The Last of Us | Episode 4 review: Please Hold On To My Hand

We finally meet Melanie Lynskey’s villainous Kathleen in episode 4, titled ‘Please Hold On To My Hand’. Read our spoiler-filled review!

the last of us episode 4 review

The wait is finally over. Join us every week as we dissect every episode of the long-awaited adaptation of The Last of Us, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. 

We finally meet Melanie Lynskey’s villainous Kathleen in episode 4, titled ‘Please Hold On To My Hand’.

Spoiler alert: These reviews will include spoilers for each episode, so if you’d rather go in cold, we recommend you return to this review after watching the latest episode.

Each episode of The Last of Us, which was renewed for season 2 after only 2 episodes, has been better than the previous one. Last week’s episode, ‘Long, Long Time’, might go down as the best episode of not just the series itself but of television in 2023. 

Episode 4, titled ‘Please Hold On To My Hand’, is still good, but compared to all the other episodes, it feels like a filler episode. Plenty still happens, and episode 4 brilliantly expands the world of The Last of Us, but it’s the only episode I struggle to remember now, a few weeks after watching the entire series. 

At the very beginning of the episode, Joel and Ellie are still on the road, having gained a car from Bill at the end of the previous episode. Ellie finds a porn magazine in Bill’s car, a very sticky one too. The Last of Us can often be so relentlessly bleak; there’s very little hope in this world, so moments like these feel very valuable. A little levity never hurt anybody. 

the last of us episode 4

Credit: Sky

We also get a fair bit of backstory here as Joel tells Ellie about Tommy, who the pair are currently heading towards. Their pleasant car journey is cut short after they drive through a city and encounter more humans. 

It turns out that it’s not only the Cordyceps or the infected that you need to worry about in this world. Humans are often far worse as we quickly learn. The pair crash their car through what used to be a laundromat, and Joel is quickly overpowered. He is ultimately saved by Ellie, who stole one of Bill’s guns in the last episode. 

Ellie doesn’t kill the guy; she’s only a child, after all. Joel, however, absolutely does kill the guy. This eventually brings us to Kathleen, a brand new villain created for the TV show specifically. It doesn’t take long to catch up on how despicable Kathleen is. Melanie Lynskey is really in her element here, turning in a brilliant, detailed performance dripping with cruelty and malice. 

We learn that Kathleen’s brother died at the hands of FEDRA, and she has a grudge. Kathleen and her men have taken over the city and are mercilessly torturing people. She’s also looking for two people specifically Henry and Sam, whom gamers will be very familiar with. 

the last of us episode 4 ellie joel

Credit: Sky

There are some very potent themes in episode 4. While the infected aren’t the only, or maybe even the biggest, threat in this world, it’s clear that the Cordyceps has brought out the very worst in people. Humanity is rotten to the core, and there will always be people like Kathleen benefiting from a global tragedy and using it for their personal vendettas. 

There’s also a fun little Easter Egg for the fans of the game as Jeffrey Pierce, who played Tommy in the game, shows up as Perry, one of Kathleen’s men. Overall, episode 4 feels weaker and more insignificant than other episodes, but it deepens our understanding of the world that Joel and Ellie inhabit. It also makes great progress in Ellie’s arc as she is forced to harm a human for the first time.

Turns out even the weakest episode of The Last of Us is outstanding. Their relationship is front and centre in this episode; it finally has a chance to breathe and exists more organically rather than just being a driving force of the plot. 

The episode ends on a cliffhanger as Ellie and Joel wake up to two strangers, a man and a younger child, hovering above them. Even if you don’t know, you can guess that these are Henry and Sam, who will either cause Joel and Ellie a lot of trouble or maybe help them out. 

Next week, a showdown between Joel, Ellie and Kathleen will inevitably occur, but who escapes and at what price? 

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