HBO’s The Last of Us Episode 6 Spoiler Free Review

Series Premiere: January 15, 2023
Starring: Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey
Episodes Commissioned: 9
Studio: HBO


It's the home stretch for The Last of Us' initial season, and we're fast approaching its climactic act but before we get there, there's another story that's slowly coming to formation. Ellie's immunity, whether it be fortunate or not has lead her on a lonely path throughout her entire life. The fatherly fondness she has for Joel has been a trying effort for the youngster to close that mutual gap between them, and bond like family. The first inkling of this coming to light was back in episode four, where she questioned Joel if she was considered family. Joel's tireless trudge to escort her across the country toward the firefly basecamp located west of Wyoming, caused the pair to hold up an elderly couple living in seclusion from the pandemic.

Gathering as much information as possible, the friendly couple warned Joel to go back and never cross the "river of death". Without a choice, Joel and Ellie decide to take their chances surviving the blistering cold conditions that seemed to exacerbate anxieties within Joel - another small story piece we don't ever see in the game but is represented by Joel's associative trauma. It's evident that his confidence is rattled, but is determined to find his Tommy regardless of any trepidation that begins to consume him. Joel's protective side toward Ellie comes to light with small, noticeable directives in keeping her safe - whether this is primarily Joel keeping his payday in check or actually looking out for the girl in it opening segments of this episode aren't entirely clear, but one thing is for sure, by the end of this arc, Joel's connection with Ellie becomes somewhat paternal.

The episode rolls into a second act, showing the long-term effects of a pandemic, reuniting Joel with his once close, now estranged brother. It’s assumed the colony that Tommy was with were directly associated with the fireflies, but after being guided by hostiles toward Jackson, the settlement has been rebuilt into a safe haven. A bustling western village sprawling with life, families and children roam the streets without a worry while a council maintains its safety. The gated community are quarantined in safe conditions, the complete opposite to a Boston or Kansas. Joel and Tommy’s embrace told a story of two brother that have not seen each other for years, despite their respective view changing in the way they survive. Body language alone is a telling sign of any concern immediately washing away, while Ellie’s guard remains high around people she considers a threat.

Life has changed since the two brothers were together back in Texas, with Tommy now married and expecting, Joel’s world continues to spiral pushing his confidence to an all-time low. The only person he trusts may not be that trustworthy after all, but it becomes quite apparent that Joel needs help, and the only person he can rely on is his brother. Divulging Ellie’s immunity, Joel pleads with his brother to take Ellie, and to finish the job for him. Ellie overhears the discussion, and confronts Joel over the matter, resulting in the pair having a massive argument. Regretful things are said, but all’s forgiven with the pair setting forth on their five day horseback ride to Salt Lake City toward the I-25, just ways out of the hospital where the fireflies are awaiting to collect Ellie. During this time, Joel and Ellie become closer and begin to form more of a father-daughter relationship, with the closing act of this episode truly expressing Ellie’s dependence on Joel.

Noteworthy Mentions...

  • The altercation between Joel and Ellie regarding Sarah is such a suspenseful moment in the game, and I have to say was such an emotionally charged scene in this episode. Both Pascal and Bella did an excellent job re-enacting this imperative set piece masterfully.

  • Joel’s trauma has always been relayed in his stoic nature, but we’ve seen a weakness rear its head. Joel’s definitely more humanised and relatable with some mental issues becoming quite apparent as their journey continues.

  • This episode has a plethora of Easter eggs that are representative of the video game. Probably the closest its come from the initial episode being tied with the source material. Tranquil moments between Jackson and Salt Lake City, gives Joel the chance to teach Ellie how to use a rifle – a moment seen on every piece of key art for the initial release back in 2013.

  • There was a deep juxtapose at the beginning with Joel and Ellie holding up the elderly pair, which we never see in the game. It is a contrast of character from the secluded and peaceful life they live by comparison to the extreme conditions Joel seems to survive everyday. Quite the intriguing disparity in attitude to dissect.

The Last of Us is an upcoming American post-apocalyptic drama television series created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for HBO. Based on the 2013 video game of the same name developed by Naughty Dog, the series will follow Joel (Pedro Pascal), a smuggler tasked with escorting the teenage Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across a post-apocalyptic United States. It will feature Gabriel Luna as Joel's younger brother Tommy, Merle Dandridge as resistance leader Marlene, and Anna Torv as Joel's smuggler partner Tess.

Summary: Wikipedia

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