What’s wrong with Joel’s heart in The Last of Us episode 6?

The Last of Us Episode 6
The Last of Us Episode 6 /
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Spoilers ahead of The Last of Us episode 6

The Last of Us episode 6, “Kin,” put Joel and Ellie’s bond to the test. When they first left the QZ, their relationship was less than stellar to say the least. Joel saw her as a means to an end. His heart was set on getting to Wyoming to find his brother. That was the mission he and Tessa had set out on and wound up with a kid in their care.

Tessa died not too long into the journey, leaving Joel and Ellie to make the trek on their own to drop Ellie off with Fireflies who could potentially synthesize a cure for the infection that’s turned humans in to fungi controlled zombies terrorizing the globe.

When we meet back up with the pair in “Kin” it’s been three months since the events of episode 5 “Endure and Survive” which saw Joel and Ellie opening up to the idea of Henry and Sam traveling with them only to lose the two horrifically and tragically.

It seems that in episode 6, the stakes of the mission he’s on catches up to Joel. He’s having dizzy spells and his heart feels like it’s stopping. It’s making him feel overwhelmed and weak. What’s causing his symptoms? Here’s what we know.

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What’s wrong with Joel’s heart in The Last of Us?

As Joel explains to his brother Tommy, it’s fear. He’s scared he’s going to fail Ellie and that’s presenting as a physical reaction. Joel has been having nightmares and though he doesn’t know what they consist of he does know that he’s been waking up with the feeling of abject failure. Obviously, this is happening because he’s come to care about Ellie and doesn’t want to lose her the way he lost his daughter, Sarah.

This scares him so much that he asks Tommy to take her the rest of the way to the Firefly hideout. Joel cites freezing when a fungi controlled Sam attacked Ellie, and not stepping in when the fungi smelling dog could have hurt her, as the reasons why he can’t be in charge of her safety anymore. He fears that if she really needs him he won’t be able to protect her.

Thankfully, after a heart-wrenching argument with Ellie and a good night’s sleep, Joel changes his mind and he does take Ellie where she needs to go. There’s even talk of them coming back to the community Tommy’s a part of to start over. Unfortunately, it’s not Joel’s heart that ends up having him walking the knife’s edge between life and death. It’s a stab wound.

“Kin” concludes before we can find out if Joel’s going to be okay, so you know we’ll going to be waiting with bated breath for episode 7.

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Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more The Last of Us news and coverage! New episodes air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. The series is also available to stream on HBO Max.