Down the highway, if The Last of Us is lucky enough to get any performing award nominations, clips from this episode will clarify why. The sixth episode of The Final of Us, titled “Kin,” noticed Joel and Ellie’s trek throughout the USA attain a crossroads. The pair have been pressured to take care of issues they’ve been hiding and make selections they’ve been avoiding, all in an try and lastly get to someone who can help them. It wasn’t an episode with loads of motion, and there wasn’t a single infected to be seen, however the stress and concern have been omnipresent due to series-finest performances from Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey.
Last week’s The Last of Us ended with that devastating second of Henry killing himself after killing his contaminated brother, Sam. It’s nonetheless contemporary in our minds. It simply occurred. However, to hammer dwelling how impactful that second was on Joel and Ellie, episode six really begins by displaying a bit of that scene once more. The second hits exhausting after which three months go. Three months throughout which Joel and Ellie have needed to dwell with that picture again and again.
Issues choose again up with a really well-bundled man strolling via the woods with pair of lifeless rabbits. He heads into his secluded cabin the place his spouse sits quietly and gestures together with her eyes to the left. There’s a stranger inside, and he has a gun. It’s Joel, and he explains to the person (performed by legendary actor Graham Greene) that he’s on the lookout for his brother, Tommy. The person says he hasn’t seen him (or anybody who seems like Joel), and his spouse (Elaine Miles) reveals this man has a woman with him. Ellie runs down the steps and together with her immediate wisecracks, she appears to have a model new “Don’t Give a Shit” perspective.
Joel asks the person to at the least inform him the place they’re on a map, which results in some enjoyable banter between the couple, and a revelation that although they wish to hold going west, they need to flip again east. The couple explains that to their west there’s a “River of Dying;” they don’t know what’s past it, however all the things that crosses the river dies. Ellie finds this cute however Joel understands how severe it simply could also be.
Joel and Ellie go away the home peacefully, however you possibly can’t assist however respect the cool, calm, demeanors of the person and lady, who lived in isolation lengthy earlier than the world ended. They’re glad. They’re laughing. And that’s why Joel is so scared about what this “River of Dying” might be. In the event that they’re petrified of it, he is aware of they need to be too.
On the way in which out, Joel appears to have some type of episode or assault. Ellie freaks out that he is likely to be dying and says “When you’re lifeless I’m fucked,” however Joel will get a grip and says he’s okay. On the time, it looks as if a nothing second, however later we’ll be taught this isn’t simply an necessary second for Joel bodily, however Ellie’s mentality with regard to Joel.
Earlier than crossing the “River of Dying,” they camp for the evening. Ellie tries some booze and says it’s “nonetheless gross” (Apparently, she’s had it earlier than? To be continued) and the pair play a sport. Ellie asks Joel if this all works they usually save the world, what is going to he do? Joel thinks about it and says he’s wish to have a sheep ranch. Ellie laughs and implies that she’d wish to go to the moon and has studied all the things about it. She even mentions that Sally Ride, the primary American lady to enter house, is her favourite astronaut. Once more, this second appears type of superfluous, however for anybody who has performed the video video games, it’s seeding a few things way down the line and reveals very acute consideration to element.
Joel says he’ll hold watch in a single day, however falls asleep and wakes as much as Ellie having taken over the duties. At first, he’s indignant however she assures him she did all the things he would have performed. Ellie is studying. They set out and cross the “River of Dying” with out incident. On the opposite facet, they discover a dam that’s offering electrical energy to somebody (together with an awesome “damn” joke from Ellie) earlier than they discover one other river. This one seems completely different and Ellie suggests perhaps that is the “River of Dying,” not the final one. Earlier than he can pull out his map to verify, about 10 folks on horseback arrive and encompass them. Yup. It’s that is the “River of Dying” all proper.
The individuals are all protecting their faces with bandanas and have a canine that may scent contaminated. He sniffs Joel, who’s clear, and turns his consideration to Ellie. We’ve already seen that her situation triggers alerts like she’s contaminated, though she isn’t anymore, so tensions rise and rise because the canine approaches. Joel stands there in shock, not sure of what to do with 10 weapons geared toward him. Fortunately for everybody, the canine doesn’t scent something and as an alternative licks Ellie. Now thought of protected, Joel explains he’s on the lookout for his brother. One of many ladies within the group breaks ahead and asks Joel’s identify. The reply works as a result of Joel and Ellie hop on horseback and journey away. Disaster averted. For now.
