Joel has come to the point of either admitting he has become attached to Ellie or breaking things off and abandoning her forever.

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Joel has come to the point of either admitting he has become attached to Ellie or breaking things off and abandoning her forever.

Aired (HBO) February 19, 2023
Director(s) Jasmila Zbanic
Writer(s) Craig Mazin
Newly Noted Characters
Maria Rutina Wesley
Previously Noted Characters
Joel Pedro Pascal
Ellie Bella Ramsey
Tommy Gabriel Luna


This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Bonding Over Far-Off Dreams –  Joel, Ellie

Three months of traveling, even with the stoic Joel, doesn’t mean a lack of conversation. Ellie does get him to talk about his dreams for once this is all over, and Joel’s dream is to be on a farmhouse with a ranch, where he’ll raise sheep. As for Ellie? Though we know it is far-fetched, she does say being an astronaut, like Sally ride, is her dream.

Attempts To Move Beyond The Past – Joel, Ellie, Maria, Tommy

Rutina Wesley as Maria warning Ellie
“Rutina Wesley as Maria warning Ellie,” The Last Of Us, “Kin,” directed by Jasmila Zbanic, 2023, (HBO)

Eventually, Ellie and Joel make it to Colorado, and while they are warned about a river of death, luckily for them, those who contribute to the bodies of the river include Maria, Joel’s new sister-in-law. That’s right, Tommy is alive, married, and even about to be a father. This is all very interesting for Ellie since Maria doesn’t know how little Ellie was aware of Joel’s past, including that he had a daughter named Sarah.

But, what truly complicates this family reunion isn’t Maria, the pregnant, or her being with Tommy, but rather Joel having more frequent anxiety or panic attacks. Combine that with going deaf and slowly becoming attached to Ellie, and it makes him want to have his brother finish the task of getting her to the Fireflies. After all, for the world Tommy’s kid will grow up in, Ellie potentially giving the world a cure or immunity means the potential for normalcy beyond the Jackson encampment.

Now, Ellie, overhearing part of the conversation, isn’t pleased since abandonment issues are high between death and people leaving her. However, Joel, be it because of his past or fears of what will likely come in his future, says he wants out, and Ellie bringing up Sarah just makes him, even more, feel like this is the time to leave.

Yet, when he doesn’t make the choice for Ellie but allows Ellie to choose whether she goes with Tommy or him, she chooses him without a second thought and allows Ellie to choose their fate.

The Past Can’t Help Repeating Itself – Joel, Ellie

Which, once again, was supposed to lead to them ending their time together with dropping Ellie off with Fireflies somewhere. This time at the University of Eastern Colorado, but by the time they get there, the Fireflies are gone. Not because they became clickers but because, like so many Fireflies, they are converging somewhere near Salt Lake City.

This is an unfortunate reveal, but it is not too far of a trek, so Joel and Ellie resign themselves to a new adventure. But, then raiders come, and while Joel and Ellie are able to escape them, even kill one, Joel is stabbed, potentially fatally, and this could potentially leave Ellie alone out in the wilderness, with only the most basic of training from Joel.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Do raiders realize they can destroy the dam to help take out that town?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Likely the part of the first game when Ellie was on her own for weeks or months, scavenging for medical supplies – plus, based on previews, us seeing Ellie’s life before the Fireflies showed up. Which will include Storm Reid showing up as Riley



Ellie Longs To Form A Real Connection

All children just want to be loved, but I think for Ellie, being with Joel has really shown her what is possible. She became aware of two men living their lives together. While imperfect, Joel and Tess were a couple, and now in Jackson, she saw kids with parents, friends, and all the things that had long been foreign to her seemed possible.

Now, this isn’t to downplay her relationship with Riley or the things and people she saw in FEDRA schools. However, Ellie has always been an outsider, and now with a sense of belonging, Joel sticking by her through puns and life-and-death situations? She is bonded in ways I don’t think he has accounted for, and him being able, or willing, to forego spending months with her in an instant? It’s not something any 14-year-old wants to experience. Especially in a world where you have to have somebody, even if one person if you plan to survive.

Joel’s Fear Of Growing Attached And Failing Ellie

While the panic or anxiety attacks do feel sudden, at the same time, we’re talking about a man who had long secluded himself and cut off his emotions, even from someone he was likely being intimate with. So, with that in mind, you can tell that his defrosting heart, even if it is a cold November, pains him deeply. But, what doesn’t help is Tommy being fine, having a kid soon, and meanwhile, similar to Ellie, Joel has developed these feelings of not belonging to anywhere or maybe even anyone.

Yet, with this girl he met months ago, who is supposed to be cargo, he is growing attached. She may be nothing like his daughter, but with her being like a mix of him and Tess, in some ways, she is like the kid they never had, halfway to being a grown-up. And it seems, like Ellie, with losing so much, either by people choosing to live or dying, often violently, Joel’s body just can’t process yet another trauma to bury. The folds of his mind are nothing but memories of all the graves filled with acquaintances to loved ones.

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Pedros Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie on a horse heading to the University of Eastern Colorado
The Last of Us: Season 1/ Episode 6 “Kin” – Recap/ Review
As the usually stone-hearted Joel begins to go from tin man to human, it makes him and Ellie choosing each other all the more impactful, especially considering how the episode ends with his mortality questionable.
Ellie Longs To Form A Real Connection
Joel’s Fear Of Growing Attached And Failing Ellie

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