The Last of Us: Season 1 Episode 4 – Please Hold to My Hand (Recap & Review)

Please note: there are FULL spoilers for the entire fourth episode of this first season, as well as all preceding episodes. Also worth noting is that I have never played the video game this is based on, and have no idea of any specific plot points, so any speculation of upcoming events is truly just that.

Alone in a petrol station bathroom, Ellie inspects and plays around with the gun she took from Frank’s desk. Since leaving Bill’s house, Joel and Ellie have continued down the highway siphoning petrol from abandoned cars. When Ellie reads from a bad joke book, Joel tells her wait in the car, but seems to appreciate the humour nonetheless. Upon resuming driving, Ellie finds a cassette tape under a back seat, as well as an adult magazine. She looks at it briefly, but then throws it out of the moving car, once again intentionally trying to make Joel uncomfortable. The pair drive past herds of wild animals, abandoned amusement parks and then finally a large military unit of tanks and cars.

When Joel sees Ellie affected by the sights, he turns off the road and the duo drive deeper into the woods. Joel briefly warns Ellie about starting fires, as it will draw unwanted attention from other survivors, before the two lay down in the sleeping bags taken from Bill and Frank. Unable to sleep, Joel stands watch most of the night. The next morning, Ellie wakes to find Joel brewing coffee, ready to move on. As they continue driving, Joel tells Ellie more of his own past, including his relationship with Tommy, and how he met Tess. Ellie seems to appreciate him talking about it, but doesn’t say anything, and soon falls asleep.

When Ellie wakes, they have arrived at Kansas City, but a truck blocks their path further in. In attempting to take a detour, Ellie sees the ruins of the Quarantine Zone, and the two come across a seemingly injured man begging for help. Joel does not stop, and when the truck is attacked, they are forced to crash through a shop window into a laundromat. Escaping the gunfire of their pursuers, Joel tells Ellie to climb through a hole in the wall. As she does so, Joel takes out one of the assailants, and then the second when he approaches Joel. Sneaking through the back door, one more younger man attacks Joel, and pins him down, choking him. Ellie leaves her hiding spot and shoots the man in the back. The man, now paralyzed from the waist down, reveals his name to be Bryan, and begs for his life. Joel tells Ellie to return to the other room, and then kills Bryan.

As more strangers begin to track them down, Joel and Ellie make their way through the abandoned city, where Joel awkwardly apologises to Ellie about her having to do what she did to Bryan. Holding back tears, Ellie reveals it is not the first time she has had to do something like that to another person. Joel shows Ellie how to properly hold a gun, and gives her back the handgun from Frank’s desk to keep in her backpack for safety. They resolve to stay put until they are no longer being searched for and then head for a nearby apartment building.

Meanwhile, in an old FEDRA holding cell, Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey) is interrogating a man (John Getz) about the location of numerous families and persons of interest. She deduces he knows the location of someone named Henry, and says she is not bluffing that she will kill him if he doesn’t give her the information she wants. The man says he is a doctor, and Kathleen only relents when truck horns call her outside. There, she finds her second in command, Perry (Jeffery Pierce) who has returned with the men Joel has killed. After a brief discussion, they do not know who has attacked their men, and Kathleen storms back to the holding cell and shoots the man.

Kathleen instructs Perry and the other soldiers to search the city for those responsible. The two later search the attic of an apartment block, and find colourful, childlike drawings on the walls. Heading down into the basement, Perry and Kathleen see that the floor is cracked and broken, and appears to have something moving underneath. Kathleen orders that they not tell the rest of the settlement yet, and they have to handle the invaders first. The building is then sealed.

In the darkness of night, Joel and Ellie break into the apartment building and climb upwards through the stairwell. Finding an office, they break in and use couch cushions to form makeshift beds, as Joel scatters glass at the door as a crude security system. Ellie notices that Joel can’t hear as well out of his right ear, and Joel says it may be due to firing guns. Joel asks Ellie if she wants to talk about her previous use of violence, but she does not. Ellie tells Joel a joke, and the two go to sleep laughing, seemingly happy for the first time in a long time.

Soon after, Ellie yells for Joel to wake up. A man is pointing a gun at Ellie, and a young boy is aiming a gun at Joel.

+ I’m not gonna lie, a mermaid wearing ‘an algae bra’ was absolute top notch comedy and I will one hundred per cent be stealing that joke from now on. I’ve used both the scarecrow joke and the diarrhoea joke many times in the past, but I’m glad to get something new in my repertoire
+ Joel’s little monologue to Ellie about Tommy, Tess, Marlene and the fireflies was sad, but nice to hear. I felt like he really needed to get it all out to someone, but then had to reassure himself more than anyone that Ellie was still cargo; we all know he doesn’t mean it at this point
+ I’m not sure if we are meant to feel bad for Bryan and his buddies, but there was no ambiguity in the situation for me. They started a fight with a sneak attack and were fairly beaten. No sympy
+ scattering the glass in the doorway was a genius move, but there was probably more that could have been done. I’m ready to be proven wrong that the two guys at the end didn’t come through that door

– once again there is no cold opening. I feel we were spoiled in the first two episodes, and I don’t think we’ll see them again. And that’s a shame
– my least favourite part of zombie fiction are always other survivors, so forgive me if I’m not thrilled at this entire new sub-sect of enemies. The last thing I want in my post-apocalyptic horror shows are ‘the humans are the real monsters’
– maybe I just missed it, but I think Kathleen only had her name said once, and Perry (aka Mr Beardface) didn’t even have his name spoken. I only know who he is (and the name of the doctor) from the IMDb page
– I personally would have ended the episode with Joel and Ellie laughing together, and saved the shouting/hostage situation for the next episodes cold open. Especially after that third episode, I think we all could use a brief respite. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that this is going to be a ‘nice’ show, but if Game of Thrones ended on a high note, I have no faith that this show will end as depressingly as I want it to
– speaking of the hostage situation, I’m presuming that the younger one is Henry, hence the drawings from the attic? I know this will obviously be explained in the next episode, but at the moment I have absolutely no way of knowing who those two are. Tying into my point below, I don’t think it’s fair or right to use upcoming spoilers from the game in reviewing the current episode of an ongoing series

> It’s a strange feeling, to be on the outside looking in as it pertains to adaptions. With movies such as the MCU, I’m the one going “That’s not how it happened in the comics!”, but with this show I have no idea. It’s interesting to read the thoughts of people who know what ‘should’ have happened, because often times it just sounds more complicated than what did happen.

Final thoughts: This may have been the first time I didn’t outright hate Bella Ramsay, but I still can’t tell if that is by design or not. I’m interested in this new faction of humans, and I am interested in what’s under the floor of that basement, and I’m interested in what happens with these two guys that caught Ellie and Joel, but I am also concerned that there are lots of questions being raised and few answers being provided. Oh well, it’s only episode four.


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s