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TLOU Episode 8 Brought An Iconic Joel And Ellie Moment To The Small Screen

Contains spoilers for "The Last of Us" Season 1, Episode 8 — "When We Are in Need"

The following article includes references to abuse and grooming

Trauma is an ugly beast and there is no better example of this than Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal). In the world of HBO's smash hit "The Last of Us," the real-life Cordyceps fungus has made characters widows, orphans, and — most heartbreakingly of all — childless parents. Though Joel is certainly not the only character who has encountered this specifically painful event, he does wear it as a wound that will never heal. 20 years after Sarah's (Nico Parker) tragic death, Joel refuses to let anyone get close to protect himself from ever feeling that way again.

Leave it to Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to be the one person to break through that barrier. Joel and Ellie's father-daughter dynamic is the main focus of the series, but it is also a slow burn. While Joel agrees to ferry the hot-headed 14-year-old across a wasteland of Infected and snow, he refuses to let her charms get to him. But as anyone who has played the game knows, Joel and Ellie loving each other is inevitable. And finally, in Episode 8, we get the ultimate proof of that very fact.

The pet name that broke a million hearts

In many ways, Joel's worst nightmare comes to life. Decades after his daughter dies in his arms, he now has another person that can break him. Sarah and Ellie may be polar opposites, but both have a place in Joel's heart as his daughter. And now there is something else connecting the two. The pet name "baby girl" is one of the last things that Joel calls Sarah before she loses her life. And in Episode 8, when Joel is terrified Ellie could meet a similar fate, he calls her the same name.

While recuperating from being impaled by a wooden shard, Joel is at Ellie's mercy. She tries to do what she can for her adoptive father but sees that his wound is infected. While searching for medicine, she runs into the exact people she shouldn't. David (Scott Shephard) is different from the video game, but even more insidious. A predator looking to groom Ellie as his property, her fate could not be worse and it appears unlikely she will make it out alive. Joel arrives in time to see Ellie escape traumatized and fresh from murdering her captor. With nothing left holding back their affection for each other, Joel comforts her with the name he called his daughter.

Episodes after Joel refused to let Ellie into his heart, the levee has broken and she is officially his family. Now nothing will stop him from protecting her in the episodes to come.