Flight Lieutenant Jeff "Joker" Moreau is the pilot of the SSV Normandy. Joker is an excellent pilot and confident to the point of arrogance, wasting no time in pointing out his prowess to others. He's quick to ensure everyone knows his many accomplishments and commendations were all earned, and not due to charity for his medical problems.
Background[edit | edit source]
Born in 2155, Joker's upbringing and career have been colored by his health. Joker has a moderate to severe case of Vrolik syndrome, which causes extreme brittleness in the bones; he was born with severe fractures to his legs and even with modern medicine he finds walking nearly impossible, relying on crutches and leg braces.
Joker spent his early life on Arcturus Station because of his mother's job there as a civilian contractor, and grew up around ships. When he was old enough to enlist, he joined the Alliance Navy. He got his nickname from his flight school instructor, due to the fact that he rarely smiled — he was working too hard. By the end of his training, however, Joker surpassed the other students and even his instructors. "They all got their asses kicked by the sickly kid with the creaky little legs. One guess who was smiling at graduation."
Mass Effect: He Who Laughs Best[edit | edit source]
When the SSV Normandy, an experimental Systems Alliance stealth frigate designed with the help of the Turian Hierarchy, is completed and prepared for its first test flight at Arcturus Station in 2183, Joker applies for the position of the ship's pilot, but is turned down because of his disease. While transporting a turian representative, General Invectus, to the station to observe the test flight, Joker mentions to that turian that he would have been better than the person who was accepted for the job. Invectus replies that they would never allow a cripple to control such a sophisticated starship as the Normandy.
Goaded to prove himself by Invectus's remark, Joker covertly boards the Normandy, locks the assigned pilot in a shuttle on the station, and hijacks the ship, locking himself in the cockpit and sealing the doors with kinetic barriers. The officials observing the test flight, Captain Anderson, Captain Dillard, and Invectus, are taken aback by this turn of events, initially believing enemy forces have captured the ship until Joker reveals himself as the hijacker. After failing to talk Joker into returning the Normandy immediately, Dillard orders the nearest fighter patrol to try to force the Normandy to land and, failing that, to target the Normandy's engines.
Although the patrol tried to disable the Normandy, Joker was able to evade their fire, complete the test-course and return the Normandy unharmed. When Joker was apprehended, Anderson asked the reasons why Joker stole the Alliance's most advanced frigate, Joker responds that he's the most qualified pilot on Arcturus Station and was born to fly the Normandy, going so far as saying that he was in love with the ship and that the only chance he'd get to fly it was to steal it. Dillard informs him that he will be court-martialed and locked up for his crimes.
Despite this, General Invectus was impressed by Joker's piloting skills, he personally defended Joker's conduct and insisted that he be made the Normandy's official pilot, implying that for the Alliance to do otherwise would not benefit human-turian relations. Anderson agrees, saying that while Joker would have to be punished for what he did, he wouldn't trust the Normandy to anyone else. Joker is stunned into disbelief that stealing the Normandy actually worked out well for him.
Mass Effect[edit | edit source]
Because he has difficulty walking, Joker rarely leaves the Normandy's bridge. As his nickname suggests, he continually makes wisecracks. Despite this, Joker takes his job very seriously and claims he's the best pilot in the entire Systems Alliance. An example of his exceptional skill was a risky maneuver where he was able to successfully drop the Mako with only twenty meters of open ground (even as other crewmen declared such a drop impossible with anything less than a hundred meters). He has complete faith in Commander Shepard's leadership and the two of them share a good camaraderie.
Joker is essentially the "voice" of the Normandy while Shepard is ashore, and often acts as Shepard's eyes and ears, particularly on Feros and Virmire. Though lighthearted, Joker is not completely insensitive; after Virmire, if Shepard talks to him, Joker talks about having to choose between Ashley Williams and Kaidan Alenko, and needs some time on his own to grieve. If Shepard decides not to bother telling the Council about Sovereign after Virmire, Joker rather prophetically snorts that Sovereign will have to be sitting on the Citadel's roof before the Council will listen to them, but promises Shepard he's in it to the end. He wants to be there when Shepard makes Saren Arterius pay.
