The Last of Us Pulls on Our Heartstrings Again

“Endure and Survive” - 1.05 - Recap & Review

The Last of UsLast night, the fifth episode of The Last of Us premiered on HBO. The episode, through flashbacks of the Kansas City QZ, shows how Fedra fell, taken over by Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey) and her group, and how they killed any collaborators. Ten days later, the timeline meets backup with the cliffhanger from last week with Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) being held at gunpoint by eight-year-old Sam (Keivonn Woodard), who it’s revealed is deaf, and his older brother Henry (Lamar Johnson). It’s eventually revealed that Kathleen is after the two because Henry turned the leader of the resistance, Kathleen’s brother, into Fedra in order to get life-saving medicine for Sam.

Henry knows a way out but needs Joel’s help in getting them out of the city. Eventually Ellie convinces Joel to help and they join forces. Henry has reason to believe that Fedra secretly cleared the tunnels beneath the city of the infected, unbeknownst to Kathleen, making it unlikely the militia would go down there after them.

The four emerge from the tunnel only to be shot at by a sniper. Joel leaves them to hide while he takes care of the sniper. Revealing that the sniper was a lookout, Kathleen and her people arrive and she tries to flush them out. However, before Kathleen can get her revenge, we find out where the infected had relocated, as a truck is pulled into a big hole, and all the infected come crawling out, attacking everyone. 

The Last of UsIn the chaos, Joel uses the sniper’s rifle to pick off the creatures that make their way towards his companions. Eventually, the three come face to face with Kathleen, but at the last moment she is jumped by an infected child. 

Eventually, the four avoid the infected and make their way to safety. 

Ellie, who has befriended young Sam, continues to connect with him. He admits that he is scared and reveals that his leg has been bitten. Ellie tries to make him feel safe and cuts herself, smearing her blood in his wound, hoping her immunity will be passed on. 

In the morning, Ellie is attacked by Sam who has turned, and she calls out for help. Henry stops Joel from intervening, but reacts and shoots his brother, saving Ellie. Realizing what he has done, he shoots himself before Joel can stop him. 

Ellie leaves the message “I’m sorry” on Sam’s grave as she and Joel head out to continue their journey. 

The fifth episode of the series, “Endure and Survive,” is named such because of words in the comic that Ellie and Sam enjoy together in a happy moment in the episode. Henry is Sam’s only protector, and the two obviously mirror Joel and Ellie, but more vulnerable. The interactions between the four are fantastic, and seeing the kids happy and carefree for moments only cements how dangerous the world is they are now living in. The highlight of the episode, however, is still, as per usual, Pascal and Ramsey’s relationship and their banter. 

The episode is an emotional one. Throughout the writers do an impressive job of making you feel some empathy even for Kathleen, and it’s sad that she was consumed by vengeance and refused to forgive even though that’s what her brother wanted. Of course the tearjerking moment comes when it’s revealed Ellie’s new friend has been bitten and the further shock when Henry shoots himself. It seems Joel and Ellie may be destined to complete their journey alone. 

The visuals, as always on the series, were absolutely stunning. There was also of course the epic action sequence with the infected pouring out from the ground and the following battle. The episode also featured a “bloater” for the first time, and although it was a little over the top, in the post-apocalyptic world of the series, it worked and was suitably creepy, as was the contorting infected little girl that followed Ellie into a car and later killed Kathleen. 

Overall, the episode both moved quickly and really pulled on your heartstrings, bringing both a terrific story as well as fast-paced action. The episode is always over too fast, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for Ellie and Joel next.

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