actor actress | peter pascal
show | Home theater last survivor
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episode | “relatives” (February 19, 2023)
performance | last survivor Executive producer Craig Mazin has often talked about how people often lie to themselves, not because they’re evil or manipulative, but because they can’t bear to face basic truths. So this week’s HBO episode finds Pascal’s Joel can no longer delude himself into thinking he can keep Ellie safe during her trip to Firefly’s lab. The realization broke his heart — and led to Pascal’s most moving performance of the season so far.
Of course, we’re talking about that scene in the workshop. Earlier in the episode, Pascal’s Joel, happy to find Tommy safe, is territorial when he learns his brother is getting married, and acts aggressively when Tommy announces he’s going to be a father. mean. Underlying all of this is the fear that Pascal conveys in Joel’s private moments of panic, his entire body freezing as it grips him tightly.
As Pascal breaks Joel apart while begging Tommy to take Ellie for the rest of her journey, those roiling emotions begin to spill over — messily, gorgeously. As he stammered about Joel’s string of failures, Pascal made his voice breathless, small and full of tears, barely holding back. We sense everything that Joel has been worrying about for months coming to the surface, and Pascal monologues, as if his normally reticent character can’t stop talking once he starts talking.
When Joel admits “I can’t sleep,” Pascal lets himself be consumed by Joel’s growing desperation. The character’s usual gruff exterior fades away when his breath stops amid sobs he’s trying to control. We marvel at the pained desperation on Pascal’s face as Joel begs his brother to take Ellie the rest of the way. We take back what we said about this scene being his best of the season: It’s one of his best ever.
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