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The Last Of Us Showrunner Regrets Cutting Dialogue Foreshadowing Joel's Decision

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Spoiler warning for the entirety of HBO's The Last of UsYesterday, many of us had one thing on our minds: The Last of Us' violent season one finale. Joel's decision to rob the world of its one chance to defeat the cordyceps infection was always going to be a controversial subject, but it's one that the show went to great lengths to build up to in previous episodes. However, showrunner Craig Mazin feels that he could have taken this issue even further.

In a post-show interview with Vulture, Mazin reveals that he actually scrapped some dialogue from episode five that foreshadowed Joel's decision to choose Ellie over the entire world. The cut line came from Henry, as he spoke with Joel before tragedy struck the group at the end of the episode. It would have explained why Henry helped FEDRA and betrayed his neighbours, and how that decision haunts him.

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This scrapped exchange would have taken place as Henry and Joel discuss whether or not Henry is a "bad guy" for turning the leader of the resistance over to FEDRA, even if it was so he could save his younger brother, Sam. After Henry has explained himself, Joel would have said: “So you’re saying if you had to do it all over again, you wouldn’t?”

Henry's response here is incredibly significant and likely would have stuck with Joel all the way to the Fireflies camp he and Ellie were taken to. "I’m saying if I had to do it all over again, I would try really hard not to. And then I probably would."

the last of us series joel and ellie searching through hospital

This perhaps shows more regret that we get from Henry in the show, as he's clearly aware of how many were hurt by his decision to save Sam. But most importantly for Joel, his takeaway would have perhaps been that you can live with this kind of decision. Like Tess said, "save who you can save."

It's a logic that Joel definitely twisted in the finale, however. In his mind, he may have "tried" not to go about things violently, but the show definitely ramped up the needless brutality of his assault on the Fireflies. And by the time he makes it into surgery, there's no room for second-guessing, and he doesn't think for a second before killing a doctor for showing resistance.

Ultimately, the ending would always have generated a lot of debate regardless of how it was set up. But this does suggest that Mazin wanted us to get inside Joel's mind a little more before the finale, better understanding how he justified so much violence.

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