The Last of Us Ep. 6 Nailed an iconic scene that moved gamers in 2013
From the first episode, it was immediately clear that HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us was going to be a hit. Even the promotional materials and trailers were promising, and this first episode confirmed what we had already thought: this was a passion project, handled with love and care.
It’s difficult not to draw comparisons to AMC’s The Walking Dead, which also started out with a lot of potential, but its quality steadily declined as the show began to deviate from the source material. Season 2 in particular was notorious for fleshing out far too many small parts of the story that didn’t need all that much attention, leading to a serious pacing problem for the entire show in general.
So far, The Last of Us has avoided this trap. Sure, the introduction of new character Kathleen might have been a bit off the mark, but the show didn’t waste time on pointless details, and so on Do be specified are actually useful. We spent a lot of time learning about Joel’s partial deafness, Bill and Frank’s beautiful relationship, Tess’ cruelly short-lived character arc, and we even saw hints of Ellie’s dark side. But for the most part, the show has managed to stay on track and hit all the major plot points to keep things going.
All of this culminated in the portrayal of the game’s most important scene: the scene where Joel is finally forced to come to terms with the fact that he’s begun to see Ellie as his daughter.
Let’s rewind things a bit. Episode 6 begins with Joel and Ellie trying to figure out where exactly they are on the map, and a Native American couple informs them that if they tried to go west, they would run into the River of Death. Ellie brazenly states that they don’t scare him, but the pair are quick to point out that Joel is devastated.
They exit the house and Joel immediately clutches his chest as he appears to be going through a minor anxiety-induced panic attack. This won’t be the last time he has one of those moments, as we see again in Jackson when he learns that Tommy is about to become a father. He exits the bar, sees a young woman vaguely resembling Sarah from behind, and the panic attack strikes again.
In this week’s Inside the Episode video, showrunner Craig Mazin and series creator Neil Druckmann explained that it was important for the show to portray the fact that Joel was showing a physical response to his own emotions and what was happening around him. Just as the partial deafness was a way to show the toll the apocalypse had taken on Joel’s body, his panic attacks serve a similar purpose, showing the audience how Joel is reacting to his evolving relationship with Ellie. These are very minor character traits that wouldn’t have worked in a video game but are infinitely more effective on a television show.
These little physical cues then culminate in Joel’s heartfelt conversation with Tommy, where he finally admits he’s scared he doesn’t have the strength to protect Ellie while he takes her to the Fireflies. He finally admits he’s never gotten over the grief of losing Sarah, and he’s afraid he might end up losing his daughter all over again. Of course, Ellie only overhears the last bit of their discussion, and she thinks Joel is just trying to pledge her to Tommy so he can get rid of her.
This leads to this iconic scene from the first game where Joel and Ellie have their first real discussion about what they actually mean to each other. While Ellie is absolutely ready to be totally open about her feelings, Joel’s avoidance kicks in and he pushes her away.
It’s worth noting that the preludes to this scene are quite different in-game and on-show. In the original The Last of Us, Joel enters this scene completely pissed off. Ellie stole a horse and ran away, and Joel is frustrated with her. He speaks to her like a daughter who gets into trouble, even warning her to be careful about what she says next when Sarah is mentioned.
On the show, Joel approaches her with gentleness. He plans to break the news that they are going their separate ways, and Pedro Pascal’s portrayal of Joel in this scene is a lot softer than what we got in the game. This is not to say that the scene’s impact has been diminished, however; We still get that emotional rawness of Joel’s heartbreak and loss coupled with Ellie’s desperation to hold on to the one person she really cares about who hasn’t died or left her yet.
I wish the show had also adapted the sequence from the game where Joel, on a horseback ride back to Jackson’s, reflects on his argument with Ellie before finally deciding to finish the job himself. It’s a very calm sequence that shows a reasonable time lapse and the heaviness of the conversation that weighs on both of them. Joel’s quick turn the next day felt a bit jarring on the show, but hey, I get it. Each episode is only about an hour long, we have to keep things going.
With only three episodes left this season and with material still to be covered, I haven’t been this excited about a TV show’s weekly release schedule since Better Call Saul’s last run. Okay, I know this only happened a few months ago, but still. The Last of Us has managed to knock it out of the park with every episode so far, and it looks like we’re headed for a very strong ending in the coming weeks. Bring Left Behind.
https://twinfinite.net/2023/02/hbos-the-last-of-us-totally-nailed-that-iconic-scene-this-week/ The Last of Us Ep. 6 Nailed an iconic scene that moved gamers in 2013