‘The Last of Us’ episode 6 Dives Deeper Into Joel & Ellie’s Strong Bond

Episode 6 of “The Last of Us” jumps forward 3 months after the events of episode 5. We’re met with a stronger and more confident bond between Joel and Ellie as they make their way West. It’s made clear that over the course of their journey thus far, Joel and Ellie have gotten closer and that Joel has allowed himself to open up to Ellie more. They seem more comfortable in each other’s company and working great together as a team. In this episode, Joel is still searching for his brother Tommy, as he and Ellie head West to his last known parts whereabouts. They manage to stumble across a settlement where Joel is reunited with Tommy as Tommy introduces Joel to his new life in the small town, including marriage, love and a baby. *Spoilers ahead*

Throughout the episode, we’re shown Tommy and Joel essentially catching up with each other, and unraveling how their lives have both changed. Tommy has moved on and is now expecting a child with his wife, and is thriving in this community. It’s paralleled with Joel who has up until this point, refused any type of close bond or relationship with anyone after having lost his daughter when the breakout first started. Meanwhile, Ellie branches off with Maria (Tommy’s wife) and learns of Joel’s tragic past and the loss of his daughter Sarah. Joel has an argument with Tommy because they both disagree with each other on the philosophy of moving on with life, and it’s in this scene, we get one of Pedro Pascal’s strongest performances yet in the series. Joel breaks down and tells Tommy the truth about Ellie’s “blood” and how the Fireflies believe they can create a vaccine for the infected and that he’s afraid because he’s not sure if he’s the right person who could help her. He sees himself as a failure and doesn’t want his shortcomings to interfere with Ellie’s safety. Joel essentially believes that Ellie has a better chance remaining under the care of his brother, and that he’d be better taking her to the Fireflies. Ellie catches word of this, and has an explosive argument with Joel when she confronts him about him leaving her. Another masterful scene by both Pedro and Bella who recite the dialogue word for word from the scene that’s also in the game. They talk about how both have experienced loss, and they acknowledge that they deeply care for each other.

After a night of thinking it over and remembering Sarah, Joel allows Ellie to decide what she wants to do, either go with him or stay with Tommy. She instantly chooses to continue onwards with Joel without any hesitation. They head on out on horseback in search of the lab and looking around for the scientists Joel was supposed to leave Ellie with, and come across an abandoned run down lab, with monkeys running amuck. They’re soon greeted by a group of wanderers who jumps them, and while Joel and Ellie are able to make their escape, Joel gets stabbed in the gut. Ellie pleads to him that she cannot do this without him, and the episode ends.

This episode showcases Pedro and Bella’s best performances as their respective characters so far in the series, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being the episode that’s submitted for Emmy consideration. We get a slow start on the episode, and a faster paced latter half, but in all of this runtime, so much characterization is peeled back for our protagonists. The writing is strong, the performances never falter, and we’re given much time for characters to establish themselves. It ends with a good set up that will lead us right into the next juncture of the story(gamers will know) but not before we meet Riley.

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