Spoiler Warning: This article contains major spoilers for HBOs The last of us and Naughty Dog The last of us 2013 video game.
After taking Bill and Frank’s truck, Joel and Ellie stop at an abandoned rest area. Ellie is in the bathroom, quietly playing with Frank’s gun, unbeknownst to Joel. She practices aiming at herself in the mirror, loading and unloading the gun, and so on. Outside, Joel siphons gasoline from abandoned cars while Ellie reads puns from a joke book, much to Joel’s chagrin. The two hit the road again, through several states that are totally deserted. After a long day of travel, they park the truck in the woods and enjoy a 20-year-old can of Chef Boyardee. Ellie asks Joel to light a fire, but he declines the request, warning her about people who want to do much more than just rob them for their truck and belongings.
As they went to sleep, Ellie reads another joke to Joel, who correctly guesses the punchline, much to her dismay. After Ellie falls asleep, Joel gets out of his sleeping bag and spends the night watching over Ellie with a loaded shotgun. The next morning, Ellie provides clues via a map and begins questioning Joel about his brother, Tommy. Joel talks about how Tommy is a veteran and convinced him to join a group to go to Boston. Once they got there, Marlene convinced Tommy to join the Fireflies, thinking he could “save the world.” He eventually moved west, quit the Fireflies, and now Joel feels obligated to go get him and save him from being on his own. Ellie asks why he keeps going and Joel comments that family is the driving factor, but Ellie is just cargo to him.
A few hours later, the two hit a roadblock on the highway just outside Kansas City. Not wanting to lose time, Joel decides to cut through the city where they quickly get lost and discover a QZ has been destroyed. An “injured” man stumbles out in front of their truck and begs for help, but Joel soon realizes it’s a trap and steps on the accelerator. A strip of nails pops the truck’s tires and a cinder block smashes the windshield, sending them crashing into a laundromat where they are pinned down by gunmen.
Ellie and Joel run from the truck as gunfire illuminates the laundromat. Ellie is in a panic, but Joel makes sure she focuses and tells her to crawl through the chaos and squeeze through a hole in the wall while he lays down to cover the fire. Ellie quickly makes her way across as Joel fires the shotgun at the men outside the laundry mat, giving Ellie a chance to get to safety. Joel kills all of the gunmen, but is ambushed by another assailant who enters through the back door. The man pins Joel to the floor by shoving a shotgun down his throat, prompting Ellie to leave the room with Frank’s gun. She shoots the attacker, who appears to be just a young adult.
He sits on the floor, bleeding to death, begging Ellie for mercy. Joel takes Frank’s gun from her and steals a knife from the man on the floor. He orders Ellie to go back to the other room. She obliges, quietly crying to herself as she hears Joel stab the man to death. The duo take to the streets as trucks and men with assault rifles swarm the city.
No fireflies, no FEDRA, just humans
Elsewhere, a mild-mannered but unhinged woman named Kathleen interrogates an old man looking for someone named Henry. The interrogation is interrupted when a truck returns the bodies of the men Joel killed. They all speculate that Henry is responsible for the violence, prompting Kathleen to return to the old man where she shoots him without hesitation. She commands an army of armored civilians to spread through the city to find and kill Henry and any collaborators.
This army begins kicking down doors as Joel and Ellie hide in an abandoned building, waiting for an opportunity to move. Joel reflects on the battle at the laundromat and feels genuine guilt over Ellie having to shoot someone. Despite being a man who tries to bottle up his emotions, he holds back his tears and apologizes for not letting his guard down. Ellie responds by noting that it’s not the first time she’s had to shoot someone. He pulls out Frank’s gun and teaches Ellie how to hold it. The two prepare to leave and Ellie puts the gun in her coat pocket, despite Joel telling her to put it in her backpack.
In another part of town, a soldier named Perry takes Kathleen to an attic filled with old food cans and drawings of two superheroes. Kathleen tells Perry that Henry is out of food and will not let another person named Sam starve, so they are probably on their way to find some. Perry then shows Kathleen a room with a floor that collapses and also moves… as if something is about to burst out of the ground. Kathleen tells Perry to keep this a secret from the others until they deal with Sam and Henry.
As night falls, Ellie and Joel enter an office building with over 40 floors. The two climb the stairs and Joel reveals to Ellie that he has done bad things to survive, including killing innocent people, which is how he knew they were about to be ambushed in the truck. The two enter one of the offices and look for a place to spend the night. At the office, Ellie makes a spot to sleep on and Joel scatters broken glass on the floor in case someone tries to sneak up on them.
For the first time, Joel tries to get Ellie to open up about the other time she had to use a gun, but she quickly shuts it down. As Joel closes his eyes, Ellie makes another joke, but this time Joel has to burst out laughing. The two fall asleep laughing together, but are awakened by a man and a little boy with guns.
Differences between game and show
After Episode 3 deviated from the game in such a significant way, Episode 4 is a lot more faithful, though there are a handful of notable changes. In the game, Joel and Ellie are forced to cut through Pittsburgh instead of Kansas City, resulting in the laundromat battle. This is quite a gameplay-heavy part of the game, so Ellie and Joel are forced to fight their way through the city while being chased by a group called “hunters”. Kathleen and Perry are not characters that appear in the game, so their larger role remains unclear at this point, even to those who have played the game. Henry and Sam are also introduced in a slightly different way, while Joel and Ellie climb into an apartment building and are attacked by the two brothers. The two groups decide it would be more beneficial to work together and attempt to stealthily/fightfully make their way out of the city. Things like the joke book, the big laundromat battle, and Joel’s dark history are also in the game, just like in the show.
The last of us airs every Sunday on HBO at 9 p.m. ET. What did you think of the fourth episode? Let me know in the comments or give me a call Twitter @Cade_Onder. For more The last of us content, check out ComicBook and Entertainment Tonight’s new podcast: The Last of Pods. The podcast features breakdowns of each episode, interviews with special guests from the show, and more. The podcast is released on Sunday evenings after each episode of the show.
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