‘The Last of Us’ Episode 6 Recap: An Awkward Reunion

‘The Last of Us’ Episode 6 Recap: An Awkward Reunion

'The Last of Us' Episode 6 Recap: An Awkward Reunion

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The last of us episode 6 has arrived on HBO and HBO Max on Sundayjoining Ellie and Joel (Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal) after watching new friends Henry and Sam suffer horrific fates.


However, they managed to evade the Kansas City marauders and become infected. This episode finds them on their true quest – to reconnect with Joel’s brother, Tommy (Gabriel Luna).

He’s the one who can connect Ellie to the Fireflies, a rebel group that wants to replicate her immunity to the fungal infection that has turned billions of people into monsters and potentially restore this broken world. Let’s see how well they do by diving into SPOILERS.

river of death

Three months after losing Henry and Sam, Ellie and Joel have gone far west and become lost in the Wyoming wilderness. There, they bump into Florence and Marlon (actors Elaine Miles and Graham Greene, of Native American and Native American descent, respectively), a darkly charming elderly couple who survived the outbreak because they lived in isolation.

Despite our heroes’ threat to shoot the couple, Florence gives them soup due to the cold weather and Marlon warns them not to cross the Yellowstone River (the map reveals they are in Yellowstone National Park) – only “death” is found that way.

Back on the road, the pair stop for the night and express their hopes for the future if Ellie’s blood does indeed return the world to a pre-outbreak society. Joël wants to settle on a ranch and raise sheep because “they are calm, do as they are told”.

Our heroes contemplate the future.


Ellie is a bit more ambitious, declaring her desire to become an astronaut like the late Sally Ride (who became the first American to fly in space in 1983). There’s a hint of melancholy after Ellie says it, suggesting she’s not convinced it can ever happen. Joel expresses unusual confidence that the cure will work, subconsciously slipping into a reassuring dad mode.

These moments evoke elements seen in The last of us part 2 game, but we’re not going to dive into those here as it will likely happen in Season 2 of the show.

Tense meeting

While crossing the river, Ellie and Joel encounter a group of people who throw a sniffer dog at them to determine if they are infected. The pup gives Joel the nod, and then it looks like Ellie won’t have that chance – we know she’s been bitten, so the dog might tear her to shreds. Joel prepares for the worst, but the doggo stays friendly with Ellie. Phew.

A woman from the group (Rutina Wesley, who you may know from True Blood) turns out to be Tommy’s wife, Maria, and brings them to their rather charming village for a meeting. Joel is a little scared that his little brother got married without him knowing, but Ellie helps him express his congratulations. Awkward.

It plays out very differently in the game, where Ellie and Joel come upon Maria and Tommy’s settlement. There is also a large set at the hydroelectric dam, which is only glimpsed in the show.

Maria and Tommy reveal they built the ‘river of death’ reputation by littering the area with the bodies of all the evil marauders who tried to enter the city – the types of people we saw Bill grow back.

Brothers reunited.


Things become strained between Tommy and Joel, as their protective measures have caused him to cut off radio contact with Joel. Maria is also pregnant, which makes Tommy less inclined to take on the responsibility of guiding Ellie to the fireflies. And Joel’s trauma over the death of his daughter Sarah makes it hard to see his brother moving on with his life.

“Just because life has stopped for you doesn’t mean it has to stop for me,” Tommy says, before Joel leaves.

Ouch. On the street, Joel appears to be suffering from a panic attack when he spots a woman with hair similar to Sarah, suggesting that his bond with Ellie and his conversation with Tommy are resurrecting some buried trauma.

Maria is uncertain about Ellie at first, but the pair eventually bond.


A hint of security

Ellie discovers Sarah from Maria, giving her new insight into her father figure. She was also treated to a screening of The Goodbye Girl – a 1977 film about a prickly man who bonds with a precocious girl. Richard Dreyfuss won an Oscar for his performance in this one, so that seems like a solid (albeit a bit meta) choice.

Tommy eventually apologizes for his comment and Joel confesses the depth of his trauma and the agony caused by his attachment to Ellie. Learning of Ellie’s immunity, Tommy agrees to take Ellie to the Fireflies…but Ellie doesn’t get it.

They briefly argue over Joel’s attempt to pass the responsibility onto Tommy, but Joel ultimately decides to let Ellie choose the sibling she prefers. Predictably, she chooses Joel and the Dream Team heads to I-25.

Post-apocalyptic college experience

Arriving at Eastern Colorado University (the same fictional institution seen in the game), they find the Fireflies’ old lab abandoned except for a few monkeys which add to the mess. After determining that the rebel group is likely in Salt Lake City, they are forced to escape as a group of marauders arrive.

Joel gets into a fight with one of them and ends up breaking his neck, only to find he was stabbed in the stomach with a piece of wood. The pair flee on horseback and appear to have freed themselves, then Joel falls from his mount and loses consciousness in the snow.

This section plays out similar to the game, though the lab approach lets you battle clickers and explore deeper. Both versions end up with a badly injured Joel and Ellie in charge of their destiny, but the show gives us a pretty excellent cover of Depeche Mode’s Never Let Me Down Again – the same song that played at the end of episode 1. .

Episode 7 of The Last of Us is coming to HBO Max next Sunday, February 26.


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