Greetings, fellow fans of The Last of Us, Appalachia, mushrooms, and Pedro Pascal. Josh Rosenberg, your favorite recapper, was away this week covering the opening of Universal Studios’ Super Nintendo World (where he met Mario and ate tiramisu in the shape of a coin block!), so his editor (yourself) is filling in. Next week, you’ll receive your freshly created Mario Brother back.
We miss you; Henry and Sam. Episode Six of the HBO video game adaptation dares to offer us a glimmer of hope after watching yet another tragic climax. For almost the whole season, our hero Joel has been looking for his long-lost brother, the former Firefly Tommy. The Miller family is finally together. Joel and Ellie are brought to Jackson, Wyoming by a group of strangers through an encounter in the wilderness that first seems fatal. Jackson, Wyoming is a paradise on a planet that has been devastated by cordyceps. Tommy has found serenity and safety there, as we later learn. It’s a glimpse of how Joel and Ellie’s life might be, but of course, it’s only a peek. Let’s get started.
Jackson has been a topic of discussion.
Fans of the video game The Last of Us will adore Episode Six. The closest thing this story will ever get to a core setting is Jackson, which—without getting too into it—we get a fairly excellent look at. It’s a significant improvement over The Last of Us Part I, where we barely ever see the town running smoothly and being directed by the terrifying Maria. But in this scene, Jackson has stores, a large dining room, kids playing, and people truly appear happy!
Joel and Ellie find it perplexing—especially Ellie, who was raised in the military Boston QZ. Although we don’t learn a lot about Jackson’s inner workings, it’s still a joy (and a surprise) to observe and experience the town’s enthusiasm at such a young age.
Jackson has another gift for our heroes in addition to whisky (!): Tommy. Joel believed that his brother had become involved in some Firefly pranks, but the sibling is doing well. He appears to be a key player in maintaining Jackson on a regular basis, and Maria is a trustworthy partner. They are even parents to the same child.
The first time Joel and Tommy meet, it’s all smiles and hugs. In an embrace. Catch up while Ellie eats an entire plate (or two). Yet since this is The Last of Us, trouble quickly reappears. Joel genuinely cares about Ellie at this point in the series. He is also a practical person. He is older.
Thomas isn’t. Joel comes to the logical conclusion that Tommy is the best candidate to keep Ellie safe the rest of the way as they transport Ellie to a group of medical professionals working on a vaccine. To make his request, Joel takes a drink with Tommy in, hey, a real bar! Joel doesn’t receive the response he’s seeking in a superbly played sequence from both Pascal and Gabriel Luna, who plays Tommy.
In a recent interview with Esquire, Luna recalled the crucial moment, saying, “All he’s asking me at that moment is to do him this favor.” “He reacts quite negatively when I say that at this point, I would have to pick my own family. I reply that just because his life ended, mine doesn’t have to, either. It’s not that I don’t love my family or Sarah, [Joel’s daughter], because I do. I must move forward. Joel isn’t quite ready for that yet, either.”
Joel’s decision to stay behind has upset Ellie, at least until he has a change of heart. Tommy also changes his mind towards the end of the episode and mounts up with Ellie. When Joel comes and takes control, things don’t go well. I’ll talk about my favorite part of this episode later; more on that soon.
Smallest Season Two Spoiler
If you want to avoid even the smallest Season Two spoiler for The Last of Us, move on to the next section. waiting, waiting, waiting Waiting… Okay. Dina! I feel. Ellie notices someone staring at her from across the dining room while she is struggling to swallow. “What?!” Ellie yells. A girl may be seen looking at Ellie from behind a pillar before hastily slipping away. Everyone who has played The Last of Us Part II is familiar with that ponytail. We just met a significant character, but I’ll try to keep this somewhat spoiler-free. Bella Ramsey, who played Ellie, has hinted at more details regarding her character’s relationship with this particular user. Even Shimmer appears in this episode! Ah. Much too much.
Back to our regularly recurring, terribly dismal programming. Joel and Ellie travel once more. As they finally arrive at what they believe to be their destination, they discover that the hospital has been closed. Joel must switch into scary-killer mode as they encounter yet another undesirable band of bad people as they leave the location (also again). While his friends escape, he breaks a man’s neck. Well, another threat was eliminated.
Joel is stabbed repeatedly throughout the struggle. We see that Joel isn’t doing so well as the enemies are scattering, and this may be the first episode in the series when he hasn’t just pulled out a health pack like in a video game to fix things. Into the snow, he falls. Naturally, Ellie panics since she has no idea what to do with this grown man who very well could be dying.
It’s a brutal conclusion to this chapter, which gave us a glimpse of Joel and Ellie’s possible future in Jackson, where they might live in peace. In typical The Last of Us way. But no. The bear-cub dynamic we’ve witnessed so far abruptly changes, forcing Ellie to make a decision. What I mean is? This mushroom world is spinning crazily.