The Last Of Us Episode 4 Introduces New Threats

After an emotionally damaging third episode that already set the bar for TV episodes this year, "The Last of Us" continues with a fourth episode that sets us back on the tracks of the main plot — transporting Ellie to the Fireflies and finding Joel's brother Tommy.

This is so far the worst episode of the show, mostly because it is clearly a transitional episode that sets up multiple threads, and introduces new threats. There's not a single outstanding moment that makes the episode pop, unlike the previous three (mostly because this is the first episode without the death of someone we care about), but what it does have is more of the best parts of the show, Joel and Ellie.

I've said it before, but beyond the horror and the emotional narrative, the core of "The Last of Us" is the relationship between these two, and how they slowly grow from two strangers forced to spend time together on a job to becoming family. So far, this adaptation has completely nailed that relationship, thanks to spectacular performances from Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey.

This episode is essentially a very long adaptation of the car cutscene from the game, which starts when Joel and Ellie leave Bill's house and ends when they are ambushed in Pittsburgh. Just as with the first two episodes, this cutscene is masterfully recreated, down to the framing and camera movement as Ellie tosses a nudie magazine out the window shouting "bye-bye dudes!"

Puns and bonding

Though she acts all tough and badass, cursing and diminishing the threat of the infected, Ellie is still very much a child, one that plays around with the gun she picked up at Bill's and makes "pew pew" noises. While on the road, she picks up a new distraction in the form of a book of puns, which she reads throughout the whole episode. These make up the best parts of this week's episode with Ellie trying to make the cynical and serious Joel laugh, while he tries his best not to let her notice that he is actually finding the jokes funny.

The big thematic point of the episode is to, well, do what every single zombie story has done ever, from "Night of the Living Dead" to "The Walking Dead" — that humans are the true monsters (shocking, I know!). As smart and precocious as Ellie is, she is still rather naive when it comes to the real horrors of the world, acting surprised when Joel warns her not of infected, but of raiders that will do worse things to them than killing.

Unsurprisingly, Joel is proven right the moment they arrive in Pittsburgh and see the QZ in ruins with FEDRA nowhere in sight, and are immediately ambushed. Joel gets pinned down by one of the raiders, and Ellie sees no choice but to pick up the gun she found at Bill's and shoot him. Though she doesn't kill him, she still panics, before Joel finishes the job. He later apologizes for failing at protecting her and forcing her to harm someone, which no kid should ever do. Ellie confesses this was not her first time hurting someone, but refuses to say more. 

New threats

After the ambush, the rest of the episode is essentially set up for at least the next episode, introducing us to the rebel cell that seemingly took over FEDRA in the town, led by Melanie Lynskey. She is mad, looking for someone named Henry, and has an entire militia searching for him and someone named Sam. This is completely original to the game, and there's some potential, but the episode doesn't spend enough time with them to really make us understand the situation or the characters. Curiously, they're hiding something big and strong in a building, which makes the ground shake.

We end the episode with Joel and Ellie sneaking into an abandoned building, with Joel confessing that he's been on both sides of ambushes. He, Tess, and Tommy did what they had to in order to survive — though he refuses to answer if he's killed innocents. The two wake up later in the middle of the night with two kids pointing guns at them. Are these Henry and Sam? Why would an entire militia be after two kids? We'll have to tune in next week for the answers.