Enter Joel, who has a knack for seeing the worst in everyone, especially when it comes to hidden sadness and pain that might match his own. “When Joel walks in there, I think Joel can already see it in the guy’s eyes,” Mazin said. “He’s going to commit suicide by cop here. This guy doesn’t want to be here anymore.” The actor described Joel as “begging him not to” because as much as the man doesn’t want to be there anymore, Joel doesn’t want to be the one to put him down. On screen, we see decades of pain and exhaustion communicated between the two in just a few seconds’ time.
As if all of that isn’t dark enough, Druckmann also points out the way it ties back into one of Joel’s most upsetting lines from the game. He recalls a scene when Ellie says a person who committed suicide took the easy way out, to which Joel replies, “It’s not easy.” According to Druckmann, Joel can sense that type of pain. “The thing that Craig was just talking about, Joel recognizes that,” he said, “and that’s why he sees it immediately in this man.” Leave it to “The Last of Us” creators to take one of the few moments in the game that has some chaotic fun to it and reinvent it as the saddest thing we’ve ever heard. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).