe" came about one night after "House" producers Garrett Lerner and Russel Friend watched the Gwyneth Paltrow classic "Sliding Doors" and asked someone to hold their beer. The show is all about Joe Kimbreau (James Wolk), a young man whose life trajectory drastically changes based on how he spends his evening after his college graduation ceremony. From that choice alone, his life splits into the blue, red, and green timelines where things turn out drastically different for himself and those closest to him — all based on that one small and seemingly insignificant choice.

There were a lot of emotional ups and downs on the show. Fans like u/producermaddy felt that it had very strong "This Is Us" vibes, and they aren't wrong. Sadly, it couldn't get the ratings it needed to stay on the air, and "Ordinary Joe" was canceled after just one season. But we're guessing that if audiences had stuck around long enough to see the most heartbreaking episode of the show, we'd all be living in a timeline where it did get the renewal that fans wanted so badly.

It's the episode where Joe reads a letter from his deceased father

In Season 1, Episode 7, "The Letter," the show flashes back to what exactly happens the night after Joe graduates. Up until this point on the series, fans knew the general outcomes of what happened in each timeline but didn't get to see them play out in detail. There are moments throughout that tug on the heartstrings, including young Joe remembering his dad writing him the letter; Jenny's (Elizabeth Lail) "too soon" speech to Joe when they find out she's pregnant in the green timeline; and Joe finding out that the reason his dad is dead is that he volunteered to take the place of a fellow first responder on 9/11. But what hit fans right in the feels more than anything was the way the show juxtaposed the end of the red and green timelines in that episode, flipping back and forth between Jenny getting proposed to by Joe in the green timeline, and lonely Jenny seeing Joe and Amy (Natalie Martinez) happy together in the red one.

In a thread discussing the episode, Redditor u/karafans wrote, "Joe and Amy 1st date was cute, they really helped each other follow their dream by supporting one another other, but in the last scene I kinda felt sad for Jenny when she saw them." This was seconded by u/Cantomic66, who agreed that Jenny's fate in the red timeline was heartbreaking. Conversely, fans of the green timeline such as u/tvfangirl12 were emotional over Jenny's speech, and also really appreciated how Joe's improvisational shoelace engagement ring called back to Episode 5 when he did the same thing after Jenny decided to move to Atlanta.