The Last Of Us Episode 6 Has A Lot Of References To Part II

The Last Of Us Episode 6 Has A Lot Of References To Part II
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After an early episode 5, those two extra days to wait for episode 6 of The Last of Us have been painful. It was worth the wait though because episode 6 gave us a crucial emotional moment in Joel and Ellie’s journey.

Let’s recap what happened in The Last of Us episode 6, ‘Kin’, and explain a few easter eggs that we noticed.

This article contains full spoilers for The Last of Us TV show. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch episodes 1-6 over on Binge now.

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The Last of Us episode 6: Plot recap

The Last of Us Episode 6
The Last of Us Episode 6 (Image: HBO/Binge)

Things pick up three months after the events of the last episode.

A hooded man treks through the snow, bringing a pair of rabbits he’s hunted back to his house. He enters and finds his wife isn’t the only one at home.

Joel (Pedro Pascal) holds the couple at gunpoint. He tells them he’s looking for his brother, Tommy. The man has no knowledge of such a man, so Joel asks him to point out their current location on a map, threatening that his answer had better match his wife’s. When they do, Joel puts the gun away.

The old couple isn’t fazed by Joel and Ellie’s (Bella Ramsey) seriousness, even enjoying a joke together while the intruders are in their home.

They advise that Joel and Ellie don’t go west, particularly not past the river. Whoever’s beyond the river leaves a trail of bodies in their wake.

Joel and Ellie are on the way west when Joel starts to experience a panic attack, but he quickly brushes it off.

They trek through the wilderness and eventually come across the “river of death”. They camp by a fire at night and Ellie enjoys a view of the northern lights.

Ellie has been thinking about what comes next, after, theoretically, the fireflies are able to take her blood to make a cure. What happens then? Joel has dreams of living in a farmhouse on a sheep ranch. Ellie has much larger dreams of going to space.

Ellie confesses she’s worried the vaccine won’t work and reveals to Joel that she tried to heal Sam with her blood and it didn’t work. Joel reassures her that Marlene knew what she was talking about when she sent them on this journey.

When Joel awakens the next morning Ellie is on watch. He’s annoyed at himself for sleeping, but Ellie reminds him she’s capable of handling herself. Regardless, he wants her to wake him next time.

They cross the bridge over the river of death and there’s no sign of people. Next, they come across a hydro dam. “Dam”, Ellie remarks. We recognise a true master of the pun.

As they follow another river, Ellie wonders whether this one is in fact the river of death.

It turns out she’s not wrong because they’re quickly surrounded by assailants on horseback, who set a sniffer dog on them, designed to pick up infection. There’s a tense moment as the dog approaches Ellie and Joel is hit by another panic attack as he is powerless to prevent what happens next. But the dog has nothing but licks for Ellie.

the last of us episode 6
The Last of Us Episode 6 (Image: HBO/Binge)

They’re taken back to the group’s thriving settlement and, once inside, Joel spots none other than his brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna). It’s a heartwarming reunion.

Later in the dining hall, Tommy and Maria (Rutina Wesley) provide Ellie and Joel with a hot meal. Ellie questions why it’s the so-called river of death, and they reveal its reputation only. Tommy then reveals to Joel that Maria is his wife.

The couple gives them a tour of the Jackson settlement. It has a jail, a school, a democratic council, and electricity from the hydro dam. There are even sheep for Joel to tend to. A dream come true.

Maria offers to take Ellie over to a home they’ve been allocated while Joel and Tommy catch up. Tommy asks questions about Ellie and Joel lies saying she’s the daughter of a Firefly leader that he’s being paid to escort across the country. Tommy reveals the Fireflies have a base at the University of Eastern Colorado, but the trip is difficult, filled with raiders and infected.

Joel wants Tommy to go with them, but Tommy is a family man now. He’s going to be a father. He has to be careful now and move on from their murderous past. Joel is pissed.

“Just because life stopped for you, doesn’t mean it has to stop for me,” Tommy says, to which Joel stonily responds that they’ll take supplies and be gone by morning.

Outside, Joel sees a girl in the crowd who reminds him of Sarah and he’s hit by another panic attack.

The Last of Us Episode 6
The Last of Us Episode 6 (Image: HBO/Binge)

Ellie freshens up and Maria decides she is in need of a haircut. While in Maria and Tommy’s house, Ellie spies a memorial that Tommy has made to their children, Kevin and Sarah. Maria explains that Sarah was Joel’s daughter, not Tommy’s. Ellie realises that Joel has lied to her, but defends him to Maria, saying he doesn’t kill innocent people anymore. Maria remains suspicious. She warns Ellie to be wary of who she trusts.

