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HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ Goes Further To Humanize Joel Than the Game Ever Did

Published on February 21st, 2023 | Updated on February 21st, 2023 | By FanFest

The Last of Us has stayed true to the original Naughty Dog games and raised its beloved characters in ways that can’t be accomplished by any other video game. It stands apart from all other video game adaptations due to its devotion to source material, skillfully advancing them without overlooking this crucial foundation.

This was particularly evident in episode six of The Last of Us, “Kin”, which for the most part was an opportunity for the audience to take a breather from the moment-to-moment survivalism and intensity, instead taking a chance to get to know, and unpack the psyche of Pedro Pascal’s Joel.

The episode began with Joel gripping his chest in pain, leaving the audience to assume a cardiac issue. However, later on he revealed to Tommy that it was an extreme fear of disappointing those around him causing these panic-like episodes – ruining any opportunity for success and rendering him paralyzed.

During the evening sequence in Jackson, we get an extended version of Joel and Tommy’s conversation that was abruptly cut off due to a gameplay scene. This provides us with an insightful look into Joel’s mind as well as why he so desperately desires to leave Ellie after all they had been through together; something beyond just not wanting to risk losing his beloved daughter-figure once again. Adapting too many action scenes would have only served for a post-apocalyptic John Wick reenactment instead of further developing their relationship and answering our questions.

Although video games can provide a powerful narrative experience, movies and television offer more room to explore root motivations of characters while giving us an engaging story. Not every developer is like Hideo Kojima who carries a higher degree of cutscene than gameplay in his work; if this were the standard for all games, we’d eventually be unable to differentiate between films and video games because their content would become so similar. The Last Of Us Part II serves as proof that developers are capable of creating unique stories within gaming when given enough creative freedom.

Thanks to the development of “Kin,” we now understand our protagonist’s complicated mindset more fully as he traverses a path leading up to the eventual and rapidly approaching finale of both this season and original game. In only a few weeks, HBO Max will bring us all closer towards finding out how it ends.

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as seen on promo graphic


as seen on promo graphic