Episode 6 of The Last of Us takes things more slowly than usual by pairing its characters off and allowing them to have a passionate talk after a heartfelt conversation after last week’s tense conclusion.
This is a great episode that, thanks to a top-notch script and nuanced performances all around, accomplishes nearly all of its goals.
Over the course of the past three months, winter has arrived, and the characters’ off-screen connection has matured noticeably. Bella Ramsey maintains her high energy throughout, moving from moments of intense emotion to quick, funny one-liners with ease.
Now when Ellie asks him a question, instead of avoiding it, Joel is more than happy to answer it. Yet, he is not yet ready to fully open up to her, which builds tension that explodes in the episode’s defining moment.
The Last of Us: Does Joel Die?
No. The damage, however, is much more severe.
The game begins with Joel and Ellie escaping the hospital, where they have been ambushed by a horde of attackers (maybe 20 in all). A man emerges from a door onto the hospital courtyard just as Joel (and the player) are about to enter it, hurling him against the railing.
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The two characters engage in a tense struggle before collapsing to the ground in a natural cutscene transition. From the courtyard, looking upward at the fall, the foreground is framed by a jutting piece of rebar.
Both Joel and his assailant are about to face the camera when they both go down. The rebar has impaled Joel.
In the sixth episode of HBO’s The Last of Us, the protagonists are able to put their pasts behind them and work together to create a brighter future. When the story’s most memorable passages include intense, sophisticated discourse instead of physical conflict, it’s Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey who really shine.
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With the exception of the ending, which felt a little rushed, this episode is beautifully shot and skillfully written, and it provides just what is needed at this point in Joel and Ellie’s journey.