The Last of Us Recap With Spoilers: "Kin"

Spoiler Warning: This article will contain major spoilers for HBO's The Last of Us and Naughty Dog's The Last of Us video game from 2013. 

Three months after Henry and Sam's tragic deaths, Joel and Ellie find themselves in snow-covered mountains. A hunter arrives home to his log cabin with a dead rabbit and greets his wife who is sitting by the fireplace. Much to his surprise, Joel, a total stranger to him, greets him with his gun drawn. Joel instructs the hunter to put down his weapons and have a seat while his wife sits there, seeming pretty at ease. Ellie reveals herself from upstairs while Joel asks the hunter if he's seen his brother, Tommy, and for directions on his map. Cody, the town Joel believed Tommy was in, has been overrun by infected and the man notes that any sort of major civilizations are gone. He tells the duo to go back where they came from and to avoid a nearby river to the west as there's a group that is killing people and leaving the bodies as a warning.

As the two leave the cabin, Joel starts to have some kind of anxiety attack as he begins to realize there's a chance he has lost Tommy for good. After a day of traveling across the frozen lands, Ellie and Joel set up a camp fire for the night. The two connect over what their lives could be if a cure can be made, but Ellie has her doubts. She tells Joel she knew Sam was infected and tried to rub her blood into his wound, but it didn't work. Joel reassures her that Marlene is smart and knows what she's doing, showing he has some faith in the cause. Joel tells Ellie that he'll watch over her while she sleeps, but ultimately falls asleep himself and Ellie takes his place.

They continue on their journey and walk alongside the river that the hunter had warned them about. As soon as they realize where they're at a dozen a large group of masked men and women on horses corner them with guns drawn. The group brings a dog out to sniff Joel and Ellie, looking for any signs of infection. Joel is given the all-clear, but another mild anxiety attack sets in as he realizes she has been bitten multiple times and that could be detected by the dog. However, the dog ends up licking Ellie and averting danger. 


(Photo: HBO)

Joel tells the group that he's looking for his brother and they realize who he is. bring him back to their quaint, handmade town known as Jackson. It's heavily protected by a large gate and is extremely fortified. The town itself looks like something out of a western, but it's incredibly civilized and it's like they have been able to start life all over again. Joel and Tommy find each other upon the former's arrival and have an emotional reunion.  

Joel and Ellie scarf down a real, proper meal with Tommy and his partner/town leader, Maria. Ellie is pretty resistant to everyone around them, noting how she's not too keen on the idea of killing people and leaving their bodies out for others to see. Tommy and Maria show how they've been able to maintain this bustling town by drawing power from a nearby dam and so on. Ellie is introduced to a horse named Shimmer, which fans of The Last of Us Part II may recognize. 

Joel and Tommy splinter off to a bar while Maria takes Ellie to go get settled in. Now that they're alone, the two brothers are able to reconnect. Despite the close relationship the two have, Joel lies about Tess still being alive and why he's transporting Ellie, claiming she's just the daughter of some Firefly big wig. Tommy suggests a nearby university as a location where the Fireflies could be waiting for Joel. Joel tries to convince Tommy to help him get Ellie to her final destination, but Tommy won't give, much to his brother's frustration. Tommy relents and reveals that Maria is pregnant with his child, which is why he can't go, but Joel isn't overly supportive. Tommy has clearly found a way to move forward in life while Joel is unable to heal from his trauma. This is made all the more evident when Joel leaves the bar and sees a woman who looks like Sarah, causing him to have another mild anxiety attack.

Elsewhere, Ellie freshens up and receives new clothes and a menstrual cup as a gift from Maria. Ellie goes to Maria's house where she finds a small tribute to two kids: Kevin and Sarah. While cutting Ellie's hair, Maria tells her that Tommy made the little shrine, but only one of the kids is her own. She reveals to Ellie that Joel had a daughter named Sarah which gives her a lot more clarity about him. Maria warns Ellie about putting her faith in Joel as she seems to have her concerns about him, but Ellie tries to defend him. 

"You Have No Idea What Loss Is"

(Photo: HBO)

As Ellie is watching a movie with the other children of Jackson, Tommy and Joel try to make amends before the latter heads out to finish his journey. Joel reveals to Tommy that Ellie has been bitten, but she appears to be immune. He summarizes the events of their journey to Tommy, confirming that Tess is dead and that they've had a lot of near misses, many of which Ellie saved him from. Most importantly, he has grown to care for Ellie to the point of being afraid. He is softening and accepting his emotions, but due to waiting so long to deal with this, he is having a breakdown. With tears streaming down his face, Joel pleads Tommy to take Ellie the rest of the way because he fears that he will just get her killed. Tommy accepts and notes that he will take her the following morning.

Joel returns to the place he and Ellie are staying in to find her reading someone's diary. She confesses that she overheard his conversation with Tommy and is angry that he's abandoning her. Ellie name drops Sarah and says that she has lost people too, but Joel shuts her out immediately. Ellie explodes on him and says that everyone has left her or died except for Joel and she only feels safe with him. Joel responds by noting that he's not her dad and that they're going their separate ways.

The next morning, Joel tells Ellie she deserves a choice and before he can finish his sentence, she chooses to leave with Joel. The two brothers say their goodbyes and Joel takes Tommy's sniper rifle. Joel and Ellie leave Jackson, but make a stop in the middle of nowhere so he can teach her how to shoot a rifle and proves he's a damn fine shot. The two have a much warmer bond now, Joel is far less cynical and is teaching Ellie about things like his former career, football, and so on.

Ellie and Joel arrive at the university, but find it is totally deserted except for some monkeys. As they search around for Fireflies, they discover they're not alone as a bunch of raiders are searching the area. Having not been spotted yet, they decide to make a break for their horse, but are attacked by a lone raider. Joel manages to break the man's neck, but realizes he has been stabbed in the the stomach in the struggle. He pulls the blade out and blood gushes from his wound while the other raiders rush them. Ellie pulls Joel on to the horse and she fires her gun at the pursuers. The two manage to escape, but Joel falls off the horse and passes out due to his blood loss. She begs him to stay with her as she doesn't know what to do without him, but he doesn't respond.

Differences Between Game and Show


The differences between the show and game this episode are fairly significant. Most of what you see in this episode does not actually happen in the game, save for a few key moments like Ellie and Joel arguing in the house. In the game, it's much more gameplay-oriented and centers around the dam that powers Jackson. Joel and Ellie meet Tommy and Maria at the dam and work together to try and get the place up and running, but a lot of key pieces of information is still exchanged between them. You only get a very general sense of what Jackson is in the first game, but you get to see it much more up close and personal in the second game.

The university section is also fairly condensed in the show as it mostly devolves into a big shootout and action sequence. In the game, Joel falls from a pretty severe height and gets impaled by some metal sticking out of the ground. Given that really should've killed him immediately, it makes more sense to have him get stabbed with a fairly small blade in the show.

The Last of Us will continue to air every Sunday on HBO at 9PM ET. What did you think of the sixth episode? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @Cade_Onder. For more Last of Us content, check out ComicBook and Entertainment Tonight's new podcast: The Last of Pods. The podcast will include breakdowns of each episode, interviews with special guests from the show, and more. The podcast will release after every episode of the show on Sunday nights.