Average Joe Season 1 Episode 8 Review: Ride or Die

Spoilers

Now I know my eyes must have deceived me, and Joe and Leon weren’t running up to Nicolai’s cabin without any backup!

After getting the tipoff a lifetime (thanks to a newly sober Touch), Joe and Leon had Jennifer within their grasp during the final minutes of Average Joe Season 1 Episode 8, but they were severely outnumbered.

There’s nothing like a father’s love, though, and Joe couldn’t stand being so close to getting Jennifer back and not doing anything about it.

Average Joe was clearly setting up for the final hours during this installment, another episode that took place over a day and saw a somewhat unlikely quintet form.

Bringing in Talford was kind of something that couldn’t be avoided at this point because she knew enough, and playing dumb just wasn’t an option anymore.

Joe did the right thing in asking for her help, and with Joe, Leon, Angela, Touch, and Talford all working together, the chances of finding Jennifer were much greater.

Poor Joe tried his best to keep it together, but his little girl was missing, and it was hard for him to keep that all inside. The absolute best moment of the hour was when Joe and Leon were staked out in the van laughing at Joe’s memory.

It’s very rare to find a series that can balance the extreme drama and action with comedy and instances of sentimentality. It’s not easy, and yet, they’re able to hit all the beats week in and week out without fail.

It’s a perfectly cast show, and in an episode that relied a lot on character moments and less on action and fast-paced scenes, it was one of the strongest hours thus far.

While Joe and Leon were tracking the wrong group of men, Touch and Talford were the real MVPs, especially Touch, who cracked Gladys in about two minutes.

Talford has been trying to clear her mother’s name for years, and that’s one of the primary reasons she’s even as far into this whole thing as she is.

Nicolai ruined her mother’s life and hers in many ways, and she seems pretty willing to give up her whole career if it means Nicolai doesn’t get to hurt anyone else.

I knew Gladys was lying, or at the very least withholding some information when she proclaimed without hesitation that she killed her partner. The confession was giving big, ‘yes I did it, and I’d do it again’ energy, but without a shred of conviction.

Talford couldn’t hear it because she’d spent so much time trying to protect her mother, and to hear her so cavalier and again unwillingly to help in the fight against the real enemy was her final straw.

We haven’t gotten to see a whole lot of Touch being a competent police officer, but he’s not an idiot, and without the emotional component overtaking his brain, he could see what Gladys was doing.

Gladys had kept that secret for so many years that you could see the weight lift off her when she finally got to tell someone the truth. And Touch handled the moment so well, lending genuine support while using the moment to get help for his friends.

Without Touch, they were nowhere near finding Jennifer.

Leave it Nicolai to have some fancy cabin in the middle of nowhere where his secret plane can land.

Nicolai was in full evil villain mode, per usual, celebrating the impending birth of his grandson while plotting to rip him away from his mother as soon as possible.

Seeing the flashback of Jennifer and Dimitri was fascinating because it looked like two young people in love, which has always been how Jennifer saw it. She wasn’t in the room when Dimitri was degrading her and their relationship.

She wasn’t there when he authorized her father’s fingers to be broken, threatening his life.

She remembered her boyfriend, the one who taught her Russian and the one she loved and saw a future with. And that flashback lent itself to that reality.

Dimitri is gone now, but he’s still such an integral part of the story; as you can argue, everything started with his death. Sure, Teddy was the one who stole the money and the Lambo, but Nicolai couldn’t be bothered to do any dirty work himself.

It was Dimitri’s death that spurred him into real action.

The flashbacks are employed to fill in the gaps for the audience, and one that would be intriguing is one between father and son. What was their dynamic like? Was Dimitri really a henchman for his father the whole time? Or was he forced into it?

I’m not sure knowing that answer would change the fact that Dimitri wasn’t a good person, but it would shade a few other things in.

But currently, Jennifer was pregnant and, thanks to Dimitri, very much aware of what was happening around her. Though there wasn’t much she could do about it.

I wondered if anyone would figure out Arina’s story and try to use it to their advantage, and Jennifer didn’t even have to do much work because Nicolai is genuinely the worst.

He’s holding Arina’s nameless daughter hostage still when she’s done everything he’s asked, and you could see the wheels in Arina’s head turning because any loyalties she had to Nicolai died the minute he took her daughter from her to use as leverage when he needed it.

Arina’s whole schtick is the cold-blooded assassin. A woman of few words who can torture and kill without a moment’s hesitation. But there’s so much more to her than that, and Kathrine Barnes has the challenge of showing the audience these different sides often without saying a word.

And she does it beautifully.

I still maintain that getting to Nicolai will require help from the inside, namely Arina. And with her down by the docks and outside, might she run into Joe and Leon and decide to help instead of marching them to their deaths?

She’s so close to getting her daughter back, but will her warring conscience allow her to do the right thing and help another mother avoid her fate?

With only two episodes left in Average Joe Season 1, we’re about to find out if Joe and his friends have what it takes to best one of the most sadistic mob bosses in the game.

Extra, Average Facts

  • Have I mentioned how great this cast is? Because they are.
  • Were Jennifer and Cathy THAT close? Her reaction to Jennifer’s kidnapping was super intense.
  • Speaking of Cathy, ID Channel taught her well, and she found something on her quest for the money. Picking up someone outside a sober house and paying them to try out your product is pretty horrendous behavior. Deception, murder, theft. Is the crew going to add drug dealing to their repertoire?
  • Cathy booked it out of that basement like she was on fire, but I imagine there was more product than just the bit Cathy got because she was far too excited about a potential windfall.
  • Nicolai bringing a whole doctor and ultrasound out to his cabin to ensure Jennifer was actually pregnant was peak psychopath behavior.
  • I know everyone was distracted, and so much was happening. And technically, Angela should have been safe at the hospital, but considering a powerful mobster had just kidnaped her, maybe she shouldn’t have been left alone?

What’s next for Joe and company? Will Jennifer get rescued? What else will Cathy find on her search?

So many questions, and we still have two episodes to go! Drop into the comment section and let me know all your thoughts as we barrel toward the finale! 

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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