While Shepard's team is on Ilos (thanks to Joker's expertise in dropping the Mako) and investigates the Conduit, Joker takes the Normandy to the Andura Sector and rallies the Fifth Fleet to defend the Citadel against Sovereign. When Shepard returns to the Citadel, the Commander manages to get in touch with Joker, who's sitting beside a mass relay waiting for Shepard to unlock the relay network. Joker then coordinates strategy with Shepard, asking if they should defend the Destiny Ascension to save the Council, or go straight in for the kill. Either way, the Normandy leads the Alliance forces in the battle against Sovereign — Joker's skills mean that despite Sovereign's heavy firepower, the Normandy barely gets a scratch.
Mass Effect 2[edit | edit source]
Joker is on board the Normandy as it is attacked by an unknown enemy. Shepard tries to convince Joker to abandon the ship, but Joker insists he can save it, despite other crew evacuating and the ship sustaining catastrophic damage. Shepard tells him that going down with the ship won't change anything and hauls him to the nearby escape pod. Unfortunately, just as the Commander places Joker in the pod, a blast separates them. Joker escapes to safety, while Shepard suffocates in the void.
After the destruction of the Normandy and Shepard presumed to be killed in action, Joker was reassigned, along with the rest of the surviving Normandy crew members. However, Cerberus' plan to rebuild and bring Shepard back to life led Joker to join the pro-human organization, mainly to be the pilot of the new Normandy SR-2 as a member of the Lazarus Cell. Joker is quite fond of the new Normandy setup, relishing the comfort of his pilot bay. However, he resents the presence of the shipboard AI, EDI. The two engage in a war of sorts, with pranks ranging from Joker greasing the cameras to EDI spinning his seat about against his will. EDI claims she is just testing Joker under stress, as she notices that he works better when pushed. Despite Joker's initial hostility towards EDI, he later gains a begrudging respect for her.
This trust is put to the test when the Normandy is engaged by the Collectors and Joker loses all control of the ship due to a virus hidden in the IFF, at the same time as Shepard and the team are away on a mission. EDI urges Joker to release her control lock and give control of the ship so she can initiate countermeasures protocol. Although Joker feels hesitant at the suggestion, he has no choice but to make his way down to the A.I. Core room, avoiding Collectors and Scions along the way while watching fellow crew members get captured.
When Joker successfully links EDI to the Normandy's core control systems, he crawls down the shafts again into the engine room and manually restarts the power core, granting EDI full control of the ship. EDI jumps the Normandy to safety, clearing the Collectors and Scions on-board the ship in the process, leaving Joker the only survivor in this incident. Alternatively, if Joker is spotted by enemies before completing his task, he is taken by a Scion or killed by a Praetorian, depending on which monster sighted him.
After the Collector attack and EDI's full capability unlocked, Joker begins to display a newfound fondness for EDI as she helps ease up his task load and performs the duties of the abducted crew. Joker subconsciously begins referring to EDI as "she" for the first time. When Shepard asks if a relationship is growing between the two, Joker laughs off the notion and EDI describes the relationship as a "platonic symbiosis" rather than a "hormonally-induced courtship behavior".
As the suicidal assault on the Collector base commences, Joker successfully pilots the Normandy SR-2 through the Omega 4 relay and the debris field that follows despite the Normandy taking damage, including several hull breaches.
After Shepard's defeat of the Proto-Reaper inside the base, the Normandy maneuvers to meet the Commander's team in the mad scramble to escape. Joker appears at the door of the ship with an M-8 Avenger and gives Shepard covering fire, enabling surviving squad members to pull the Commander inside, given at least two squad members survived the suicide mission. If fewer than two squad members survived the mission, Shepard dies despite Joker's valiant effort. At the end of the assault, Joker manages to fly the Normandy away from the Collector base before it is either destroyed or purged based on Shepard's decision.
In either case, Joker acquires the schematics of a Reaper, presumably Harbinger, gained from EDI hacking the Collector base's computers. If Shepard fails to escape the Collector base, Joker is seen briefly mourning over the Commander's coffin, and he is the only one left to speak with the Illusive Man in the mission debriefing instead.
