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‘Joel isn’t a hero or a knight in shining armor’: Fans Defend The Last of Us Episode 9 after Pedro Pascal’s Joel Dooms the Human Race

'Joel isn't a hero or a knight in shining armor': Fans Defend The Last of Us Episode 9 after Pedro Pascal's Joel Dooms the Human Race

This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 9

Pedro Pascal has been consistently winning our hearts for the past decade ever since he sashayed into the screens draped in that golden Dornish robe in Game of Thrones Season 4. Since then, it has been an arc of exponential rise and fame for the Chilean-American actor, with the latest stellar success being HBO’s The Last of Us. His portrayal of Joel in the video game to live-action adaptation has not only managed to stun and shock and wreck and destroy the emotional range of the fandom but it has been equally loved and admired and worshipped by those who have grown to love the Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann creation.

The Last of Us
The Last of Us

Also read: “I don’t give a sh*t”: Internet Applauds The Last of Us Star Pedro Pascal’s Reaction to Homophobes and Transphobes Disowning Him

Pedro Pascal Rules the Apocalyptic World as Joel

It is a saturated genre, broadly speaking, to have the post-apocalyptic world shown in all its horrific forms and overgrown weeds and rampant threats lurking around every corner. But somehow, the horror that is portrayed in The Last of Us has an inherent and striking beauty in the pain that it holds. The visuals mixed with the emotions that they connect to (Ellie not knowing how to swim, seeing the wonders of the mall for the first time, being excited by an escalator, feeding a giraffe from the broken floors of a skyscraper) bring out the simplistic ecstasies of life that other post-apocalyptic creations somehow miss in their rushed race to the end, climax, and resolution of the plot.

Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal
Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal as Ellie and Joel in The Last of Us

Also read: While Pedro Pascal Sets the Stage on Fire as Joel, The Last of Us Star Troy Baker Wanted “Someone Else” To Play the Role

However, even beyond looking at the world through Ellie’s eyes, there is Pedro Pascal’s Joel – born from the calamity, trauma, destruction, and desolation of the past – who brings a grounded narrative to balance out Ellie’s ever-present enthusiasm toward life. And even though Joel’s grief often becomes racking in its depth, Pedro Pascal slowly ensures the character’s progression from a defeated man clutching at the end of the ropes to a father that will destroy everything in his path to save his daughter against a world that is already too far gone.

Fans Defend Joel’s Act of Vengeance in The Last of Us Finale

Life had given Joel a second chance. In The Last of Us Episode 1, Ellie had been thrown under his reluctant care, and an emotionally grueling 9 weeks later, the fandom felt their heart bleeding out into the floors when the once-defeated man admitted (in not so many words) how it was Ellie and not time that managed to heal all the wounds that life had inflicted on him. And if life’s great irony was to take her away from him at the very exact moment he declared his renewed faith in love, family, and hope, Joel would make sure to revert to the man he once was, who would do anything to ensure the protection and survival of his daughter.

Joel saves Ellie in TLOU's nerve-racking season finale
Joel saves Ellie in TLOU‘s nerve-racking season finale

Also read: Brutal Moments From The Last of Us That the Show May Include

The crux of the matter stands: Joel is a flawed character (always has been). He has openly admitted his past wrongdoings (killing innocents to survive on the road). And the man who even Marlene trusted with ensuring Ellie’s survival (i.e. their sole chance at finding a cure) is the farthest thing from one embodying compassion, heroism, and geniality. In a world as cruel and rotten as the one where Joel and Ellie happen to live in, a knight in shining armor is not the one who gets to save the day.

Pedro Pascal’s character in The Last of Us is expected to carry forth into Season 2 with a compelling arc that was already hinted at in the final moments of Episode 9. Ellie’s trust in him has been called into question and will flounder more as the story progresses. Even though the cure that the Fireflies dreamed of was a long shot, (again: a choice that was Ellie’s to make), Joel’s rampage and extermination of the possibility of finding that vaccine will become a point of contention in Season 2, leading to more conflict and confrontation in the coming saga.

The Last of Us Season 1 is now available for streaming on HBO Max.

Source: Twitter

Written by Diya Majumdar

Having graduated with honors in literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has more than 1200 published articles on Fandomwire, and her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema. She happens to be a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh, and an obsessive collection of Spotify playlists