Episode 6 of ‘The Last of Us’ explores Joel’s fears and insecurities and ends with a cliffhanger that could represent the show’s biggest change yet.
Editor’s note: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 6 of The Last of Us.
After an movement-packed episode that ended with two tragic deaths, this week The Last of Us takes a step back to discover the internal universe of its two leading characters. While traveling to Wyoming hoping to discover Tommy (Gabriel Luna), Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) are forced to mirror on their relationship and the way a ways they are inclined to go to find a remedy for the Cordyceps contamination. While Joel has been a mean and lean Infected-killing gadget for most of the show’s runtime, Episode 6, “Kin,” takes the time to explore the man’s fears and insecurities. Joel has never been more prone than in Episode 6, so it’s fitting that the episode ends with his viable demise. The truth Joel actively decided to confront his fears first earlier than being wounded best makes the moment more emotional.
Since HBO is following the primary story beats of the original The Last of Us recreation, it’s not likely they may kill Joel in Episode 6. However, his close to-loss of life revel in is the appropriate possibility for him to recognize Ellie is not a delicate creature who desires regular protection. She’s a survivor, just like him, and he must put extra consider in her to take care of things.
Joel Finally Admits His Biggest Fear
During Episode 6, The Last of Us underlines how Joel is laid low with severe anxiety. When faced with the idea that his brother, Tommy, is probably lifeless, Joel feels his heart racing and his prepared spinning around. He’s paralyzed by way of worry yet again while a canine smells Ellie on the lookout for symptoms of infection, dreading that the animal may want to tear the woman into portions. While Joel’s anxiety has probable been haunting him for a very long time, his intellectual fitness appears to have deteriorated after the deaths of Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam (Keivonn Woodard). As Joel confesses to his brother, he’s laid low with the reality one brother killed the opposite to defend Ellie while he become just status there and watching the entirety takes place in front of his eyes.
As Joel tells Tommy, old age has been catching up with him. He’s partially deaf, his body doesn’t react as fast because it used to, and he certainly doesn’t have the stamina that made him a fierce warrior for almost two many years after the apocalypse. And even as it’s normal to develop antique and sense your frame grow to be less agile, in Joel’s case, his physical challenge most effective feeds his tension. Joel pretends he’s most effective escorting Ellie to the Fireflies to appreciate Tess’ (Anna Torv) death wish. But the fact is he without a doubt cares for the girl. So, while he feels time is stealing his strengths, Joel convinces himself he may be responsible for Ellie’s death. He won’t be fast enough to protect Ellie, so he’ll ultimately be accountable for her dying. Joel doesn’t fear his demise, however he’s paralyzed on the idea of losing another daughter. Because that’s what Ellie has become to him, a daughter, as fragile as Sarah (Nico Parker) become while she died. However, Ellie isn’t Sarah, and Episode 6 forces Joel to simply accept this reality.
Ellie Will Have to Prove Herself
Joel is so absorbed by his fears that he convinces Tommy to take Ellie to a university in Colorado the Fireflies are using as a medical base. Tommy is younger and knows the region well enough to avoid danger, making him more suited to escort Ellie. But while Joel makes this unilateral decision out of concern for Ellie’s safety, he’s being selfish not to include her in the conversation. And when Ellie learns about what Joel and Tommy agreed in secrecy, she doesn’t hesitate to tell Joel she is not Sarah. What Ellie needs from Joel is trust and support, more than protection.
Sometimes, Joel is so focused on his own pain that he forgets Ellie has also lost everyone she cares about. And by abandoning Ellie, Joel only shows the girl she’s alone in the world. Ellie is more than the key to finding a cure, she’s a person with her own thoughts and feelings, and by taking away her choice, Joel erases her humanity. The fight Joel and Ellie have on the night before going to the university compels Joel to accept all of this while also making him see Ellie as someone different from Sarah. As someone born and raised in the apocalyptic, Ellie is more capable of defending herself. So, instead of sheltering Ellie from everything, it’s up to Joel to teach her how to survive on her own. It’s no wonder that after deciding to take Ellie to the university himself, Joel finally accepts to give her shooting lessons. The emotional road is long, but in Episode 6, Joel finally accepts Ellie for who she really is.
It’s devastating that Joel is wounded by looters right after he changes his relationship with Ellie. When the two get attacked at the abandoned university, while trying to figure out where the Fireflies might have gone next, Joel is stabbed before escaping on horseback with Ellie. However, he falls from the horse a few miles later, with his guts leaking from the wound hole. Joel’s biggest fears have come true, as he could not avoid a potentially deadly wound, and now Ellie might have to survive alone. As for Ellie, Joel’s dire condition makes her admit she is not his equal and needs him to survive.
From the game’s script, we know that Joel survives this wound — and while HBO can always change the course of the story to surprise fans, they haven’t strayed from the main course so far. Still, Joel’s wound offers him the perfect opportunity to let Ellie take care of him, and by forcing the two protagonists to change places, HBO’s The Last of Us can give Joel the tools he needs to deal with his paralyzing fear. As for Ellie, by being put in an impossible situation all by herself, she’ll have to use everything Joel taught her while discovering she is perfectly capable of surviving on her own. In the end, while Joel’s wound is shocking, it will likely result in important growth for the show’s two main characters.