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The Last of Us showrunners on how Henry and Sam’s deaths affected Joel




HBO’s new hit The Last of Us is slowly creeping close to its season finale. By now, the viewers have grown a bit used to the deaths that happen in every episode, but each of these scenes hit quite differently. One of the most traumatic death scenes for both the viewers and the show’s protagonists was the death of Henry and Sam in episode 5. Though Joel, who has been hardened over time, shows little to no emotion at the moment, showrunners Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin have made it clear their deaths affected him deeply.

How did Sam and Henry’s deaths affect Joel?

The showrunners revealed to host Troy Baker on The Last of Us Podcast, “We wanted to explore the impact of what’s happened to Joel in the wake of Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam (Keivonn Woodard), despite time having passed significantly and it’s shown when he exits the cabin and seizes his chest. What’s happening is Joel is having a panic attack and he doesn’t know why. It’s your body telling you that you’re in terrible danger but you don’t understand why.”

“This episode is about Joel coming to terms with how terrified he is that she’s going to die and it’s going to be his fault. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll see as many times Joel has helped her, he’s failed her. And those are the things he dwells on. Like a lot of us, if you have core trauma the way Joel does, the things you do well are discounted but you will magnifiy your failures and tragedies until they threaten to subsume you.”

Episode 6 - "Kin" | The Last of Us Podcast | HBO Max

Why did Joel want Tommy to take Ellie to the Fireflies?

Druckmann continued, “He is convinced what’s best for Ellie is to let her go but it’s to protect himself. In the game, the camera is quite far back. You swing it around the character, there’s no way to see what’s going on in the faces so we did it with dialogue. We just made Joel distant, like their relationship has gone backwards. Here, we can have intimate close up moments with the camera, we can show this in subtle ways. Ellie’s reaction is when you look at your parents who have protected you forever, you don’t want to accept they have any sort of weakness.”

Will Joel survive?

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For those who are worried about Joel’s safety, worry not, Joel will make a full recovery, but it will take some time. The scene is inspired by the original video game, where Joel is impaled in a similar skirmish but in a more brutal fashion, and is close to death, but survives with Ellie’s help, who is left to fend for herself and Joel for a couple of months.

Read Next: Biggest Moments from The Last of Us Episode 7, “Left Behind”

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Sayantan is a keen follower of everything pop culture; from films, shows, anime to video games and latest memes. He started writing professionally for Wiki of Thrones during the 2021 lockdown, and has been developing his writing and editing skills ever since. With a growing repertoire amassing renowned websites, Sayantan is your go to guy for all things Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon.

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