Mass Effect 3[edit | edit source]
When Commander Shepard surrendered to Alliance custody, Joker was also arrested, though no charges were filed against him. Before surrendering, however, Joker and EDI devised a plan for EDI to pose as a VI, so the Alliance wouldn't dismantle her for being an AI. As part of the deception, EDI pretended to only respond to Joker's commands. This meant, during the Alliance retrofit of the Normandy, that Joker was often brought in under guard to liaise between the crew and EDI, as the Alliance was initially unsure how to disable this system.
At the start of the Reaper invasion, Joker was onboard the Normandy, and after being set free by his guards, helps extract Shepard from Vancouver and continues his role as pilot throughout the war, personally reinstated as Flight Lieutenant along with Shepard. He also keeps in touch with Admiral Anderson who trusts Joker to look after Shepard in case the Commander pushes themselves too hard. Joker also reveals he feels responsible for the Commander's death at the hands of the Collectors since it was because Joker wouldn't leave the cockpit that Shepard was caught in the blast and killed.
The Normandy goes haywire after the mission to extract Palaven's primarch from the planet, and when it is revealed that EDI took control over the body of Eva Coré, Shepard can walk to Joker in his cockpit asking if he had knowledge about the event. Whichever the case, he is clearly impressed with his "new" co-pilot, either commenting he "would've baked a cake" in its hotness or that the body gives EDI "sweet flexibility".
During one of the crew's Citadel breaks, Joker can be found sitting on a bench in the Presidium Commons. He expresses disdain over the Citadel denizens' seeming indifference on the war, what with more frivolous reports like Blasto 6 breaking opening-week records than the ongoing Reaper invasion. Meanwhile, everyone is ignoring EDI, whom he introduced as his "mobility assistance mech". Thanks to his Vrolik syndrome, he's legally entitled to bring her anywhere, and he also opines that EDI's earned a little shore leave herself.
After Cerberus' assault on the Citadel, Shepard can find Joker in Purgatory standing at a bar and contemplating on pursuing a relationship with EDI. If female, Shepard can ask Joker why he never pursued a relationship with her instead. Joker responds that he never really considered it and he did not wish to break rank. He returns his attention to EDI, and asks for Shepard's opinion on the matter.
If pushed to form the relationship, he leaves the bar to join EDI on the dance floor, later sharing a table with her and commenting on the looks of various women wielding considerable political power (rating Tevos and Sha'ira as "hot", Irissa as "not hot" because of "too much makeup", and Dalatrass Linron as "ew"). If not, he doesn't budge from his position, sarcastically offering to guard the table EDI is at.
Moments after the battle on Thessia, Shepard can overhear Joker venting in the cockpit about the need to shoot something. If Shepard talks to him, Joker wisecracks about the asari having too many dancers in comparison to commandos. Shepard doesn't find it funny and chews the pilot out for it, though Joker retorts he's well aware of the situation: a few weeks before Thessia, the Reapers hit the colony of Tiptree, where Joker's father and sister, Hilary, are located.
The Commander asks him why the jokes, and Joker reasons he's just trying to provide comic relief. According to EDI, stress levels registered by Shepard's armor exceed those incurred in previous career-defining missions. Joker then reveals that Anderson worries about his protégé enough to entrust the pilot with taking care of Shepard.
Shepard can rudely brush the concern aside, in which case Joker drops the matter entirely, or express appreciation at the pilot's thought then brush the concern aside. Joker doesn't believe the Commander is fine, and reveals his lingering guilt over causing Shepard's death (and subsequent cybernetic reconstruction) way back. Shepard cheers him up, and with Joker somewhat back to his snarky self leaves him with a reminder for the work ahead.
Liara later informs Joker that her Shadow Broker network has news on refugee ships from Tiptree landing on salarian territory. Even though the reports don't come with names and claim that the refugees consist "mostly of children", Joker clings to the hope that at least his sister, being only fifteen, is among them. Liara supports him in this belief, claiming that "right now, he needs to take all the hope he can get."
