The Last of Us: Episodes Six & Seven - 'Kin' & 'Left Behind' Spoiler Review

The first three episodes of The Last of Us were all stand-alone episodes that did not feel like an arc, but episodes four and five and now six and seven are min arcs. The reunion with Tommy felt tragically short, but it was also very impactful as we finally saw Joel breakdown. I was expecting that episode seven would be more closely related to the end of episode six, but episode seven gave us a flashback to tell the story of how Ellie got bit. The flashback was very well done, and like episode three it was a very romantic story that features a heartbreaking ending. I did not watch the episode preview for episode seven so I was shocked when it was not centred around Joel's injury or a flashback to Joel's earlier life before the infecting started. I figured we would see Ellie's backstory at some point, but I was caught off guard so when I watched the episode I had no idea where it was going. I knew that Ellie mentioned that she got bit in a mall, but I felt that she told Tess she was alone when it happened. The loss of Riley was obviously something very tough for Ellie, and I wonder if we will see the end of that story. Episode seven ended in a way that leaves the final part of the Riley and Ellie story hanging where we can assume that Riley turned while Ellie did not. In a show that will feature nine episodes I do think people's reaction to the episode is more about feeling like we lost an opportunity for something grander with only two episodes left now. The negative also could be a reaction to yet another episode of the show that prominently feature another same-sex relationship. If that is the reason behind the low scores given to episodes three and seven then those people need to get a life and watch something that won't upset them. Episode six featured the return of Tommy and a couple of emotionally charged scenes of the brothers reuniting, and episode seven told a moving story of how Ellie got bitten and how the incident left a scar on her psyche. 

Joel was barely in episode seven, and when he was he did the same thing Bill did when he thought he might die, he looked out for someone else before himself. Joel was mean to Ellie, but he did not want Ellie to risk her life to save him, and he was scared that if she stayed he would not be able to protect her. Joel wanted Ellie to return to Tommy because he was confident that either Tommy would bring her to the Fireflies or Ellie would stay with Tommy in the settlement and be safe. Tommy has found a life that was like the one Joel had, but Tommy is different than Joel and maybe becoming a father will make him more like Joel. There is belief that Tommy might be the one to rescue Joel and Ellie since he was originally going to accompany Ellie. The relationship between Tommy and Joel was rough at the start, but Tommy seeing Joel breakdown seemed to remind Tommy that the old Joel is still there and that Ellie is the reason for that. Neither episode six or seven featured much action at all, and we only saw one infected throughout the two episodes, but the story has proven to be more important than action which is always a good choice. The Last of Us has spent time fleshing out the characters of the world, and like The Walking Dead other humans are the real danger of the new world (same as the old world). Joel is in a very vulnerable position as he cannot defend himself nor Ellie so he did what he thought we keep Ellie alive, but she made the choice to ignore Joel. I hope that we will see Tommy again before the season is over, but there is a chance that our last glimpse of Tommy came in episode six.  


Episode six opens with a three-month time jump after the events of episode five; we now see Joel and Ellie asking an elderly native couple for their current location. The couple tell Joel and Ellie that there are bad people on the other side of the river. Joel and Ellie cross the river, and they are accosted by a group on horses. Joel and Ellie are place in front of a dog that can sniff infections, but the dog cannot sniff anything on Ellie. When the group learns Joel's name they are brought to their town where Joel finds Tommy. The brothers embrace happily, and then Joel and Ellie get to eat as it has been a long time since they had a proper meal. One of the women named Maria (played by Rutina Wesley) is revealed to be Tommy's wife who is pregnant. Ellie is brought to have a shower while Joel and Tommy go for a drink so they can talk. Joel is not happy that Tommy is married and about to be a father, and Joel's simmering anger causes him to storm off. Ellie learns from Maria about Joel's daughter Sarah, but she also learns that Maria believes that Joel is a bad guy. 

While Maria takes Ellie to movie night, Tommy goes to find Joel who is trying to tape up his boots. Tommy gives him a new pair, and the brothers reconcile. Joel asks Tommy to take Ellie to the Fireflies because Joel believes he is no longer fit enough to do it. Tommy agrees to do it, but Ellie overhears the last part and confronts Joel abandoning her like everyone else has done. Ellie tells Joel that she is not Sarah, and this causes Joel to say that they are going their separate ways come dawn. Ellie goes to get the horse with Tommy, but Joel is already at the stables. Joel explains he was planning to leave, but he couldn't do it. Joel offers his opinion which is that Tommy take her which he believes is the safest for her, but Ellie chooses to continue her journey with Joel. The trip to the college in Colorado will take a week, and along the way Joel teaches Ellie how to shoot with the rifle. They arrive at the campus to find no Fireflies there, but as they are exploring the inside of a building they hear voices outside. They see a group of men so Joel and Ellie escape through a side exit to make for their horse. They get to the horse, but a guy attacks Joel with a baseball bat that gets smashed on a tree after the attacker misses Joel. Joel breaks the attacker's neck, but the attacker had stabbed Joel in the stomach with the handle of the bat. Joel and Ellie escape on horseback, but Joel falls off the horse with Ellie calling for him to get up as the episode ends.

