With The Last of Us back on track in finding Tommy, episode 4 shows us a lot of what we know, more significant changes to pacing and a deeper look into the group of hunters that attempts to ambush Joel and Ellie – which in the video game version, were placed as an obstacle to overcome by the players. The changes are once again keeping up with the very highs of the previous episodes, serving ground to the elements of the world as well as Joel’s overall character development – including Ellie’s.

The Trek in Between

Once again, we see the development between the two during travels – the space between their end goal is a desolated land of isolation and danger. This grounded nature gives more than enough time for Joel and Ellie to finally bond. The episode starts Joel off as a closed man, unwilling to let anyone in for the sake of survival. The conversation between Ellie and Joel led to the famous ” you’re cargo” line heard from the beginning of the video game version – more of this familiarity displacement the show adopted. The conversation was a significant start to the inevitable change of heart Joel will be showing later on.

The scene with them driving in the truck is almost shot for shot of the video game – with the same Hank Williams “Alone and Forsaken” track playing in the radio – my biggest hope was having this scene recreated because this shows Ellie’s joy while tackling this dark world. It never gets old watching Joel react to the “why are these pages stuck together…?”

bye-bye dude!

This is a much-needed interaction, albeit a subtle one, that really sets the baseline of their relationship. This is in conjunction of another displacement that makes sense based on the added nature of the show – the “No Pun Intended” book she carries around. First introduced in the Hotel section of the game, this element quickly adds another layer to the development of Joel’s character, down to the final minutes. Masterful storytelling through and through, and there’s more.

The Hunter’s Hunt Several Preys.

As previously mentioned, the hunters in the video game served entirely as an obstacle to overcome, with minor backstory based on your encounter with Henry and Sam. This time, the writers used this opportunity to deepen their reasoning behind their massacre. Joel and Ellie eventually get ambushed much like the video game, which leads to the crash in the supermarket. Now, in the video game, you’re pushed and surrounded for the sake of gameplay; of course, it was nothing like that in the show, and for good reason. The show’s purpose is to simulate the reality of that world – if they’re fatally wounded, there’s no checkpoint to recover from. During the fire fight, Joel interacts with Ellie in assuring her – asking her to trust him, and she does. That level of assurance really built new potential between the two, and it shows later on when Joel assures one more time that “they’re going to get through this” with Ellie’s responding, “I know.”

Ellie always knew Joel was a violent man, but what we saw was how she wasn’t truly aware how ugly violence is. This all came to reality when she hears Joel struggling against a hunter who flanked him. Nearly passing out, Ellie pulls out the gun she hid from Joel back at Bills place and shot the dude on top of Joel. This interaction is very similar to the game, except this happens much later in the Hotel section. The contrast, he shows a bit more compassion as opposed to the aggressive disregard he gave to Ellie in the video game version. This is a much more sensible change, one that tells of Joel humanity.

We Must Find Them.

We soon meet the imposing leader Kathleen, played by “Yellowjacket” star Melanie Lynsky. This soft-spoken leader interrogates a prisoner who she knows, about the whereabouts of former members Henry and Sam. I’ll leave the reasoning behind this to your discretion, but I was a bit underwhelmed by her level of intensity; she just didn’t convince me enough to have me think that she’s strong enough of a leader to band together an army of killers. Soon enough, we meet Perry, who is played by Jeffrey Pierce – known for voicing Tommy in the video games. I miss him as Tommy, but this badass look really caught me by surprise. Now, Gabriel Luna does an immaculate job portraying Tommy in the show but if they somehow cross paths, it’ll be damn impossible to tell who is speaking – it’s that similar. It doesn’t take long for Kathleen to find out that one of her scouting parties was murdered by a man and a child, who she immediately assumes was Henry and Sam. This enrages her enough to rile her people into scouring the entire inch of the city. This leads to a buildup I can’t wait to see how it’s done in the next episode – an infected nest brewing beneath a building, the effects done to show the crater rumble and shift was excellent.

With time to breath, Joel and Ellie settles in a shop. The brilliant break away from the game that comes back full circle really helps elevate the episode – in this scene Joel takes the time to further empathize with Ellie – doing a poor job at it too – but was effective enough to have Ellie reveal that it wasn’t her first time. This unlocks a level of curiosity that we didn’t expect to see from Joel; further in the episode they find a place to rest for the night, several dozen stories up an office building to which Ellie jokes about his laziness while he takes a quick break sitting on the floor – Joel follows up with snarky “I’m old, you little shit” response. The calm before the storm really brings their chemistry closer, much more tangible.


Even with pivotal moments expedited for the sake of time and new pacing, we’re still covering ground while the overarching story of The Last of Us Part I is told – the deviation this time fit excellently with the writers giving us a new look to the hunters that were once designed as an obstacle. I am a bit underwhelmed with the portrayal of Kathleen as she didn’t seem nearly as ruthless enough, but regardless I’m intrigued to know more.

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