Just before Shepard leaves the Normandy for the last time during the final assault on Earth, Joker takes the time to stand up, salute the Commander on the cockpit, and bid them be careful. Later, provided Shepard chooses to activate the Crucible, Joker waits until the last minute to pick the Commander up, refusing to move the Normandy out of the Crucible's blast range until one of Shepard's companions convinces him of the need. His piloting skills help put some distance between the Normandy and the Crucible's blast, but the ship nevertheless crash-lands on a tropical planet.
If Shepard rallied enough of the galaxy's forces, Joker will be seen leaving the Normandy alive and unharmed, along with EDI — if the relationship between the two was urged by Shepard — and the two characters Shepard has the best camaraderie with. EDI will not be present if Shepard chooses to destroy the Reapers, having been destroyed along with all other synthetic life. If the forces gathered were not sufficient, no one will be seen leaving the Normandy.
If Shepard chooses to activate the Crucible, Joker, Samantha Traynor, and any surviving squad members can be seen paying their respects to the fallen, placing the Commander's name above Admiral Anderson's on the Memorial Wall aboard the Normandy.
If Shepard chooses to use the Crucible to merge organic and synthetic life, Joker appears to have glowing green circuit lines on his body and eyes — representing the techno-organic fusion that has changed everyone in the galaxy.
Mass Effect 3: Citadel[edit | edit source]
Joker takes advantage of the Normandy's retrofit to dine at a fine sushi restaurant called Ryuusei's in the Citadel Wards, acting on an email sent by Shepard. Shepard joins him later, and they chat about the times. Joker comments on the "seriousness" of the sushi place: "French guy at the door" serious. Turns out one only has to save the galaxy twice in order to get a table in the restaurant. Joker inquires about the email he was sent earlier, and it turns out an invite was sent to Shepard as well, who thought it was from Joker.
They are interrupted by Alliance Staff Analyst Maya Brooks, who claims there are some people out to kill the Commander. Soon after, a bunch of fully-armed individuals march to the restaurant, bringing out firearms and shooting up the place. Under cover, Shepard instructs Joker to find the crew, and when Joker waddles out, Shepard assassinates a mook unlucky enough to take note of the pilot. Joker never lives this incident down, claiming "Savior of the Citadel uses brittle-bones guy as bait" or other such reminders during the fiasco.
After Shepard and the team are freed from the Citadel Archives by Glyph, Joker arrives to take Shepard and their choice of squadmates to retake the Normandy. While the clone fights Shepard in the cargo hold, Joker and Cortez prevent the merc pilot from jumping to FTL by flying close to the nose section of the frigate in a skycar. After the clone is defeated, he secures the Normandy systems with EDI's help.
Sometime after the team has retaken the Normandy, Shepard can find Joker at the bar and see him bragging at a skeptical asari bartender to get free drinks. The story Joker comes up with is that during the Cerberus coup, after Shepard pushed through the docking bay, Joker was also there, but the Cerberus troops didn't even bother to shoot at him. He continues by saying that they didn't live long enough to regret that when Joker found an Atlas Mech nearby, got into it, then proceeded to mow down every single Cerberus trooper on the floor. Naturally, the bartender doesn't buy the story. Shepard can either play along or bust Joker's story on the spot.
Joker speaks at Thane's funeral if Shepard accepts Kolyat's request to hold a memorial service. Joker reminisces how he was scared of Thane when the latter first came aboard the Normandy, thinking the assassin could probably kill everyone on the ship with a ball-point pen. But as time went on and he got to know Thane better, he wasn't afraid anymore. Joker finishes his part praising Thane for always letting people know where they stood.
Joker is a mandatory invite at Shepard's big party. He spends some time with Jacob and Miranda, if they're present. Joker comments on the incompetence of Cerberus back in 2183 and 2185 when Miranda and Jacob were in charge. Miranda asks Joker if he considered somebody more human than EDI. He replies in the negative because according to him EDI's smart, funny, and "into spaceships." If he and EDI were stuck at the friend zone, Miranda admits to being curious at what could've happened and defers to Joker's judgment on the issue. Joker adds that nobody wants an angry ex equipped with a Thanix cannon if he and EDI ever hooked up then broke up.
