The Last of Us keeps pulling more and more audience to it. This week it was reported that The Last of Us episode 4 “Please Hold My Hand” was watched by 7.5 million viewers on HBO maxed. That is a 17% increase compared to The Last of Us episode 3 “Long, Long Time” and a sure sign that the show is becoming more popular. This week’s episode was short, slow-paced, and overall very pleasant to watch. The showrunners focused mainly on Ellie and Joel’s relationship and we got introduced to a new villain. Although just under 45 minutes long, we did see some action in the episode which we will discuss.
Joel and Ellie on the road to Kanzas
The Last of Us episode 4 “Please Hold My Hand” starts with Ellie, practicing aiming with the gun she picked up from Bill’s place, foreshadowing the events that will follow. She joins Joel, discussing their plan while he siphons the gasoline from abandoned cars. The episode is filled with raunchy and saucy humor that Ellie keeps pushing and it works great (most of the time)! Two of our protagonists get into the truck and drive toward Wyoming.
In the truck, we get the exact same dialog that we had in the game in which Ellie makes fun of the magazine she found at Bill’s place. The scenery of the shattered world and the contrast that it makes towards the super clean truck they took from Bill’s home is astonishing. The musical coverage adds to the feeling of loneliness in this world which is only interrupted by Ellie’s raunchy jokes that get to Joel (eventually).
After setting a camp in a forest to spend the night, Joel notices that Ellie is afraid so he decides to take watch while she sleeps. However, amongst all this, we get some pop references (or product placement) as Joel and Ellie talk about how good ravioli from “Chef Boyardee” is. Not only that, in the following morning we get a reference for Starbucks coffee as well. Member when HBO put a Starbucks cup on the table in Winterfell? I member.
After finishing the Starbucks discussion, Ellie asks Joel about Tommy and what happened to him. We learn more about his character during this dialog as Joel explains how Tommy joined the army before the outbreak. Two brothers met Marleen and Tess shortly after the outbreak. Tommy joined the Fireflies after that. However, he had a falling out with them and now he is on his own somewhere in Cody, Wyoming. The scene is very slow-paced but intense as well. I know that I mentioned before but I think HBO deserves more credit for their ability to write a short and simple dialog. This is, by far, something that most fantasy TV shows lack nowadays.
Kanzas city in The Last of Us episode 4
Joel and Ellie arrive at Kanzas city but get ambushed. Ambush is done similarly to the one in the game and they end up crashing into the store while three rebels start firing at them. Joel takes two of them out but the third one pins him down. Ellie comes to the rescue and shoots him with her gun. Joel tells Ellie to go to the other room while the attacker is begging for mercy realizing Joel is going to kill him. The scene is long and action-filled. I like how they kept things simple, with no fancy moves or strange action-shooting-shaky-cam stuff.
The one thing that bothers me a bit is that in the game Joel saved Ellie in this part and not the other way around. I think it would be much better if they stuck to this because later on when Ellie does save Joel in the game, it has so much more build-up and momentum to the event. That being said, there is a nice hommage to the game when Ellie has to move some metal table so that Joel can go through – this happened often in the game and those puzzles were especially difficult to solve sometimes.
Kathleen as a leader of rebels in Kanzas
In the following scenes, we meet Kathleen Coghlan (Melanie Lynskey), who is a leader of the rebels in Kanzas. It seems that something terrible happened and Kathleen’s brother was killed by FEDRA. She blames Henry (Lamar Johnson) for ratting him out to FEDRA and in the opening scene, she interrogates a doctor. The doctor swears he doesn’t know where Henry is and she lets him be for now. However, after she sees the bodies of the people who Joel and Ellie killed, Kathleen kills the doctor and gives a speech in front of her group saying Henry is to blame for this.
I watched the scene several times and I must say, this is the weakest part of the episode. The more I watch it, the worse it gets. We are just thrown in the middle of this subplot with no idea who Kathleen is, who her brother was, and why he was killed. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a big problem since this is probably just a foreshadowing scene for future events but Melanie Lynskey’s performance as a leader of Hunters is just not doing it for me.
Kathleen looks like she is on the brink of tears whenever she is on the screen. She doesn’t look confident at all – I’m not sure how they imagined to portray her but she just comes off as an insecure girl, not knowing what she has gotten herself into, led only by her sense of revenge for unknown events that involved her brother’s murder. With that in mind, she is not a leader type of person in the show and the whole scene looks very weird. Maybe this will improve in the next few episodes but for now, it doesn’t look so good especially not when compared to the rest of the show.
Relationship between Joel and Ellie
Joel and Ellie are hiding from rebels and have several dialogs. “You are just a kid” starts Joel as they talk about what Ellie did back in the store. Dialog is interesting and we see how two of them are bonding and developing trust towards each other. Ellie admits it wasn’t her first time hurting someone and Joel gives her the gun back. The change from the grim mood in which they discuss hurting other people and Ellie’s happiness immediately after she gets the gun seems a bit … too much. I still think that a 14-year-old girl in the apocalypse would at least show some fear or distress from time to time. I like the jokes she makes and the comedy relief moments in the show but her character seems a bit inconsistent with constant mood swings.
The scene cuts off as we get another short look at Kathleen and the Hunters. The scene is basically a cliffhanger for the next episode – Kathleen and her associate walk into a basement and see something trapped under the floor. It looks big and strong – and we all know that can only be a Bloater! We will talk more about Bloaters in the next episode review as we will see one for sure.
In the final scene, Joel and Ellie go to sleep after having another emotional dialog about the struggles of surviving (and more of Ellie’s goofy jokes). Upon waking up the scene ends with Henry pointing a gun at their heads. I won’t get into this since it’s just a cliffhanger so we can talk about this in the next review.
Final thoughts on The Last of Us episode 4
I enjoyed watching The Last of Us episode 4 “Please Hold My Hand”. I think it was well-directed, nicely acted, and overall simple and short. Kathleen wasn’t convincing as a villain for me but as I’ve said earlier, maybe that will change once we get more character development about her. Bounding between Joel and Ellie was executed marvelously and although sometimes the Marvel-style humor is a bit much it’s still nice to see a comedy relief in such a cruel setting. The Last of Us episode 5 will surely bring more action and push the plot forward as this one serves more as a filler for it.