Everyone, except for fucking you.
After Episode 5‘s heart wrenching moments, Joel and Ellie continues on their journey in delivering her to the Fireflies. It’s been three months since the incident with Henry and Sam, and in this episode, we get to experience a different side of Joel that was entirely absent from the games. Alot of familiar elements stays true to the source material, but with the introduction of Jackson Town, we are closing-in to a pivotal moment that defines the connection between Joel and Ellie.
Tommy, I Need This.
Upon reaching the wilderness of Wyoming, Joel encounters a charming couple named Marlon and Florence. The sarcastic bunch doesn’t seem phased at all by Joel’s infamous interrogation technique where the answer better match the others. This is a subtle call back specifically designed for hardcore fans it seems. It’s a delightful scene that ends up being a harrowing one for Joel, as they were given the advice to turn away, lest they seek death. The “you’re not going to scare me” line from Ellie only affirms the contrast between two; Ellie seeks Joel for strength, while her seeking it only makes Joel more terrified. At that moment, we see Joel’s anxiety taking over him, something we as players failed to even think about in the game given his superhuman ability to take down swarms of infected without breaking a sweat. What this show is doing so immaculately is the grounded nature of reality, and Joel is succumbing.
They continue to trek along the wilderness, which they eventually make it to the hydro-plant already running. This is expedited for the show, but in the game it’s an encounter that leads to an overwhelming gunfight. This is absent in the show of course and has been replaced with Joel and Ellie being surrounded by what seems like raiders on horses. After Joel’s brief attempt to deescalate the situation, there was a dog sent to sniff them out to see if they’re infected. With tension rising, Joel freezes in place out of pure fear, only for the mood to shift in finding out the dog couldn’t sense Ellie’s immunity. This moment is an extension of Joel’s ever-growing vulnerability.
We get to Jackson Town that is basically a 1:1 remake of what we got in The Last of Us Part II. We see people thriving in a world that ended 20 years ago – everyone contributing to maintenance, banking, jailing, cultivation etc. Joel spots Tommy working and the emotion that followed can only be described as bliss. I can’t express enough how Pedro Pascal and Gabriel Luna embodies the characters essence – a level I thought could not be achieved by anyone. This led to all the pacing we experienced in the game including Ellie finding out about Sarah, and the introduction of movie night for the children to bring the sense of humanity in a world torn apart.
One key moment that made me shout on my seat was when Ellie spotted a girl watching her, and it’s safe to assume that was Dina – so much is coming together and it’s amazing. Actually, there was a conversation about that moment in The Last of Us Part II at some point, and it just goes to show that the creators of the show are respecting the material far more than we can anticipate.
The Puncture That Ends
Joel and Tommy speak in private and reveals that Ellie is immune to the infected, that he needs Tommy to deliver her because he’s not as strong as Tommy thinks he is; the vulnerable side of Joel has been manifested through the fear of failing over and over again – it started with Sarah, then Tess and soon Ellie. He expresses that Joel’s impaired hearing and anxiety is going to get them both killed, and he doesn’t think he can do it. Ellie overhears the conversation, and therefore the iconic scene comes – nearly shot for shot identical to the video game as Craig feels needed to be done. It couldn’t have been done better.
What follows in episode 6 is something I believe viewers need to experience for themselves – but with the changes made to feel much more grounded, I felt was the best way to tell that kind of story while staying true to the source material. Yet again, a masterful episode.
REVIEW SCORE: 10/10
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