The Last of Us Showrunners Explain Why Joel's Panic Attacks Were Important In Episode 6

Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO

Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO

There is little doubt that The Last of Us Episode 6 had a lot of great moments but Kin also had some surprising scenes showing Joel having panic attacks. So why did the HBO show choose to focus on the character's deteriorating mental health? Showrunners Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin discussed why it was important to highlight Joel's psychological journey.

In The Last of Us Episode 6, there are multiple times when Joel catches his breath and clutches at his chest. These are clear signs of a panic attack considering that it usually happens right after a stressful scene.

So why is Joel suddenly experiencing panic attacks? Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin explained on the latest Last of Us podcast that what happened in Episode 5 had a lasting effect on Joel.

"We wanted to explore the impact of what’s happened to Joel in the wake of Henry and Sam, despite time having passed significantly and it's shown when he exits the cabin and seizes his chest," they said.

"What's happening is Joel is having a panic attack and he doesn’t know why. It’s your body telling you that you're in terrible danger but you don’t understand why. This episode is about Joel coming to terms with how terrified he is that she’s going to die and it’s going to be his fault," they continued.

The showrunners also stated that Joel's relationship with Ellie has been affected by his current mental state.

"Like a lot of us, if you have core trauma the way Joel does, the things you do well are discounted but you will magnify your failures and tragedies until they threaten to subsume you," they said.

It certainly had an impact on viewers as well and we're looking forward to the next episodes of The Last of Us.

The Last of Us Episode 6 is now streaming on HBO Max.

Related: The Last of Us Episode 7 Preview Teases Ellie's Shocking Backstory

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