[Episode Recap] THE LAST OF US Season 1 Episode 4

[Episode Recap] THE LAST OF US Season 1 Episode 4
As expected, episode three of THE LAST OF US was all the internet could talk about over this past week. The untold love story between Bill and Frank finally came to light and it was a heartbreaking one at that. I couldn’t help but feel there was some clickbait out there citing homophobic responses, but personally, I found nothing but praise. Fans of the games haven’t been placed in the dark as the source material didn’t shy away from exploring sexuality, especially in the second game. After that emotional rollercoaster, episode four gives us a bit of a break by introducing a new character specifically written for the show, Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets”).

She serves as a leader in a Kansas City quarantine zone, hellbent on revenge from a previous loss not seen onscreen. Kathleen is portrayed as ruthless and holds power over her community. This power seems to predict a future conflict between Joel and Ellie. Our two protagonists are driving in Bill’s truck and Ellie recreates a funny moment from the game when she discovers one of Bill’s porn magazines and its sticky pages. During a supply stop, a man attacks them and almost strangles Joel when Ellie shoots him. Joel zooms into protective dad mode and attempts to comfort her, but she reveals that this isn’t her first time. Every episode has dropped subtle hints into her past which the show will get into at some point as advertised in the original trailer (and playable in the prequel DLC “Left Behind”).

Unbeknownst to Joel and Ellie, this man belonged to the Kansas City crew and Kathleen makes it their new mission to kill whoever is responsible for this death. Part of the beauty of the HBO version of THE LAST OF US is that characters like Kathleen are able to be fleshed out whereas most of the adversaries in the first game add to the body count. The second game more than compensates for this by making the player feel like an asshole by forcing us to empathize with everyone we kill. Lynskey is a fan favorite of the genre, delivering several performances in iconic films and shows, but is just lately getting the recognition that’s been long overdue.

The episode lets us believe that Kathleen will cross paths face-to-face with Ellie and Joel by the end, but the creators throw in another surprise. They instead bump into brothers, Henry and Sam. Those who have not played the games will be scratching their heads until the next episode, but gamers are well aware of what’s to come and the anxiety that’s a part of their narrative.

Overall, this was more of a calm episode compared to previous ones, but we needed some time to breathe. There seems to be an even flow of events not to overwhelm viewers and so far it’s working. Bella Ramsey continues to add to Ellie’s edge and sarcasm that we all love, while Pedro Pascal will have his moment soon as their relationship grows.

The fourth episode of the HBO Original drama series THE LAST OF US debuted on February 5 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and will be available to stream in 4K on HBO Max.

Jovy Skol
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