The series time jumps three months after the tragic events in Kansas
Story: Set three months after the events of episode 5, Joel and Ellie arrive at Wyoming in the hopes of finding Tommy. They meet an elderly couple living in isolation who warns them that there is only death awaiting them further west.
Review: The Last of Us continues to excel and the series is yet to show any signs of slowing down with yet another stellar episode. The series is slowly becoming another gem in HBO’s long list of iconic TV shows such as The Sopranos, Band of Brothers, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Chernobyl, Watchmen, Veep, The White Lotus, Mare of Easttown, Succession, True Detective, Game of Thrones and many more.
Episode 6 titled, Kin, takes Joel and Ellie to Jackson, Wyoming, where they finally meet Joel’s brother Tommy. To the duo’s surprise, they find that Tommy has been given the opportunity to start a new life in Jackson — a place where civilisation has been re-established with 300 people living in a well-guarded community. It is almost akin to the utopia described by Thomas Moore in his novel Utopia — a welfare state that functions on equal opportunity and equal distribution of wealth or resources. In many ways, it is an idealistic version of communism, something that is referenced in the episode as well.
Long-time fans of the video games, on which the series is based, will surely be well aware of the significance the small township of Jackson has to Ellie’s story. There were also a few clever Easter Eggs thrown in as well. The young woman (Paolina van Kleef) eavesdropping on Ellie’s conversation with Joel, Tommy, and Maria is likely to be Dina from The Last of Us: Part II — Ellie’s future love interest. This is yet to be officially confirmed by showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, but the signs point to the obvious.
The primary focus of the episode is on Joel’s vulnerabilities and how he has become a father figure for Ellie. If episode 5 was Bella Ramsey’s showcase of her acting prowess, then episode 6 is Pedro Pascal’s masterclass in acting. His subtle and restrained performance explores Joel’s inner demons. And the episode also pivots on the themes of fatherhood and loss.
The episode has removed the scenes where Jackson is under attack by raiders in favour of scenes that are more in line with those from The Last of Us: Part II. But the episode then proceeds with the duo on their way to find the Fireflies who are supposed to be at a University in Colorado. The score by Gustavo Santaolalla titled The Path (A New Beginning) to accompany these scenes is simply perfect, and will definitely bring back memories from the iconic game.
Verdict: The Last of Us is well on course to be the best TV series of 2023, despite being just a couple of months into the new year. The performances by the cast, the writing, and the improvements to an already outstanding story, make episode 6 yet another enthralling addition to season one of The Last of Us.