‘The Last of Us’ creators explain what Joel’s thinking at the end of episode 5

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Another week, another spectacularly heart-wrenching episode of The Last of Us. But in amongst the horror of tiny Clickers, major Bloaters, and that whole deeply upsetting sequence with Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Sam (Keivonn Woodard), what was our favourite stony-faced smuggler thinking? What was going on in Joel’s (Pedro Pascal’s) head as he looked down at Ellie’s “I’m sorry” note on Sam’s grave?

“This is where Joel is beginning to understand what’s happening inside him,” says co-creator Craig Mazin in HBO Max’s “Inside the Episode” video above. “Because it’s been 20 years since there was anybody in his life like a Sam, that would ruin him if he were to lose them — and he doesn’t quite know how it happened, but it has begun to happen now with Ellie.

“When he sees what happens here, all he can think is: That’s going to be her and me. and it terrifies him.”

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