We’re officially in the back half of season one and what a journey it is. It feels like we’re almost at the end, but there’s so much to cover. This episode features a brotherly reunion and some of the best scenes perfectly recreated.
The Last of Us Episode 6 is now on HBOMax.
This review will contain full spoilers for the entire episode.
Story: Extended Cutscenes
Joel and Ellie finally find Tommy and instead of being hurt by raiders, he’s a part of a close-knitted thriving community in the mountains. A lot of the story is dedicated to the relationship between our two leads. What’s interesting is these scenes feel like extended cutscenes from the first game. When Joel and Ellie get to Jackson in the game, there’s two instances that I left like we’re missing while playing.
The moment when Joel tells Tommy the truth about Ellie and then her finding out Sarah is missing. They’re shown off-screen and I’ve always wondered how it would have gone. We finally get these scenes shown in this episode and it shows that they should have been in the game. Granted Neil Druckmann and team probably felt like these scenes dragged down the pace, but it’s well worth it in the end.
These were the highlights and were crucial notes in regards to Joel and Ellie separately. Joel confesses to Tommy how much she’s grown on him and the fear of him getting her killed because he’s too weak. On the flip side, Ellie learns about Sarah and everything clicks for her about Joel. These two instances lead to the famous scene when they both compare the losses they’ve suffered and both actors knocked it out of the park.
Characters & Performances: Welcome to the Family
While we met Tommy in the first episode, he gets a lot of focus here. Gabriel Luna kills it and oozes effortless charm to the audience. The contrast between him and Joel is night and day, but they still feel like brothers. His scene with Pedro Pascal is devastating because it’s like we’re witnessing Tommy seeing a different side to Joel. Hopefully we get to see him before the season is over.
On the flip side, we meet Tommy’s wife, Maria, played by Rutina Wesley. I have loved Rutina since True Blood and felt like she’s pretty underrated. With just one episode, she knocked it out of the park. The strong leadership combined with Maria’s heart makes her a favorite for me. The scene with Ellie where she reveals her own history and how she lost her son shows how different people can take tragedy. Compared to Joel’s darkness, she managed to take her pain and become an effective leader.
Cinematography & Sound: On the Mountain Trail
Whenever I play a cinematic game like The Last of Us or God of War, I like to just stop and take in the environment. The way the developers lay out the land and use the amazing graphics to create a breathtaking world. There were scenes like that in this episode where we just took in the stunning landscapes of the mountains. We see the duo either walking or traveling by horseback with the massive mountains behind.
The cinematographer, Eben Botler, manages to get the dusk and Dawn feeling right in their journey. It conveys how long they’ve been traveling in Wyoming. And with each montage shown , I wanted to rewind and take it all in again. Combine with the incredible score, it shows how beautiful this apocalyptic landscape could be.
Editing & Pacing: Time for Talk
We set aside the action from the infected and clickers to focus on the relationships instead. It might sound like it’ll be a slow episode, but because of the writing and acting, it kept my interest. And don’t think it’s filler because this hour had the most development to our duo. These moments were highly anticipated by fans as the show got to the “you have no idea what loss is” scene. And instead of waiting until the next episode for the resolution, they quickly solved it in the next couple of scenes.