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Is Joel Having a Panic Attack in HBO’s The Last of Us? Answered

Joel and Ellie
Image Source: HBO

Is Joel Having a Panic Attack in HBO’s The Last of Us? Answered

It’s not just the cold air.

Episode 6 of HBO’s The Last of Us finally sees Joel get reunited with his long lost brother Tommy, and we also get to see some pretty substantial development in Joel’s relationship with Ellie. There are a few subtle clues here and there that help to flesh out Joel’s character, but as always, these are things that could be easily missed. If you’re wondering whether and why Joel’s having a panic attack in The Last of Us, here’s what you need to know.

Why Is Joel Clutching His Heart in HBO’s The Last of Us?

In two key scenes from episode 6, we see Joel pause for a moment as he stops and puts his hand on his heart, almost as if he’s having a panic attack. When Ellie asks him if he’s alright, Joel says that it’s just the sudden rush of cold air that’s given him pause.

However, later on, we learn that Joel’s having these mini panic attacks because he’s grown to care for Ellie, and he’s afraid that he won’t be strong enough to protect her.

In Wyoming, Joel tells Tommy that he’s been freezing up whenever Ellie’s been in dangerous situations, and finds himself unable to react and protect her. He admits that he’s afraid he won’t be able to take her to the Fireflies, and begs Tommy to finish the mission for him.

As explained in this week’s Inside the Episode video, showrunner Craig Mazin explains that Joel cannot possibly fathom the idea of going through the process of losing his child again, and that’s what’s causing the panic attacks and anxiety we see in episode 6. You can check out the video for yourself down below:

We don’t actually see Joel get any of these little panic attacks in the original The Last of Us, this is a new character trait that’s been included exclusively for the HBO adaptation.

That’s all you need to know about whether Joel is having a panic attack in HBO’s The Last of Us. Be sure to search for Twinfinite for more news and information on the show.

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