The group approaches an enormous gate and waves a particular flag to open the gates. Inside, it’s a working, normal-looking city. There are children operating round, shops promoting items and, on one particular scaffold, somebody’s brother. “Tommy!” Joel screams. For the primary time because the pilot, we get to see his youthful brother Tommy, performed by Gabriel Luna. The 2 embrace in a second that basically hits exhausting as a result of Joel and Ellie haven’t had a lot good luck on this present. They’ve survived, which is sweet sufficient, however true success and happiness have been exhausting to return by. This can be a win although. That is why they set off on this course. To seek out Joel’s brother, Tommy, and now they’ve. I’m not ashamed to confess, I shed a number of tears.
Joel and Ellie inhale some precise meals as Tommy and Maria (Rutina Wesley), the girl who introduced them in, clarify a number of issues. Primarily, although it’s not outright said, that entire “River of Blood” factor is only a fantasy that they’ve been perpetuating to maintain folks away—people who wish to take what they’ve within the city. It’s an acceptable payoff to the sooner thriller and Joel is able to get into all the things with Tommy. He says to Maria that he’d like a while only for household and Tommy explains that she is household. She’s his spouse. Ellie provides a hearty congratulations however Joel solely does so begrudgingly. One thing is off with him.
Tommy and Maria give Joel and Ellie a tour of the city and fill them in on how lengthy it’s been round, what they’ve, the way it all works, and so forth. We be taught that everybody within the city shares all the things, making it a de facto communist authorities, however the connotation that when had isn’t the identical right here on the finish of the world. The scene is usually exposition nevertheless it additionally provides the viewers an concept of simply how tough it was, and should be, for these folks to create a protected haven like this city—in addition to how protecting issues that method is even tougher.
That fact looms over Joel and Tommy’s first non-public dialog when Tommy hints at why he stopped speaking with Joel by way of radio. It’s as a result of he couldn’t give away something concerning the city. It’s a tense dialog. Joel doesn’t fairly get Tommy’s mindset, and even lies to him about Tess’ well-being and why he’s touring with Ellie. He tells Tommy that Tess is okay; Ellie is the daughter of a strong Firefly and he’s been paid to get her to them. Final Tommy heard, the Fireflies have been on the College of Jap Colorado (not an actual place, by the way in which), which is every week away from them. Tommy explains it’s a really tough journey although, with numerous contaminated and raiders in between, and so Joel asks if Tommy will include them. He declines.
Joel is pissed and the pair argue about their previous, which was extra violent than both of them cares to confess. It’s then that Tommy reveals to Joel he’s going to be a father, which is why he can’t go on the journey. Joel doesn’t appear glad about this and Tommy rightfully takes offense. “Simply because life stopped for you doesn’t imply it has to cease for me,” he says, a reference to Joel dropping his daughter, Sarah. Joel leaves and has one other mysterious assault throughout which he thinks he sees Sarah. It’s fairly clear that whereas he actually, actually wished to seek out Tommy, really succeeding has not been what he anticipated, and perhaps he didn’t really anticipate finding him in any respect.
Ellie is again on the home Tommy and Maria have determined to provide them (which appeared tremendous simple and peculiar however I digress). She takes most likely her first bathe in months and sees that Maria left her a brand new change of garments in addition to the reward that retains on giving, a menstrual cup. Maria is throughout the road, so Ellie heads over. Inside she sees the names and dates for 2 kids on the mantle, Kevin and Sarah, who each died very younger.
Maria returns with a model new jacket for Ellie and she or he provides to provide her a haircut. We be taught that Kevin was her son and Sarah is Joel’s daughter, aka Tommy’s niece. This looks as if information to Ellie, who knew Joel killed folks his entire life however appears largely at midnight about Sarah. That’s a purple flag for Maria who provides Ellie a really key piece of recommendation: watch out who you set your religion in. You’ll be able to solely be betrayed by folks you belief, an announcement online game followers know is dripping with foreshadowing.
Maria takes Ellie to the films, the place everyone seems to be watching Richard Dreyfuss’ Oscar-winning efficiency in The Goodbye Woman. (It’s a film about how a person enters the lifetime of a lady and her daughter and throws all the things for a loop. Its selection right here is ripe with subtext.) In the meantime, Joel is attempting to repair his boots and Tommy enters with a brand new pair as a kind of olive department. He apologizes concerning the issues that have been stated earlier and Joel lastly comes clear about all the things. Ellie is immune, Tess is lifeless, and he has to get Ellie to the Fireflies to perhaps save the world. He additionally breaks down as a result of, with Tommy, he can lastly be susceptible. Joel admits that he’s always scared, bodily sluggish, and doesn’t consider he can end the duty. He feels that he’s a failure.
