The Last of Us viewers can't deal with Joel's heartbreaking confession in the season 1 finale

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

Attention: This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 9 and mentions of suicide, which some readers may find distressing.

The Last of Us finale was pretty faithful to the PlayStation game in which it's based, as it sees Joel and Ellie finally catch up to the Fireflies and the former make some rash decisions as to their future. But one big moment in the episode didn't feature in the source material, and it left viewers in tears.

As the search for the Fireflies' base in Salt Lake City, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) stumble across an emergency medical camp in the finale – which, as the former points out, would've been set up in the early days of the Cordyceps outbreak. Joel then makes a throwaway comment about how he once spent some time in a medical camp just like it. When Ellie asks what was wrong with him, he points to the mark on his temple, to which she teases, "Ah, the guy that shot and missed?"

"I was the guy who shot and missed," Joel says solemnly. "There's no story. Sarah died, and I couldn't see the point anymore. That was that. I wasn't scared either, I was ready. I couldn't have been more ready. Then when I, when I went to pull the trigger, I flinched... Still don't know why."

"Time heals all wounds, I guess," Ellie says, before Joel interjects, "It wasn't time that did it."

"Well, I'm glad that that didn't work out," a sorrowful Ellie says to her new best pal. "Me too," he replies, prompting fans to rush to social media to share their thoughts to the emotional exchange.

"Joel's confession to Ellie... when I tell you I cried that would be an understatement," one Twitter user admitted, as another wrote: "Joel telling Ellie that it wasn't time that healed his heart thus insinuating that it was her who healed him. I don't know what I’m supposed to do without them."

"It's canon now that Joel tried to commit suicide and I genuinely was so shocked when that conversation happened, but I'm glad it was an addition to the show. Such a bittersweet moment between Ellie and Joel," a third said.

Check out some reactions below...

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The Last of Us airs on HBO and HBO Max in the US, and Sky Atlantic and NOW the following day in the UK. If you were affected by the themes of the episode, for confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

Make sure you're up to date with our The Last of Us release schedule or our breakdown of how many episodes are in The Last of Us. For more from the series, check out our guide to the major Last of Us episode 9 changes from the games and a terrifying look at the Cordyceps fungus.

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.