The wait is finally over. Join us every week as we dissect each episode of the long-awaited adaptation of The Last of Us, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey.
Recovering from the aftermath of episode 5, Joel and Ellie finally reach Tommy’s and have a moment to breathe. But it’s not long until trouble finds them again.
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 ending of episode 5, ‘Endure and Survive’, won’t leave us for a while. The tragic death of Sam and Henry will definitely haunt us, and it certainly does our heroes Joel and Ellie, as we pick up with them 3 months after the events of episode 5.
Episode 6 begins the section that we commonly refer to as the winter section in the game. If you’re familiar with the game, you know things get tense in this section. In other words, shit is about to go down.
Things considerably slow down in this episode. After a very action-packed episode with infected galore and a Bloater, episode 6, titled ‘Kin’, focuses more on character dynamics. It’s an episode that lets both Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal shine in the quiet moments.
Now travelling through the snow-covered wilderness, Joel and Ellie encounter Marlon and Florence, an elderly couple living in the woods. There’s tension in the air, and guns are raised; this is an unfriendly world, and The Last of Us won’t let us forget that. They get directions and words of warning; it’s not the infected they should be scared of in these parts of the country.
Joel and Ellie continue their journey, and Ellie wryly comments: “All we have to do now is cross the river of death.” It’s really remarkable how well Ramsey has nailed Ellie while also making her feel unique to the Ellie we meet in the games. Ramsey perfectly mixes naivety with that boldness that has always defined Ellie.
Finally, Joel and Ellie reach Tommy. While for a moment, it seems that a sniffer dog might detect that Ellie has been bitten, the two are allowed to return to their safe haven. The reunion between Joel and Tommy is a heartfelt one; their hug is clearly filled with love, but most importantly, relief. Relief that they’re both alive and reunited.
The episode has plenty of references to the game. We meet Shimmer, the horse that Ellie eventually rides in the second game, and we think we might have even spotted Dina, Ellie’s future girlfriend, in one of the scenes.
The episode provides Joel and Ellie with a chance to breathe a little easier for a bit. Ellie bonds with Tommy’s wife, Maria, played by Rutina Wesley. We spied Ellie taking a pack of tampons in one of the earlier episodes, and in this episode, Maria gives Ellie a Diva Cup. This kind of period representation is so important. Not only does it make the world feel real and lived-in, but it’s also such an insightful inclusion from Mazin and Druckmann. Tampons and pads would eventually run out, but a Diva Cup can be used repeatedly, making it the perfect period product for the apocalypse.
The episode also digs into Joel’s character a lot more. He has seemingly lost everything, and the deaths of Sarah and Tess still weigh heavily on him. He needs to save Ellie not just to save humanity but to save someone.
Ultimately, Joel and Ellie must continue their journey. Tommy tips them off that the Fireflies might be holding camp at a university campus. Once Ellie and Joel reach it, the Fireflies have moved on, but a group of humans ambushes them. Gamers will know these are the henchmen of David, a major antagonist in the game. The men severely, potentially fatally, wound Joel, and the episode ends on one hell of a cliffhanger.
While, for the most part, nothing much happens in episode 6, it serves as an important episode in our understanding of where both Ellie and Joel are emotionally. It’s also such a treat to see Tommy’s settlement brought to life so convincingly, but we know reaching this point in the story marks a major turning point.
Next week, the series delves deeper into Ellie’s past while Joel’s life hangs in the balance.