Later, Tommy apologises to Joel, after which Joel decides to inform his brother the real importance of his mission: Ellie is immune.

Joel confesses he’s terrified that he’ll fail Ellie and that he’s not capable of protecting her. He begs Tommy to take her to the university instead of him. Tommy agrees to take her at dawn.

When Joel returns to the home he and Ellie have been assigned, he realises she overheard his conversation with Tommy. She thinks that Joel is ditching her. Joel tries to explain it’s for her own good, and Ellie reminds him that she is not Sarah.

“Everybody in my life has either died or left me. Everybody except for you,” she retorts.

“You’re right. You’re not my daughter and I’m sure as hell not your dad,” he bites back. It’s time they go their separate ways.

Afterwards, we see Joel reminisce about setting up a Christmas tree with Sarah.

The Last of Us Episode 6
The Last of Us Episode 6 (Image: HBO/Binge)

The next morning, Tommy collects Ellie but when they reach the stables they find Joel waiting. He’s changed his mind.

Tommy gives them directions and reminds them that they have a home in Jackson when they’re done.

As their journey continues, Joel gives Ellie a shooting lesson with the rifle. Despite her complaints that it doesn’t aim right, Joel seems to shoot it just fine.

After five days of riding they arrive at the university. It’s clear how far Joel and Ellie’s dynamic has clearly come – they’re bantering and bickering like family.

They approach the Firefly building and find an unmanned guard station, which is their first sign that something is wrong. Joel discovers a packing list and figures the Fireflies have moved on.

They hear a noise upstairs, but it’s just a bunch of monkeys running amok in the lab. In the lab, they find a map that points them to Salt Lake City, which is where the group seems to have relocated.

They’re interrupted by a group of hunters who have arrived outside. Joel and Ellie make it back to their horse but one of the men gets the jump on Joel.

Joel manages to break the man’s neck but finds that in the struggle he’s been stabbed in the gut. He manages to climb the horse and they ride away from the rest of their pursuers.

Once they’re safe it’s clear that Joel is not in a good way. He’s bleeding profusely and falls from the horse. Ellie has no idea what to do and is left cradling his unconscious body.

Easter eggs

The Last of Us Episode 6 (Image: HBO/Binge)

Episode 6 was another one packed full of references for fans of The Last of Us games. Here are some worth mentioning:

  • Episode 6 has a few references to The Last of Us Part II. At one point, Ellie approaches a young horse in Jackson which Maria says is named Shimmer. This is the same horse that Ellie rides in the second game.
  • Joel says he dreams of living on a sheep ranch and Ellie eventually lives on a sheep farm in TLOU: Part II. 
  • In the first The Last of Us game, you never actually visit the settlement of Jackson. Joel and Ellie meet Tommy at the hydro dam where the group is rigging it to provide power to the town. Everything about the settlement shown in this episode is pulled directly from The Last of Us: Part II.
  • Tommy and Maria are married in the game, but the reveal that Maria is also pregnant is a change made for the series.
  • The scene between Joel and Ellie around a campfire is a shout-out to some concept art from The Last of Us which never made it into the game. Neil Druckmann also revealed that Joel teaching Ellie to use a rifle is based on another famous piece of The Last of Us concept art.
  • Joel’s dreams of being a singer and Ellie’s dreams of going to space are pulled directly from their characters in the game.
  • In the series, Joel is stabbed with the end of a baseball bat but in the game, it’s much more violent. Hunters attack the university and after fighting with one Joel falls through a glass balcony and lands on an exposed pipe that pierces him through the stomach.
  • At the end of the episode, an acoustic version of Depeche Mode’s ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ plays, which is the ’80s song that is heard over the radio in episode 1 to signify trouble.

The Last of Us episode 6: Verdict

The Last of Us Episode 6 (Image: HBO/Binge)

The Last of Us Episode 6, while a bit slower after last week’s action-packed battle, added new emotional content and clarity to a crucial narrative arc from the game. The episode focused a lot on the meaning of family by building on the different familial bonds each of the characters share, which resulted in an evolution in Ellie and Joel’s relationship.

This episode also benefitted greatly by drawing on the world established in both video games, resulting in a faithful adaptation of this chapter in the story, but also paving the way for moments to come in future seasons.

Read our weekly recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5

Stream The Last of Us on Binge

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At Kotaku, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


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