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Joe is an antagonist and survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead, as well as a main character in The Walking Dead Webisodes: Red Machete. He is the leader of the Claimers and serves as the primary antagonist of the second half of Season 4.
Joe is a strong leader to those in his group. He established only a few rules for the group and therefore he allows his men to do as they please, as long as they don't break them. When a rule is broken, he is cruel and merciless toward the offender and his approved methods of punishment are harsh, and often lethal. Joe appears to have complete power over his group and appears to be respected by them all, as they rarely seem to question his orders.
He is shown to be a savage and ruthless man, very much capable of cold-blooded murder and torture, however he still exercises patience and fairness (especially for Daryl), when newcomers wish to join him. Nonetheless, he is very cautious and inquisitive, making it clear that not just anyone will be allowed in.
Joe is also a hardened survivor, and appears to take sadistic pleasure in the violence that he and his group inflict on others as shown during the run-in with Rick's group, where Joe joyfully informs Rick of what he and his group plan to do to him, Carl, Daryl, and Michonne, and is shown to have no qualms about harming and killing children as he allowed his group member Dan to molest Carl and surely would have allowed him to kill him afterwards, showing that Joe is completely remorseless.
Joe is also shown to be a very honest and direct man and has made it very clear that he despises liars, as seen when he had Len beaten to death for lying after attempting to frame Daryl and also nearly had Billy and Harley kill Daryl for lying about Rick being a good person. However, Joe is also a little bit of a hypocrite, in the sense that when he thinks that Daryl was lying about Rick being a good person, Joe arrogantly fails to see the irony of the fact that he himself is not a good person either; the fact that he and his men are rapists and murderers who evidently have no problem even with killing children (with Joe and the others even being tolerant of the fact that one of theirs was a sadistic paedophile) make them worse than even Rick has ever been.
Despite his villainous nature, Joe appears to hold respect and care for most of the members of his group, most notably Lou, as he makes it a mission for his group to track Lou's killer, Rick, down and slaughter him as revenge and to also bring harm to those whom Rick cares about to further intensify their revenge towards him; an act that eventually leads to his violent demise as well as the deaths of the other members of his group.
Joe was born in the mid 1950's and grew up in rural Georgia. At the age of 3, Joe gained an affection for cats where he believed there was nothing more sadder than an 'outdoor cat' thinking it was an indoor one, besides this little is known regarding that of his early life.
As an adult, Joe worked as a mechanic, it was through his work with vehicles he grew to become a motorcycle enthusiast and presumably a member of a Harley's motorcycle club. Joe was also an outdoorsman as he held a genuine respect for bowmen and their ability to wield crossbows. He experienced a country-based lifestyle where he enjoyed camping, hunting and even bared knowledge on brewing homemade alcohol.
At some point after the outbreak, Joe eventually formed a small group of survivors whom he maintained a firm leadership over and thus he strongly enforced his personal set of rules towards which included a sense of honesty along with the notion of claiming supplies in order to prevent tension from arising within the group.
Over time however, Joe and his group gradually descended into a sinister lifestyle where eventually they became a group of marauders where they committed numerous horrific actions which included murdering innocent survivors, savagely raping several women as well as sadistically hunting their victims.
A walker with a red machete stuck in its chest wanders the region until it is punched in the head. Joe appears and grabs the machete, before claiming it.
After claiming the red machete, Joe leads his men throughout the woods near Terminus, passing a sign along the way. They are seen taking supplies from an abandoned campsite and later come across a lone man fighting against Walkers. Joe watches the man fight and tightly grips the handle of the machete, implying he wants to either help the man or kill him for his supplies. Eventually, the man is taken down by the walkers and Joe loosens his grip on the machete and watches the man be eaten alive.
At a later time, Joe is seen smoking a cigarette while watching his men brutally beat another man after infiltrating his house. Later on at night, two thieves attempt to steal supplies from the Claimer's camp but Joe, Tony and another unnamed Claimer emerge from a tent and they subdue the thieves and as punishment for trying to steal from them, Joe hacks one of the thieves' arm off with the machete and presumably kills them both off-screen.
Joe is later seen during a flash forward to the events of the episode "A" in which he packs his red machete into a bag and pulls out his pistol and goes to ambush Rick, Michonne and Carl on the road. After Joe's death, Rick finds the bag with the red machete in it.
Joe is one of the men who arrive at the house Rick Grimes, Carl Grimes, and Michonne are staying in. He is first heard off-screen disciplining one of his own for being a coward. He is later physically seen when he comes upstairs and bounces a tennis ball in the back room where Rick is hiding. When one of the Claimers discovers Michonne's recently cleaned shirt, Joe is heard giving orders to prepare an ambush for Michonne and whoever else is with her. After Rick sneaks outside, Joe sits on the porch eating a can of fruit and whistling. With Michonne and Carl returning from their supply run, unaware of the situation, Rick readies himself for battle, until Lou reanimates, attacks the group, and Joe quickly goes back inside to dispatch the walker, giving Rick the time he needed to escape.
