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.
After finally meeting Henry and Sam at the end of episode 4, episode 5 sees the gang fight humans and infected alike, including our first Bloater.
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.
The Last of Us is officially past the halfway point now, and there’s no turning back. Episode 5, titled ‘Endure and Survive’, gives us more infected, but Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann’s adaptation still wisely puts humans in the centre of the show.
The episode begins in the Quarantine Zone, which has been liberated from FEDRA by the people led by Kathleen. We see the mutilated bodies of FEDRA soldiers, some of them dragged through the streets, some hoisted up in the air. It’s brutal and more violent than any bite from an infected person. Humans truly are the real villains in The Last of Us.
If there’s one thing The Last of Us isn’t, it’s subtle. As trucks of Kathleen’s men patrol the streets, ordering any “collaborators” to surrender themselves, we’re very clearly told FEDRA hasn’t been as defeated as replaced.
We also find Henry and Sam, whom we met at the very end of episode 4, hiding. Sam is the deaf little brother of 20-something Henry, and both are on the run, desperate to get out of the city.
Elsewhere, Kathleen interrogates a group of informers for information about Henry’s whereabouts. We don’t know this yet, but later on in the episode, it’s revealed that Kathleen blames Henry for her brother’s death.
“When you’re done, burn the bodies. It’s faster,” Kathleen orders Perry (Jeffrey Pierce) after she gets what she needs from the group. It’s a line that perfectly encapsulates Kathleen’s character in mere seconds. She’s cold, cruel, pragmatic and utterly terrifying.
Ultimately, after witnessing Joel and Ellie crash their car, Henry and Sam ambush them while they’re sleeping. Henry shows just how young he is as he shakily holds a gun at Ellie but admits he doesn’t know what to do next.
They form an unlikely alliance, and Henry explains he knows a way out of the city. Survive and Endure features a lot of little nods to the game and also gives us the most action involving the infected we’ve seen so far in The Last of Us.
Because this is The Last of Us, everything goes terribly wrong. A sniper targets the group on their way out of the city. Joel kills him, but Kathleen and her men are closing in. Joel, being the badass lad he is, shoots the driver of one of Kathleen’s trucks, which crashes into an abandoned house.
Earlier in the episode, Henry notes that Kathleen’s men don’t go into the underground tunnels because they think all the infected are underground. It turns out they are, as hundreds pour out from beneath the ground just moments before Kathleen is about to kill Henry, Sam and Ellie.
There are runners, Stalkers and Clickers everywhere, biting and ripping into Kathleen and her men. A Clicker chases Ellie, and while she is immune to the infection itself, she’s certainly not immune to getting her head ripped off. Joel saves her, and our ragtag team of heroes eventually escapes the mayhem.
This would be a nice place to end the episode, right? Wrong! Sam reveals to Ellie he was bitten, and Ellie tries to cure him with her blood but doesn’t alert Joel or Henry. In the morning, Sam attacks Ellie, forcing Henry to kill his brother. Henry then shoots himself, leaving both Ellie and Joel devastated and shaken. The end.
While ‘Survive and Endure’ doesn’t quite match episode 3’s emotional resonance, it’s still a fine way to adapt one of the most heartbreaking segments of the game. Lamar Johnson and Keivonn Woodward make a lasting impression as Henry and Sam. While it would have been fun to see Melanie Lynskey’s Kathleen become a bigger, longer-lasting villain, her two-episode arc was still a complete joy and a very clever detour from the game.
Next week, episode 6 takes us closer to Tommy, but trouble is brewing.