After the genuine heartbreak of episode three, things are a lot more casual in this week’s episode of HBO’s The Last of Us. It’s an episode with plenty of references to the game, and the set up of some deviations that we are beginning to become accustomed to. But at the centre of it all we have Joel and Ellie, who are finally getting that extended one on one time.
While the latest episode, entitled 'Please Hold on to My Hand', isn’t quite as dramatic or even memorable as the last episode, there are plenty of stellar subtle moments between its two leads that keep things interesting. In our first episode review, we said that we weren’t sold on Ramsey’s portrayal of Ellie, but it feels as though the actress has grown more comfortable with the role as time has gone on. The mish-mash of humour, anxiety, and trauma is delicately balanced in Ramsey’s performance here, and we reckon this will go a long way to winning over those that were initially unsure about her casting.
While Pascal has continually impressed with his more dead-pan take on Joel Miller, it is together that the two characters really come to life. And episode director, Jeremy Webb, isn’t afraid to hone in on the quiet moments. While the cutscenes in the game were excellent, a lot of our love for these characters stemmed from the downtime we got with them as they traversed cities, countryside, and dilapidated neighbourhoods. It’s nice to see that those mundane gameplay moments are being revisited in the TV show, as the two bicker and even chuckle together as an infamous pun book finally makes its appearance.
Truthfully, we could have watched double the episode length of Joel and Ellie getting to know each other, and one of episode four’s biggest sins is being too damn short. Checking in as the shortest of the episodes so far, we found ourselves shouting at the screen as the credits snuck up on us. The superb pacing which is interlaced with the aforementioned character moments and small bursts of violence will ensure that this episode goes by in a flash. It certainly will leave you eager for next week, as for the first time we have a story set-up that doesn’t entirely conclude in a singular episode.
That’s because, of course, we are seeing some expansion of the story from the game that continually serves to flesh out this world. And while we won’t go into details here, we are very intrigued to see how it all pans out. If you are looking for some spoilery speculation, then head over to the Push Square YouTube channel, where we get into all of the details.
After a riotous handful of episodes, 'Please Hold on to My Hand' slows its pace to focus on the smaller character moments. Fans of the series and the games alike will find themselves grinning away at the cute interactions, which at this point feel entirely earned. But of course, this is The Last of Us, so you still have your bursts of violence, and we especially loved getting to see Ellie react to it all. While it may not be quite as impactful as the other episodes, this week gave us a breather, one still filled with death and danger but also a modicum of hope. This is the yin and yang of The Last of Us, and it's heart-warming to see those moments of light among the dark.
To find out when you can tune in for the next episode, click through to our Where to Watch The Last of Us TV Show guide. Additionally, our Full Cast List provides more details about the actors and characters. And of course, be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.