Wintry landscapes and brotherly debates are in store for the latest episode of HBO's The Last of Us. With Joel and Ellie escaping Kansas City, they make their way to the chilly countryside of Wyoming in search of Joel's brother Tommy. Pascal's Joel is front and centre in this episode as he struggles with his growing relationship with his surrogate daughter, as the past continues to haunt him.
Fans of the game will have a lot to love with "Kin", as it manages to squeeze in plenty of scene recreations and even easter eggs to the game's coveted sequel — no doubt planting the seeds for the show's second season. However, regardless of whether you're a fan of the game or show, watching the lead characters come to terms with the fact that they might actually like each other is a delight.
Both Pascal and Ramsey are coming out of their shells, and you really get the sense that they've spent months on the road together as they bicker away. Whether it be an agitated glance or a hidden smirk, you can feel the unspoken love between the characters with each interaction. Six chapters into the show's nine-episode run, it all feels earned and natural, and we found ourselves regularly smiling away across the episode's runtime.
Of course, this is The Last of Us, so it isn't all smiles and laughter. We finally get a peek behind Joel's hardened exterior, revealing that the death of Sarah really has permeated its way through every fibre of his being. We knew it already, but in case there were any doubts, this is a broken man and Pascal expertly balances the stoic masculinity with tender vulnerability.
Something that has to be mentioned, though, is Tommy played by Gabriel Luna, who we last saw in the premiere prologue. Luna's performance here is a wonderful counter to Joel, as you feel that familial bond, but also the tension and the history between the two. While through tidbits in conversation we're given some context to their past, it's their strained relationship that tells more, and it's thrilling to watch.
Past the brilliant performances though, we must say that you will feel the constraints of this episode's television runtime. While for the most part it manages to give interactions and discussions their due moments in the sun, the latter half of the episode might feel slightly rushed. It was as if the show had shifted gears, realising that it only had three episodes left after this one to wrap up its expansive story. We're not saying it suddenly donned a breakneck pace, but the university segment — a fan-favourite level of the game — was done and dusted in about five minutes.
Ultimately, episode six is a product of some stellar writing and performances. The character work in place feels earned and it's enthralling to watch play out. Whether they be old relationships or new, the performances on show elevate it all, resulting in our favourite episode since episode three. However, the rushed latter half does end the episode on a worrying note as it enters the final stretch of season one. Hopefully, for a show that has for the most part taken its time, it doesn't lose that patient pacing when it matters most.
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.