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Joe 1997
Joe in 1997
Joe 2007
Joe in 2007
Joe Vives-Alvarez
Portrayed by Jonathon Trent (1997)
Adam LaVorgna (2007)
Episode Stand Up and Holler
Status Alive

Joe Vives-Alvarez was a student at Birmingham High School in 1997. Joe was something of an outcast at school, refusing to conform to other people's ideals. He nevertheless bonded with a cheerleader named Rainey Karlsen when he encouraged her be true to herself. Their relationship was short-lived, however, as Rainey was killed soon after.


Joe was intelligent, but something of a loner. He often drew pictures of atoms, which he also saw as the universe or high school. The orbiting dots became tangled up and bumped into other dots. Joe thought it better to be the center, grounded and observant. Drawing them reminded him it was better to be an individual, even if it could be lonely sometimes.

Joe first spoke up to Rainey when he sat behind her in Coach Pruit's physics class. He was disgusted when Rainey was discouraged from answering a question by her squad captain Becca Abrams to keep from looking "too" smart. Rainey tried to defend herself, but Joe simply dismissed her as nothing but a "cardboard cut-out" for following someone like Becca.

Rainey caught up with Joe after class and told him not to assume she was an idiot simply because she was a cheerleader. Joe was unimpressed until Rainey answered the question she knew in class. Softening a bit, Joe and Rainey began discussing peer pressure and he admitted that he understood wanting to be liked. They were interrupted when football player Casey Evans showed up to remind Rainey about a party at his house that weekend, making some advances on her as well. Joe tried to stand up for Rainey but, seeing she still wanted to be accepted, he simply let her be.

Sometime later in physics class, after Becca gave a vapid attempt at a required presentation and got a pass for it, Rainey finally objected to Coach Pruit letting the popular kids have free reign in the class. When Joe backed her up, Pruit threatened him with detention for drawing on his desk. Rainey wouldn't back down, however, and after standing up to Pruit, she stormed out.

Joe ran out after her. Finding Rainey sometime later after she skipped a pep rally, he asked if she was quitting. Rainey admitted she was afraid Becca would turn the school against her and leave her a nobody for the rest of high school. Joe cheered her up by drawing an atom on her leg, explaining his philosophy, and why it was better to be a "center". Rainey asked if two "centers" could be friends and the two shared a kiss. Rainey decided to quit the cheerleading squad for good and left to tell Becca.

Joe would never see Rainey again. The next morning, she was found dead on the football field from an apparent overdose of beer and Liquid X. Joe suspected Becca was responsible, but knew if "the bad druggie kid" accused the head cheerleader of anything, no one would believe him and he would end up the scapegoat. Joe blamed himself for Rainey's death, thinking that encouraging her to stand up for herself got her killed. A few months later, Joe was expelled from school for drug use. Though rumors circled that he'd been making Liquid X in the school's chem lab, the truth was he'd been caught smoking pot on the bleachers for the fifth time.

A decade later, in 2007, Joe still thought about Rainey. As his class' ten-year reunion approached, Joe became upset that no one else seemed to think about Rainey or care about her. While at an art exhibit where people wrote secrets and posted them on a wall, Joe wrote "I killed Rainey Karlsen" and stuck it on the wall with his signature atom drawing. Rainey's mother, Elizabeth Karlsen, eventually saw the note and alerted the police, who reopened the case.

Joe was questioned by Detectives Scotty Valens and Nick Vera after they heard about his initial confrontation with Rainey in class and the rumors of him making drugs. Joe explained he'd been wrong about Rainey and quickly deflected suspicion to Casey, who'd since been brought up on date rape charges in college.

Joe was brought back in when they learn about his drawings, which matched the note on the wall and the atom on Rainey's leg. Confronted by Scotty and Detective Lilly Rush, Joe half-heartedly confessed to killing Rainey. The detectives quickly saw through that, however, as he had no reason to hurt her. When they asked why he didn't reveal the truth back then, Joe admitted that it was due to both his guilt and the realization that Becca would be believed over him. He then told them about the last time he saw Rainey, when she decided to quit the squad.

This would lead the detectives back to Becca, who had force-fed Rainey drugged beer in retaliation for standing up to her, and Rainey's best friend Celeste Church who, for her own reasons, had allowed Rainey to die after.