The seventh episode starts with a reveal that Ellie used the horse to drag Joel to a nearby suburb of houses where Joel is in the basement with Ellie attempting to patch him up. Joel tells Ellie to go North to Tommy and he pushes her away. Ellie covers Joel with a coat before she goes upstairs, ad we start a flashback to Ellie before she was bit. Ellie is running laps in a gymnasium with walkman before a bigger girl pushes her for being too slow. The bigger girl tells Ellie that her friend who fights her battles for her is gone so Ellie will do nothing, except Ellie hits her. Ellie ends up before Captain Kwong who runs the FEDRA school she is in. The Captain believes Ellie can be special so he tries to appeal to Ellie's future life. Ellie agrees to be more responsible and focused as it would lead to a future in FEDRA where she will have power. Ellie is awoken by an intruder in her room, but it is her former roommate and friend Riley (played by Storm Reid) who left and never came back. Riley has been gone for three weeks, and during that time she joined the Fireflies. Ellie does not believe Riley is a Firefly until Riley reveals the gun they gave her. Riley came to get Ellie so Riley can show her something which it turns out is an abandoned mall in the QZ. Riley was recruited by Marlene (the woman who asked Joel and Tess to escort Ellie), and all she had to do was say she thought FEDRA was a bunch of fascists. 

Riley shows Ellie how to get into the mall, and then turned on the power inside the mall lighting up all the stores. Riley has planned a night to show Ellie the four wonders of the mall which starts with a carousel ride. The second wonder is a photo booth where Ellie and Riley take some pictures together, but the photo does not come out great because of 20 years of non-use. The third wonder is an arcade that has Mortal Kombat II that Riley beats Ellie at. The girls play Mortal Kombat II for awhile making a lot of noise in the process which awakens an infected inside the mall. Before the fourth and final wonder of the mall Riley wants to give Ellie something. The gift is the joke book we see Ellie reading from on the way to find Tommy. Ellie sees where Riley has been staying inside the mall, and Ellie finds some bombs that Riley is guarding. Ellie is mad that what Riley is doing could hurt her, and when Ellie tries to leave Riley tells her that she has been posted to Atlanta QZ. Riley planned all of this as goodbye to Ellie since it is her last night in Boston. Ellie storms off, and she is about to leave the mall when turns around and she heads back to Riley when she hears screams. When Ellie makes it to the noise she finds a scary Halloween decoration of witch that pops up and screams. Riley is there saying this was the fourth and final wonder of the mall. The two talk it out in the store with both revealing that they both are sad to be splitting apart. They both put on Halloween masks and dance to music on the counter of the store until takes off her mask and asks Riley not to go and they Riley says she won't and Ellie kisses her. An infected stumbles into the shop and attacks them; Riley tries to use the gun, but her shots don't do any damage. The two fight off the infected until Ellie stabs the infected in the head with her knife, but the celebration is cut short when they both realize they were bit. We cut to Joel in the basement shivering under his jacket with Ellie listening; she then begins to tear apart the house looking for a needle and thread. In the past Ellie trashes the store in anger while Riley sits in sadness and shock; the two discuss options with them deciding to keep going until it ends for them (they turn) holding hands. Ellie finds the needle and thread and she begins to stitch Joel's wound together as the episode ends. 


The Last of Us has had a way of delivering episodes that devastate you, and episode seven did that again while episode six featured a scene where Joel broke down and it made me break down. Joel admitting to Tommy that he was afraid that he was not strong enough to keep Ellie safe was a powerful scene, and so was the confrontation between Ellie and Joel about him abandoning her. It is easy to forget that Joel is not the only person with emotional scars, and while we know why Joel did it Ellie did not hear Joel's real reason. Bella Ramsey has done such a wonderful job of bringing Ellie to life, and while Ellie is still a child, there is a hard edge to her that Ramsey is so good portraying. Ellie and Joel are such likeable characters because they are not only tough, but they feel like real people who are struggling to survive. Going into episode seven I think we will see both Ellie and Joel struggling to survive (which I know they will), but knowing has never taken away the tension of the show. There is going to be some complaints about the low stakes feel of these two episodes, but the story again took on more importance than giving us action. Part of me expected to see Tommy join them on their quest, but because of the jumbled memories of the cutscenes I knew Tommy wouldn't, but I wanted him too. The Tommy and Joel reunion felt too short, but aside from Tommy joining them it made no sense for Joel and Ellie to stay. 

