[Episode Recap] THE LAST OF US Season 1 Episode 5

[Episode Recap] THE LAST OF US Season 1 Episode 5
The character roster on THE LAST OF US continues to grow and they also continue to drop dead. Last week’s episode introduced Melanie Lynskey’s Kathleen, a rebel leader in Kansas City, and in the final scene, Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam (Keivonn Woodard). While Kathleen is new to the series, Henry and Sam are brothers familiar to fans as they have their own arc in the game that meets a grim end.

Kathleen makes it a point to her crew that Henry is to be found and killed. Her determination is at first questionable, but Henry gives Joel his story. Sam had fallen ill prior to the show beginning. In a world scarce of supplies, FEDRA offered Henry the medicine Sam needed, but as a trade. Henry accepted the trade and gave FEDRA the leader of the resistance movement in Kansas City, who ended up being Kathleen’s brother. He lives with this guilt and empathizes with her need for revenge, but he has a little brother to think of.

Henry and Sam team up with Joel and Ellie to get out of town via maintenance tunnels. Their journey is interrupted by an unseen sniper during a sequence that recreates one of the iconic moments of the game. While Joel manages to sneak up and kill the sniper, the others are attacked by Kathleen and her crew. Henry gives himself up to her and it seems he’s about to get killed when the war is interrupted by a horde of infected. There are various stages of infection and this was a beautifully shot orgy of violence. Joel manages to shoot down enemies enough for his friends to make it to safety. Kathleen even meets her end as she is attacked by a clicker and torn apart.

Inside their shelter, Ellie and Sam bond over comic books as well as their time to just be kids. In a private moment, Sam reveals to Ellie that he has been injured during this fight and is now infected. Ellie turns into protective mom mode and pats his injury with her blood, promising it will make him better. She actually seems like she believes. In the morning, she wakes up and Sam has now turned and attempts to kill her. Joel and Henry run to their aide and Henry ends up shooting Sam dead. Realizing he has nothing now to keep him alive, he turns the gun on himself, keeping the game narrative intact.

Courtesy HBO

Joel and Ellie bury their bodies outside, Ellie leaving a note behind stating, “I’m sorry,” for Sam. She promised to protect him even though she knew she wouldn’t be able to, but now she’s learning to compartmentalize as Joel does. She leads him to continue their journey to Wyoming as the credits hit.

A lot happens in this episode of THE LAST OF US and might take multiple viewings to digest. Adding an original character like Kathleen makes narrative sense here as it added a whole new dynamic to Henry’s storyline, especially since he only lasted an episode. They are both alike in terms of being willing to do whatever it takes to protect those they love, but it has turned them both into monsters. The episode managed to deliver both emotional arcs as well giving some thrilling action sequences that don’t pull you out of the story.

We have four episodes left and a second season that’s been greenlit. At this point, it seems obvious that season one of THE LAST OF US will cover all of the first game and it’s succeeding at not rushing anything. It’s fun to read all the social media posts, especially from newcomers who never played the games. While it was sad to watch some characters get killed, I’m hoping we can now get back to focusing on solely Joel and Ellie for the remainder of the season.

The fifth episode of the HBO Original drama series THE LAST OF US debuted on February 10 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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