I’ve been thinking about part 1 again and I’ve felt even more indifferent towards Joel’s death than I did than I was coming into part 2. I can see why his death pissed the living shit off so many players but I can’t see what about him specifically made it seem like it wasn’t something inevitably coming to him by his characters setup.
It’s obvious that his relationships with Tess, Ellie and later on with tommy after reuniting with him made him a significantly better person, the problem, he also spent 2 decades attacking both innocents and criminals, not just attacking, but often attacking completely isolated, to ensure his own survival that caused his loved ones to separate from him to begin with and fucked over an entire faction. It wouldn’t have mattered if Abby was even born plot wise, the amount of damage his character has inflicted onto everything around him even before he met Ellie along with the new damage he brought out with his time with her against the fireflies, and Fedra would’ve had him killed by anyone else, whether far more sadistically or gracefully the result would’ve been the same.
It’s a symptom of how isolated he was for so many years. other characters like Marlene, Abby, Tess, that guy fat Geralt, and David, they had people to fall back on for support and defence against confrontation. Joel didn’t, he only had whatever scraps were available from FEDRA and whatever he could get running around the USA with Tess as his only occasional alternative for support. You can’t survive in the real world behaving like that, you wouldn’t survive even if you didn’t if you had that little support from anyone, definitely not in a world like tlou.
For this I feel like his death was the most tragic but most appropriately done because it highlighted what his character fundamentally was like. An isolated man with little support from those around him who’ve been emotionally pushed away from his past actions. He never got to repair his relationship with Ellie because he never did enough to justify what he did to her fast enough, not to tommy either despite the progress he’s made.
Coming back, it’s also why I’m so happy knowing Ellie didn’t turn out like him in the end( for the most part). She still has a life ahead of here where she can fix things with Dina, she still has the opportunity to not spend god knows how many years isolated and constantly miserable over the family that was taken from her by others, she still has a Post too long. Click here to view the full text.