Joel and Ellie’s encounter with Henry and Sam is one that’s been anticipated since the announcement of the show – and boy did they deliver in spades. Episode 5 is not only a heart wrenching masterpiece, but an action packed one filled with intense moments of doubt and fear. We get to finally see how the infected decimated the world they live in now, with a conclusion to the episode that changes Joel and Ellie forever.

It’s the Parallel Story

We are introduced to Henry and Sam in this episode with a deeper insight as to why Kathleen is in search of these two. The immediate deviation from the game is that Sam is deaf, and Henry plays a deeper role into what happened between the rebels and FEDRA. The change in Sam is absolutely brilliant – one I wish was implemented in the game. It helps elevate Henry in ways I didn’t think was possible. Sam’s dependance is entirely based on Henry’s reaction to the situation, and if he faulters, Sam will notice. This knowledge pushes Henry’s desire further that he would do anything for his little brother. This is shown in detail when the realization sank in after food ran dry.

This is where fate between Henry and Joel meet – after his crash into to the market, Henry saw what Joel was capable of and took a chance to work with him. The last episode left us with an amazing cliffhanger of Sam pointing a gun at Joel as he wakes, we see the moments leading to that point and tension rises. The performance Lamar Johnson gives in this episode was outstanding, same can be said with Kaivonn as Sam – I really do hope that we see more of them in the near future.

Eventually Joel and Sam agree to work together because Henry knows this city inside and out, and he has a plan – a shaky one, and Joel’s only hope. We learn that the last 20 years, the infected has been swarming the underground networks, and FEDRA basically left it unattended in hopes that it would just go away. People feared traveling in it, but Henry knows better – he thinks the underground network is entirely empty, which would lead them to the other side of the town near a bridge. Joel goes along with this plan, reluctantly.

We see a lot of great elements expedited naturally in this episode. The moment where Henry, Joel, Ellie and Sam sit by the fire eating is one of them – whereas in the game this happens towards the end of the chapter. We don’t get the “riding a Harley across country” conversation because of new pacing, but we do see the parallels between Joel and Henry, which he seems to be aware of. Comments like how Henry hasn’t heard Sam laugh like that in a long time is present – which stays true to the game and somehow the showrunners made it feel fresh.

The Community Underground

In the game, we find out that there’s been a community of survivors living underground – there was running waters, schooling, play areas and more, all met their demise by infection. Then, we are set on a gameplay encounter that introduces stalkers – that doesn’t happen in the show, though the community area is present. Joel and crew take solace before pressing on, showcasing a moment of purity, innocence – an element soon to be shattered in the world of The Last of Us. But it’s these story beats that truly shines in the show, one that’s done so exponentially well in the games. This is a very exciting thing to witness, having the gaming adaptations so respected.

Joel and crew make it out in one piece, with Henry boasting about the success – of course Joel is still on alert, and it doesn’t take long for an ambush to set in. This is an expected element if you’re familiar with the game. They’re pinned down and Joel makes his way to flank the poor shooter. In the game, we are met with a ruthless killer meant to survive at all cost – Joel instead ask to put down the gun and we walk away, empathizing with the shooter. Of course, Joel has no choice but to kill as the shooter refuses. The rebels are aware of their location and chases Henry, Sam and Ellie down the street with an armored truck. Joel frantically uses the sniper to take the driver down, successfully saving Ellie last minute, having the truck crash to a nearby house. Gas leaks, and explosion ensues. It doesn’t take long to swarm the crew, and right before Henry is about to give himself up, one of the best set pieces in television occurs: a horde of infected swarming from a pit, overrunning the rebels while a freaking bloater emerges. The level of intensity is unmatched as we see everyone scatter and shoot their way to survival, having zero chance of it. We see Ellie’s wit challenged as she juke and dodge her way into an opening in a vehicle, only to cornered by a child infected. The moments after that should be left to the viewer as the karma that’s showcased was beautifully done.

[There’s a lot of elements I refuse to mention in my reviews for the sake of wonder and discretion.]

Moment’s Past

Joel and crew survive the encounter and once again, a moment of solace. Yet, because it’s The Last of Us, the unexpected lurks in every corner and this time, I don’t think any viewer who is invested in the show is prepared for what’s to come.


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