Skip to main content

HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ Changed Joel and Tommy’s Relationship for the Better

Pedro Pascal and Gabriel Luna looking at each other in The Last of Us as Tommy and Joel Miller

Joel Miller and his brother Tommy had their ups and downs in the video game The Last of Us, but one of the things that the HBO series did was change why the two brothers are separated. Joel (played by Pedro Pascal), from the start of the series, is looking out for his brother (which is different from the game, where the two had a falling out because of Tommy’s connection to the Fireflies paramilitary group). Tommy (played by Gabriel Luna), in the show, seems to still have a lot of respect for his brother (and vice versa) that the game lacked because of their upset.

And in season 1 episode 6, titled “Kin,” we get to see both Joel and Tommy back in action. The first time we saw the brothers was in the “before” time, when Outbreak Day happened and Joel and Tommy were doing a job together before they had to get to Sarah to try to get out of Texas safely. Since then, we haven’t really seen Tommy at all.

We’ve heard Joel talking about his brother, so we know that their relationship is different than in the games, but we haven’t seen the two together until now. In the 20 years since Outbreak Day, Joel has been in Boston with Tess (Anna Torv), and Tommy has been out west, but it took Tommy not contacting Joel for him to get worried. It was why he wanted a car battery and why he agreed to take Ellie to the Fireflies. He wanted to find his brother, and now we’ve finally seen them reunited.

And that change to their characters makes this reunion so special, because Joel is just happy to see his brother alive, and Tommy is shocked that his big brother came looking for him.

The importance of family

Pedro Pascal and Gabriel Luna looking at each other in The Last of Us as Tommy and Joel Miller

Throughout episode 6, “Kin,” we get to see as Joel and Tommy reconnect and try to figure out what the best plan of action is for each other. Joel learns why Tommy went radio silent and, at first, he doesn’t react kindly to it, but even Tommy knows that’s just Joel’s way of processing everything. Tommy found love and a family with Maria (Rutina Wesley), and Joel has lost everything. Each growing moment with Ellie (Bella Ramsey) is forcing Joel to remember what he lost when Sarah died.

But the reason this is all important is that in the game, the two were fighting. In the HBO series, their reunion means something, and they’re happy to be back together. Their bickering is more just a sibling thing than something deeper, and you understand their motivations towards each other better in the television show. Joel is trying his hardest to find Tommy in the TV series, and you understand why better than you would have if they had kept their relationship from the game.

And yes, they struggle and fight. But they’re brothers. That’s normal, and seeing the two actually care about each other before all of this just makes watching Joel and Tommy say goodbye in Jackson Hole that much more emotional of a journey.

(featured image: HBO)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

She/Her. A writer who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.