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.
Here is an idea, put the whole transcript of the episode and save us all tuning in this evening,
Don't forget the screen caps and spoilerific tag lines too.
I think it can safely be said that this is something of a reimagining (especially in regards to certain characters) and while there's nothing wrong with that, it would have been nice to know that going in imo. I mean, when one of your main characters is just so fundamentally different it's, at the very least, a little jarring.
And don't get me wrong, obviously not everything can carry over from one medium to the other. Changes are expected. But like, imagine "Harry did you put your name in the goblet of fire!!!" but it's like that for every scene. That's just a different Dumbledore entirely.
Just one man's opinion.
@zupertramp Which character is "so fundamentally different"? That seems a bit of a stretch. Minor differences sure. Their core characteristics are the same.
@kcarnes9051 Joel has been noticeably hesitant, he's having panic attacks and blubbering and crying. You don't see that as a fundamental change in his character?
I think you can definitely make the argument his being more meek and frail (upon Ellie's arrival) is a very human response... but it's unquestionably different.
Last edit: also he immediately thanks Ellie for saving his life. Just flat out. Like no stubbornness about it whatsoever. Hell he never actually even says thank you in the game. Cause he's that stubborn. For better or worse that's who he is. This is, in no uncertain terms, a different Joel.
@zupertramp I don't see the problem with Joel having PTSD or showing gratitude for once. That's just another trait to his complexity, since they still kept the core of him having poor communication issues, being stubborn, and bottling up emotions. I get more dad energy from this version of Joel versus the video game.
The problem likely factors with the pace of the show, at times it feels slow or sped up. Joel opens up when there's downtime, there's been more downtime compared to the videogame where there is consistent action and being on your toes. Naturally, Joel in the game masks as a psychopathic superhero when in action which happened to be majority of the game. In the show, because there hasn't been as much action so he's far more approachable because there's less of a threat to lower his guard. But he's still stubborn in his decision making when presented with a problem.
We just didn't see that until TLOU2 with all the good times he shares with Ellie after the events of TLOU, he does in fact have a vulnerable and emotional side. He was "blubbering and crying" in the beginning of TLOU so I don't have a hard time believing him capable of having emotion offscreen in the game version of TLOU. This show basically is serving as a redemption arc for Joel's exterior and will no doubt give more fuel to dislike Abby when it gets to that point.
@zupertramp Yes, it’s different, but I would call that softening the harsher edges of his character. “So fundamentally different” seems a bit hyperbolic. The core of Joel’s character is his grief over his daughter and his expanding capacity to care for Ellie. He is still gruff, selfish, emotionally withdrawn, brutal, and an adapt survivalist, despite showing some signs of slowing down. I have a feeling they’re seeding Joel’s character development from the second game a bit earlier, so that when we get the more emotionally open and settled down Joel for the second season it ties together a bit better. But “so fundamentally different” is kind of making a mountain out of a mole hill.
Another wonderful episode. Agree with @kcarnes9051 that Joel is the same basic character with slightly different traits. I like the softened edges description.
The one who has surprised me more is Ellie, she’s just meaner in this version, whereas in the game she was more a ray of light. I get that in the scene in the cafeteria they want to have her at her most prickly, not least to heighten the difference when they did make up. That was a brief bit of joy and I was smiling ear to ear.
Shame they crammed so much into this episode, it felt it needed a bit more time to breathe, but still an excellent episode. And there is still A lot to cover in 3 final episodes.
@themightyant Yeah, I feel that Bella Ramsey has a little bit more of an abrasive sass compared to the game’s Ellie having a more endearing sass. Both work for me and they’re coming from the same place at the core of the character. Bella just has a different presence.
This episode did feel like the most rushed of the bunch. It seems they’re spending much more time on the interpersonal drama compared to the action. I wish they’d balance it just a wee more toward the action so we’re not glossing over so much of the game. Maybe it comes down to budget and the number of episodes they were green lit for.
Still solid adaptation overall. Creating a show is so much different than a game. A game has so much more flexibility with changing elements of production. There will always be differences with these sort of things.
@zupertramp I would implore you to check out the official TLOU Podcast, hosted by Troy Baker with a good balance of input from the creators of both the show and the game. They make really solid arguments on the changes that were made in adapting the game into a series!
@InsaneWade @kcarnes9051 @LimitedPower there's blubbering and crying when a loved one is dying in your arms and there's blubbering and crying during a therapy session. I think those are pretty different.
But it's true the pacing is different. As a result we've seen none of Joel's brutally. We've been told about it ad nauseam but thus far it's been Joel killing people under fairly understandable circumstances and even then somewhat hesitantly.
In any case far more apologists have popped on since I last got on here and started this reply and rather than turn this into a serious wall of text I'll just say adding complexity can fundamentally change a character that wasn't too complex to begin with. Joel was a regular dad and then stuff happened and then he became cold, disillusioned, bitter, and mostly uncaring. That's not really complex. And at some point the more you add, the more the character changes.
So agree to disagree here I guess. Like if in the upcoming GoW series Kratos starts crying and spilling his guts to Freya I'm not gonna call that adding complexity, no matter what Christopher Judge says.
And to be clear the changes aren't necessarily out of order, so no one need justify the why... I'm just saying he's different than the game, by a mile. And I didn't expect that, and don't particularly welcome it. But again that's just me.
I have really been enjoying the show but one nit pic other than there barely being any infected to fight other than ep 2 is that they are really rushing it. In the game you get like 12 to 20 hours of time with these characters and here we will get about 5 or 6 when you take away the episodes dealing with other peoples stories and credits etc. I dont know that if they keep the game ending that it will make as much sense or hit as hard when these characters dont seem as bonded. That and the fact there have barely been any infected are about the only things wrong with this show.
@kcarnes9051 Agreed. I think they are also, probably wisely, setting up her for TLOU2/Season 2-3. (see below) But it does make her a little less likeable at times. It's also highlighting the difference between her then, and now. Those scenes after her and Joel got on the horse were joyous.
We all saw the fallout of Game of Thrones where, among other transgressions, they seemed (avoiding spoilers) to suddenly change a character's character late on.
This show is missing the action, the horror, and the high stakes. We rarely see an infected. The character drama has been top-of-its-class, but the show is just missing something… Not bad, just incomplete… And that’s making the drama hit less hard, for me at least.
I guess it’s just time to replay the games again!
I loved the sibling chemistry between Joel and Tommy, this was an easy 8/10 for me.
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