The character of Riley had a tragic end, but there is room for the character to be brought back for flashbacks in future episodes. I am still hoping we get a Joel and Sarah flashback at some point, but I had expected to see that in episode seven. The good thing for The Last of Us is that the character whom we met and are now dead can be brought back for flashbacks sequences of episodes. I would not mind seeing a Tess, Tommy and Joel episode (or series) showing how Tess joined them and the adventures they had before Tommy left. Tess was very on board with Joel's plan to find Tommy so I assume that she had a strong connection to Tommy too. I thought that Joel was going to get the flashback in episode eight, but we saw Joel before the fall and we never saw anything with Ellie before she met Joel and Tess. We do not know how Ellie ended up chained to the floor in a Firefly safehouse, but based on episode seven I think Marlene goes to get Riley and she finds a turned Riley, but a not turned but bitten Ellie. I think we will see that flashback in episode eight or episode nine since it would probably be a very tense and unsettling scene. I am trying to remember if Ellie explained how she came to be in FEDRA's possession, but her comment to Joel about people leaving her suggests her parents abandoned her at FEDRA. 

Joel was barely seen in episode seven, but he owned episode six with his performance showing how his love for Ellie is making him sick. Joel has already lost one daughter, and this journey has given him a second chance with Ellie, but the anxiety of losing her too is causing him to have panic attacks. Joel is tough, but his fear is that he is not enough to keep Ellie safe and that worry is causing a spiral effect of his being less able to keep her safe. Joel's breakdown with Tommy shows just how haunted Joel still is by the loss of Sarah. Without Tess to push him it appears that Joel's guard has fully crumbled, and knowing Tommy was about to have a family of his own made Joel jealous for all that he has lost. The journey that Joel and Ellie have been on has had one tragic loss after another, and while Ellie is young enough to push through these losses have taken a toll on Joel. When Joel was burying Henry and Sam at the end of episode five he look haunted there even though Ellie was ready to move on Joel seemed stuck in place. The failed trip to Colorado has left Joel physically broken, and knowing he would only be a hindrance to Ellie he tried to push her away so she would return to Tommy and be safe. Ellie's flashback showed her resolve, when it looked like the end for her and Riley they made the decision to keep going until they couldn't. Ellie has suffered loss like Joel, and Ellie is not willing to lose Joel so she makes a last ditch effort to save him by stitching him up. Joel and Ellie are both haunted by the losses they have experienced, but both have opened their hearts again. The Last of Us is a show about perseverance in the face of hardships, while Joel buried his grief he is now facing all of it again and he is determined to not lose another daughter.

I am going to give both episode six an 8/10 as I wish we got either more Tommy, more action or more tension. Episode six was strong, and it featured great performances by all of the cast with Pedro Pascal giving a powerhouse performance. I wish we had gotten more time with Tommy and Maria, and I can only hope we will not have to wait too long before we see them again. I am going to give episode seven a 9/10 as I thought the flashback was incredibly well done telling a story that was both moving and heartbreaking. Episode seven was similar to episode three in that both featured stories set before, but episode seven is a continuation to what Ellie was saying in episode six when her and Joel had their blowup after he told Ellie to go with Tommy. In episode six we saw Ellie tell Joel that everyone abandons her, and in the next episode we see her story with Riley that begins and ends with Riley leaving her. Ellie and Riley both have a fighting spirit to them, but while Riley hated FEDRA, Ellie couldn't because FEDRA was all she had left. There is going to be some more time spent with Ellie away from Joel by the look of the episode eight preview. The episode eight preview showed Ellie encountering some other people, and she appears to join them at least for a time. Ellie was likely hunting for food or supplies when she encountered them, so I think the episode will be about her protecting Joel from them. With only two episodes left I wonder where things go from here as it is starting to look like season one will not end where the first game ended. Maybe they can get there, but I do not want them to rush in order to end the season where the first game ended. The Last of Us has prioritized storytelling over action, and I hope the final two episodes continue that trend. 

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