Joe is first seen with his group gathering around Daryl Dixon, while Daryl is sitting down in the middle of a road. Joe approaches Daryl, but Daryl quickly rises up and punches Joe in the face, which bloodies his nose and knocks him down. Daryl then points his ready-to-fire crossbow at Joe's face, but Joe just gets back on his feet, laughs, and says he is pleased to see that Daryl is a "bowman". Joe then remarks some more on his admiration of Daryl's crossbow, including the range and force of its projectiles. Meanwhile, the other group members all point their weapons at Daryl, as Joe talks to Daryl. Joe then warns Daryl that if he kills him, the other group members will quickly kill Daryl in retaliation. After Joe talks Daryl into lowering his crossbow, the other group members lower their weapons too.
Joe is first seen sleeping with his group who are all then woken up by a walker. Joe later breaks up a potential fight between Daryl and Len and explains to Daryl that if you "claim" something it's yours. Joe also tells Daryl that any rule breakers will be punished by beatings or worse. Joe splits the rabbit by cutting it in half, giving the upper body to Len and the lower body to Daryl.
Later in the episode, Len frames Daryl for stealing his half of the rabbit but Daryl denies that he stole it. Joe empties Daryl's bag and Len's half of the rabbit falls out. Joe asks Daryl if he stole the rabbit and again Daryl denies it. Joe then asks Len if he framed Daryl and Len says no. Joe then punches Len and tells Daryl that he saw Len put it in Daryl's bag. Joe then gives orders to the rest of the men to beat him up. While on the railroad tracks, Daryl finds the Terminus signs and asks Joe if they have come across the signs before. Joe says that there is no sanctuary for them and tells Daryl that his group has been tracking down a "walking piece of fecal matter" (Rick) who was hiding out in a house they marauded, killed one of their men (Lou) and left him to turn. Joe says that he has seen the Terminus signs, and the group has used it as an endpoint for where Rick may have gone.
During the middle of the night, Joe and his group ambush Rick, Michonne, and Carl while they are camped by the roadside. Joe holds his gun to Rick's head and is about to joyfully kill him, counting down from 10. As he gets to 8, Daryl emerges from the woods and tells Joe to stop. Joe demands an explanation, and Daryl says that he is going to let Rick, Michonne and Carl go, claiming they are good people. Joe disagrees, bringing up that Rick killed Lou in a bathroom, and Daryl offers to take the punishment for Rick.
Joe then becomes visibly angered and says that Rick killed their friend and isn't a good person, stating "now that's a lie!" to Daryl, then proceeds to order his men to kill Daryl. Dan, one of Joe's group members, grabs Carl and holds a knife to his neck. Rick gets angry and tells Joe to order his men to leave Carl alone, claiming it was only him who killed Lou. Joe ignores Ricks request and joyfully informs him that he will personally kill him after Daryl is beaten to death, and Michonne and Carl are raped and killed which will put an end to their conflict. As Joe is laughing sadistically, Rick head-butts Joe causing him to shoot his gun in reflex (and missing). Rick then punches Joe in the face. Joe quickly counters Rick's punch and knocks Rick to the ground and proceeds to kick him while he is down. Joe grabs Rick and locks him tightly. Joe taunts Rick, asking "What the hell are you gonna do now, sport?" Rick, after some thought, leans forward and bites a chunk out of Joe's neck, and then pushes him to the ground. Joe then dies from his injuries. Joe's entire group are then killed by Rick, Daryl and Michonne seconds later after being distracted by Joe's death.
After ambushing Rick, Michonne, and Carl and Daryl telling Joe not to hurt them, resulting in him being attacked by Harley and Billy, Rick punches Joe who counters with a pistol whip, knocking Rick to the ground. Rick gets back up but Joe locks him with his arms then taunts him and says "What the hell you gonna do now, sport?" Rick, in response, bites Joe's throat and rips out his jugular, killing him. He is presumably put down before he reanimates.
This list shows the victims Joe has killed:
- 1 unnamed man (Caused)
- Thief 1 (Off-Screen)
- Thief 2 (Off-Screen)
- Lou (Assumed, Zombified)
- Len (Caused)
- Numerous counts of zombies and unnamed people
- Joe is the first primary antagonist on The Walking Dead to appear physically in both the main series as well as a webisode.
- Joe is the first character in the Red Machete webisodes to have lines.