Finally, some respite. After five episodes of compounding misery, The Last of Us TV series arrives at the Fireflies stronghold in Wyoming where Tommy is living. Joel and Ellie can finally sleep without keeping one eye open, but they have different ideas about the road ahead.
Episode 6, ‘Kin’, solidifies their relationship, by exposing their fundamental emotional distance. It’s a quieter episode in the drama series, welcome after the roller-coaster we’ve had so far. ‘Kin’ begs some quintissential questions about not only Ellie and Joel, but what’s left of humanity too.
We start in a small cabin, home to an older couple, Marlon and Florence, original The Last of Us characters for the show. Joel has them at gunpoint, interrogating them about the nearby outpost, and how to find it.
The pair laugh while answering Ellie and Joel’s demands, pointing out the route, and giving advice about where’s becoming hard to traverse. Safe spots are becoming islands yet rarer, and Tommy lives just before a rough area.
Joel is undeterred. There’s a huge comfort in the laughter of this scene, where two people are just living their life as best they can, isolated and safe. They have each other, and they’ve created a future that offers some comfort. Such things are feasible even in the hellscape of this horror series.
Our brave protagonists head onwards, getting lightly confused by the terrain and bridges. Thankfully, no infected or FEDRA show up, but some wranglers do. They have a sniffer dog who can detect Cordyceps, but who doesn’t notice whatever Ellie’s carrying. The group takes Joel and Ellie into their home base, where Tommy re-enters the story.
Tommy’s life has been quite different from Joel’s. He got involved in the Fireflies and spread out, whereas Joel just stayed in Boston with Tess. One moved on and the other tried to recapture some sense of normalcy and routine. It shouldn’t come as a shock that Tommy has wound up happier and more fulfilled, helping to build a community where families can grow old together.
PTSD haunts Joel, as he sees remnants of the life that was stolen from him by Sarah‘s death. Pascal, who’s embodied Joel’s intensity astutely, handles these emotional wrinkles well, folding inward to reveal the scared, wounded man that’s always been there.
Maria, leader of the Wyoming base and Tommy’s partner, trims Ellie’s hair and gives her a new cute in order to bond with her. Ellie’s guarded, as youd expect, but learning what Maria has lost helps build a bridge. As does finding out that Maria is expecting, something that feels completely radical given the state of the world.
But that’s possible here. Tommy and Joel’s conversation is less productive. They butt heads over what they’ve been through and what’s happening, leading to Joel pushing Tommy to take Ellie the rest of the way. Joel doesn’t think he’s up to the struggle any more, whereas Tommy’s still limber and less mentally frayed.
Tommy accepts, solemnly, and Joel goes to tell Ellie what’s happening. This does not go down well, leading to another line-for-line adpatation from the PS5 game. Craig Mazin scripted ‘Kin’, and he continues to have an incredible aptitude for when to domething straight from the source, and when to re-write or deviate.
Whether Joel wants to admit it, Ellie has become precious to him, and he decides to give her a choice – no prizes for guessing who she chooses. But now they have somewhere to come back to, and as fans of the game will know, an impossible choice lies ahead.
They get to the Firefly hospital where Ellie’s to be treated, but it’s deserted. Or so they think, when hunters emerge. An encounter leaves Joel wounded, and he collapses soon after their escape. Ellie panics as they cut to black.
How much further can their bodies go? Or their minds? Peace is not an option for them, not yet, and that’s long been the bane of their existence.
The Last of Us is available on NOW in the UK, and HBO Max in the US. Our guide to The Last of Us cast, Bloaters, and Clickers can give you more information on the universe.
The Last of Us TV series episode 6 recap
Tommy offers Joel and Ellie a plausible way out of the Cordyceps nightmare, if they’re willing to take it.