For the primary time right here, we actually get into Joel’s head. Up till now, he’s been the sturdy silent sort. However these episodes he’s been having are concern catching up with him and leading to panic assaults. All through all of it, Pedro Pascal actually flexes his performing muscle tissues and makes us really feel for Joel in a number of new methods. So when he ostensibly begs the youthful, extra succesful Tommy to take Ellie to the Fireflies and says it’s the very last thing he’ll ever ask him, Tommy agrees.
What we didn’t see as Joel bared his soul to his brother, is that Ellie snuck out of the film and heard the entire thing. Again on the home, she’s livid as a result of she looks like Joel is giving up on her. “Do you care about me or not?” she yells and Joel says after all. Ellie qualifies that she’s not Sarah and Joel instantly tenses up. “Don’t say one other phrase.” However Ellie can’t assist it. She is aware of Joel misplaced somebody he cherished, however Ellie says she’s actually misplaced everybody she’s ever cherished, besides Joel. Occurring with out him could be terrifying to her and he hits her with the actual fact they’re not associated and can by no means be. She’s crushed, as is he.
Very like Pascal a number of scenes earlier, right here’s the place Ramsey actually will get their time to shine. For Ellie, the scene is nearly a launch valve on all of the built-up stress and ache she has been residing with, and all of it comes throughout splendidly in Ramsey’s uncooked, chopping efficiency.
Joel thinks concerning the struggle all evening. We see by way of a flashback of him and Sarah at Christmas one yr, and abruptly it’s morning. Ellie is up and prepared when Tommy involves get her they usually go to the horse stables the place, surprisingly, Joel is ready. He says he was going to steal a horse and go away however felt like Ellie deserved a selection of who she would go together with. With out hesitation, she picks Joel. So Tommy provides them instructions, a brand new gun, and a promise that when the deed is finished, they will make this place their dwelling.
Joel and Ellie set off for the college, a visit Tommy stated could be seven days with many, many obstacles in between. Tommy was mistaken. The journey takes solely 5 days and alongside the way in which, Joel and Ellie are as bonded as they’ve been but. He teaches her to shoot, tells her about his life earlier than the world ended, and even explains the principles of soccer. Actually, Ellie understanding the principles of American soccer with out seeing it might be one of the crucial unrealistic issues on a present with contaminated killer zombies.
The second Joel and Ellie point out that it was a simple journey you simply knew issues have been going to go mistaken. And boy do they go mistaken. Upon arriving on the faculty, Joel and Ellie discover it deserted. There are random monkeys operating round and a few indicators that the Fireflies have been there, however they aren’t there anymore. It’s the second time on this journey they’d a really particular Firefly vacation spot and, after they arrived, the group had moved on. This time, based on a map they discover, it is likely to be Salt Lake Metropolis, which is far additional than Boston is from the Wyoming/Michigan space. However they don’t appear to thoughts. The pair can inform one thing is odd about this place although they usually discover out why when a bunch of raiders arrive.
Joel and Ellie sneak out of the constructing and make a run for his or her horse when one of many raiders assaults. He and Joel get into it and Joel snaps his neck, however not earlier than the person buries a knife deep in Joel’s abdomen. The opposite raiders begin operating towards them, however Ellie one way or the other will get Joel on the horse they usually make their escape, with Ellie taking pictures backward to attempt to give them cowl. It’s not simple however they get away, and as soon as they notice they aren’t being adopted, Joel’s harm catches up with him. He falls off the horse and Ellie rightfully loses it. “I can’t fucking do that with out you,” she says. “Please, Joel. Please” she whispers to him as he loses consciousness and the episode ends.
It’s a strong, terrifying cliffhanger as a result of what Ellie says is likely to be true. Can she do that with out Joel? Will she must? We’ll have to attend till subsequent week to seek out out. For now although, “Kin,” as an entire, it’s the proper instance of why The Final of Us is so good. The whole lot within the episode is about survival. It’s about what completely different folks might really feel like in these unfathomable circumstances. And but, there’s not a single contaminated in your entire factor. Simply the specter of them is sufficient to concurrently deepen the humanity of the characters in addition to our understanding of the world. We not solely noticed Ellie and Joel’s relationship ebb and circulation with unbelievable fact, however in Tommy, Maria, and their city, we noticed all the chances of a vibrant, significant future. One thing price combating for. And the struggle is simply starting.
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