With the series being well over the half way point, The Last of Us has not slowed down in its interest to me. On the contrary, the latter stretches of the game (namely the section entitled Winter) enthralled me the most. With that in mind, have you seen this week’s episode of The Last of Us? Let me know in the comments below.
On the surface, Kin has the grandiose and expansive qualities that have come to define the series. However, the episode plays like an intimate and therapeutic bottle episode that tests Joel and Ellie’s relationship.
After the harrowing events of last week’s episode, Joel and Ellie continue their search for Tommy (Joel’s brother). Eventually, they both find Tommy settled in a community that has a semblance of normalcy. However, things become complicated when Joel tasks his little brother with taking Ellie to the last stop of their journey.
Perhaps more than in any other episode, Kin truly attempts to get beneath the surface of Joel and Ellie. This is not only from the vantage point of their induvial fears but how those hang-ups manifest in how they behave with one another. Joel fears that his age and competency have caught up with him and will eventually get Ellie killed. This is compounded by the guilt of not being able to save his daughter who he is still haunted by.
Despite the tough front that Ellie puts up, she’s truly afraid of being abandoned because deep down, there’s still a semblance of a child who is looking for guidance and hope. Bella Ramsey steals the episode with a comedic and empathetic turn as a character who seeks assurance and comfort. Pedro Pascal is heartbreaking in the scenes where he’s discussing his frailties and failures. And Gabriel Luna brings a subdued sense of sympathy as Joel’s settled and frightful younger sibling.
It would not be a review of The Last of Us without a reference to the second game. And Kin had plenty for me to chew on for the eventual adaptation. Aside from featuring part of the setting of that game (Jackson), the episode featured several seeds that will eventually flourish in the second season. The most notable is a prolonged scene where Ellie and Joel are discussing their dreams. The former is expressing her admiration for a female astronaut and wanting to go up to space. Without spoiling it, this sets the stage for one of the most heartwarming scenes in the second game. I hope it’s adapted in the second season.
In the same scene, Joel expresses his dream of wanting to own a farm with a bunch of sheep. This is a potential foreshadowing for a plot point in the second game insofar as a place where Ellie finds herself. But above all, the episode alludes to Joel’s violent past. Aside from serving the episode and its theme of who you should put your trust in, it also alludes to a theme that’s explored in Part 2, which is the unravelling of treasured generational figures.