The Last of Us just keeps getting better and better, as evidenced by Episode 5, titled “Endure and Survive,” which offered more drama and action than your typical Hollywood film. Let’s dive in!
What Happened in The Last of Us Episode 5
With Ellie and Joel lying low in a skyscraper somewhere in Kansas City — further proof that the Super Bowl was fixed in the Chief’s favor! — this week’s episode shifts to Henry and Sam, or the two young boys we briefly saw at the end of last week’s episode. As it turns out, the pair are brothers on the run from the ruthless Kathleen. They were in cahoots with Eldelstein, but since Kathleen blew his head off, the duo is left to their own devices. Luckily, Henry got a good look at Joel blasting the bejesus out of Kathleen’s men in that convenience store and decided he was his ticket outta dodge.
Our story picks up where it left off last week and we follow our motley crew as they try to sneak out of Kansas City. Things are going well until the group runs into a sniper and is quickly overrun by Kathleen’s army. If that weren’t enough, a group of the infected (led by a “bloater”) leap from underneath the streets and proceed to wipe out everyone in sight. A scuffle commences, and Kathleen and many of her men are killed. Joel, Ellie, Henry, and Sam escape, but it’s later revealed that Sam was bitten. He turns sometime during the night, leading Henry to kill his brother before turning the gun on himself.
Yeah, I knew what was coming, but that was still really hard to watch.
Other Thoughts on The Last of Us Episode 5
- Lamar Johnson and Keivonn Woodard were terrific in this episode as Henry and Sam. Honestly, I wanted more of them. The decision to make Sam deaf added an interesting wrinkle to their camaraderie as the young kid is wholly dependent on his older brother for survival. Good drama.
- I was shocked to see Melanie Lynskey’s character knocked off so quickly. I thought for sure she would end up as a recurring character. No, Kathleen wasn’t in the game, but I was curious to see how she figured into the overarching narrative. Well, we get the first of many examples of why revenge doesn’t solve any problems. Kathleen lost her brother and countered by murdering Eldelstein in cold blood. She then turned all of her attention towards Henry and ignored the growing threat in the tunnels below Kansas City. In the end, her stubbornness cost many lives, including her own. Hopefully, Ellie learns from this and doesn’t go on a revenge tour of her own in the future …
- The inclusion of Ish was pretty awesome. While we don’t learn a ton about Ish or his underground community in the game, his story is downright heartbreaking — someone accidentally left the door open one day, if memory serves — and a sad reminder of the current state of the world.
- Not to sound like a game snob, but these episodes factor into Joel’s decision at the end of Season 1. Save the world or protect those closest to you? That’s the debate. Bill and Frank found happiness by turning their back on the world and taking care of each other, but Henry kicked up a hornet’s nest when he murdered Kathleen’s brother to save Sam. Ish might still be alive had he not invited other survivors into his shelter, but he was also miserable by himself. What’s the point of surviving the apocalypse if you have no one to love? On that note, is it possible to survive the apocalypse if you’re too busy catering to the people you love? It’s sort of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. Which would you choose?
- We finally got some infected action, and I was pleased with the execution. What could have been a run-of-the-mill Walking Dead-esque zombie attack instead turned out to be a terrifying, intense, and even thrilling 10-minute sequence replete with gruesome deaths, infected children, and awesome sniping by Joel. Well done. (Perry went out like a b**** though. He didn’t look like the type of dude who would run straight at a bloater, but I only knew the guy for about 15 minutes.)
- Finally, the show gives Joel something to do. His sniper bit was the highlight for me. Joel is a badass, but for whatever reason, the series thus far has kept him on the back burner. (His Mission: Impossible glass trap was shit, though.)
- Ellie’s reaction to death and murder is interesting. She doesn’t react outwardly, but you can tell she’s dying inside. How would you get over seeing a young boy shot in the head after turning into a raging, murderous, infected? Joel remarks that the young are able to move past it much quicker than older folks, but Sam is likely a memory Ellie doesn’t ever forget.
All in all, a pretty great episode from The Last of Us, one that stuck closely to the game script while adding subtle changes for the better. I’m really into this series. Now, can it stick the landing?