Last of Us EP Hints an Upcoming Joel Moment Will Hit the Audience 'So Hard'

In addition to making us want to listen to Linda Ronstadt’s “Long, Long Time” on repeat, Sunday’s The Last of Us also made us wonder: Will we ever see scenes from Joel’s life circa 2003-2023, the way Episode 3 (read a full recap) gave us interludes from Bill and Frank’s?

So we took that query to series co-creator/executive producer Craig Mazin, who essentially said… probably not. But there’s something potentially much more powerful in the offing.

“I don’t think we’re going to go backwards at length like that, but Joel’s past is what informs his future,” the EP told TVLine. “There’s a particular moment I’m thinking of that also just [hits] me so hard.”

What might Mazin mean? In Episodes 1 and 2, both Pedro Pascal’s Joel and Anna Torv’s Tess referenced Joel’s less-than-savory history. And you’ve also got to consider the moment in the premiere that he flashed back to the night Sarah was killed, which caused him to punch a FEDRA officer’s face into a gooey paste. (Read a full recap.) Bottom line? The guy’s got baggage. And, per Mazin, that baggage will inform a highly emotional, yet-to-be-seen point in the HBO drama’s first season.

One reason behind the scene’s significance, the EP added, is that “Pedro Pascal’s portrayal of Joel has so much soul and humanity to it, and vulnerability, especially when Joel is alone. You know? He has to be a tough guy around everybody, but when he’s alone, that’s when you see all that soul.”

The Last of Us airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.

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