At some point at the party, Joker is told by several crew members to train handling a handgun to which he refuses, citing EDI as his co-pilot. Shepard can either support Joker or the crew. If the Commander supports the crew, Joker agrees to go for shooting practice only if Cortez can match him drink-for-drink. Cortez accepts the challenge, not knowing that Joker brought his own concoction, which happens to be a combination of horsechoker and mouthwash. Cortez is unable to stand drinking Joker's mix, and Joker triumphantly declares victory.
Provided Shepard pushed for a relationship, EDI will at one point request Joker to dance with her. Joker refuses much to EDI's chagrin who will continue to insist he dance with her going so far as to blackmail him. Shepard can either support Joker or EDI on whether to sit down or dance, respectively.
If Shepard has no love interest, Joker will share a brief conversation with the Commander before returning to the Normandy. After Shepard remarks that they threw a great party – "probably the last one" – Joker responds that it will only be the last one until Shepard finishes "kicking the Reapers' asses." Joker smiles at the the Commander before saying that he can't wait to see what Shepard makes them do next and that "it's been a good ride." Joker and Shepard then join the rest of the crew in returning to the Normandy.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- According to the art book The Art of Mass Effect, Joker was originally intended to have a more sickly appearance, due to his ill health.
- Despite Joker's bone condition, and mentioning having to use crutches in Mass Effect, he has shown to be considerably more capable in Mass Effect 2. He can walk somewhat stiffly and even walk quickly with difficulty, and is even capable of handling an assault rifle with little to no trouble.
- Like some other characters in the Mass Effect series, Joker bears a marked physical resemblance to the actor who provides his voice. However, Casey Hudson confirmed that Joker's face was modeled from someone other than Seth Green.
- Joker is the only crew member who is guaranteed to survive the attack on the Collector base. If Shepard is killed at the end of Mass Effect 2, he reports to the Illusive Man in place of the Commander.
- Joker is seen without his trademark hat on only two occasions. The first is when he pilots the Normandy over Ilos to drop Commander Shepard and the squad in the Mako, and the second is during the Collector attack on the Normandy when breaches in the ship's hull force him to don a breathing mask.
- The Hilary referred to by Aeian T'Goni during her narration of events at Tiptree was confirmed by writer Patrick Weekes to be Joker's sister.
- According to level designer Jos Hendriks, Joker's bar story with the asari at the Citadel DLC was originally planned to have 10 minutes' worth of cutscene.
- Throughout the games, Joker constantly makes wisecracks with references to 20th-21st century popular culture.
- During one of the conversations between Shepard and Joker, Joker's chair starts spinning erratically. When he questions EDI, she states that Joker insisted on manual control of his chair. This likely refers to a similar scene in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which also starred Seth Green.
- When EDI suggests giving her control of the ship to escape the Collectors, Joker tells her "If you start singing 'Daisy Bell' I'm done!" This is a reference to the last moments of the homicidal HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, itself a reference to the first song ever performed by a computer running speech synthesis software. In the same event, while Joker gives control of the Normandy to EDI, he grumbles about how this will lead to everyone becoming "human batteries" because he "plugged in the Overlord", a reference to The Matrix.
- Joker can say "Sometimes I just get the urge to turn off the inertial compensator and pull a Crazy Ivan" in Mass Effect 2, in reference to the TV series Andromeda and Firefly, which in turn is a reference to a US Navy term for a Soviet submarine maneuver first popularized in the book/film The Hunt for Red October. It is further referenced in Mass Effect 3 when Joker remarked that Normandy SR-2 will remain undetected by the geth unless the crew decides to sing the Russian national anthem.
- If Shepard kills the Rachni Queen/Breeder in Mass Effect 3, Joker will reference the 1986 film Aliens by saying, "You wanna nuke it from orbit? It's the only way to--Ah, forget it, it's probably fine."
- In his story told to a bartender in Mass Effect 3: Citadel, Joker shouts to Cerberus soldiers "You just landed on the island of doctor me!", referencing The Island of Doctor Moreau.
- At certain points in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, mainly after missions and if asked about squad members, Joker will have some unique dialogue.