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‘The Last of Us’ Episode 4 Recap: Danger and Puns in Kansas City

The last of us episode 4 has arrived on HBO and HBO Max on Sundaywith Ellie and Joel (Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal) back on the road after last week heartbreaking diversion. They’re well on their way to connecting Ellie to the Fireflies, a rebel group that wants to replicate her immunity to the fungal infection that has turned billions of people into monsters.

This episode also features a major diversion from the game by introducing an amazing new villain. Let’s see how it goes as we dive into Episode 4 SPOILERS.

spoiler alert

A ruthless leader

The Marauders in this installment are as terrifying as they are in the PlayStation game, with the initial confrontation with them playing out similarly to the source material. (Bill is also alive in the game, but separates from Joel and Ellie before it goes down.) The incident takes place in Kansas City, but it happened in Pittsburgh in the game.

The HBO adaptation also gives these marauders a leader – quietly menacing Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey of the Showtime series Incredible yellow jackets). This new character is on a bloody quest for revenge after his brother was beaten to death by the FEDRA (Federal Disaster Response Agency), which ran quarantine zones with the remnants of the US military. It’s essentially one of the last remnants of government, but its power isn’t absolute – guerrilla groups like Kathleen’s have overthrown them in some towns.

After dealing with Fedra, her group tracks down people who collaborated with Fedra – the names Henry and Sam will probably bring back memories if you’ve played the game. Kathleen sees a loft they were hiding in, and it’s filled with Superman child art. (HBO parent company Warner Bros. Discovery has also owns DC Comicshooray for brand synergy.)

Melanie Lynskey's Kathleen watches someone unseen in a shipping container in The Last of Us

Melanie Lynskey’s Kathleen makes her debut in Episode 4 of The Last of Us, and she’s a character who hasn’t been seen in the game.


The horrors created by the Revenge Cycle will be familiar to anyone who has played The Last of Us games and is especially evident in Part 2. It’s like Kathleen’s story was added to the show, so revenge is a clearer thematic line of revenge between this season and the second.

Kathleen’s bearded goon Perry is played by Jeffrey Pierce, who voiced Joel’s brother Tommy in the games (he’s played by Gabriel Luna in the show). How about: He warns her that a sinkhole is being created by Infected under a building, but she simply orders him to seal it. Looks like Kathleen is letting her grudge distract her from a more immediate issue.

Ellie take your gun

Joel is wracked with guilt for forcing Ellie to shoot Bryan, but she reveals it wasn’t the first time she had done it. Accepting that there is no hope of preserving his teenage ally’s innocence in this hellish world, he teaches her how to properly use a gun.

Joel and Ellie chat in an abandoned store with paper-covered windows in The Last of Us

Joel accepts that Ellie will have to engage in violence to survive.


He reflects a situation in the game in which Joel gives Ellie a handgun after proving her ability by covering Joel with a rifle as he kills a group of bandits. It’s a subtly defining moment in their history in this medium and will likely prove similar on the show.

The explosions of the past

They discover retro pop culture on their road trip, in the form of a Hank Williams tape. The song is from 1955 Alone and abandonedwhich is used similarly in the game.

As they cross the streets of Kansas City, we also spot an abandoned movie theater that was playing two artifacts of 2003 cinema – Kate Beckinsale vampire-werewolf fantasy Underworld and Nicholas Cage dark comedy Matchstick Men – when the outbreak swept through the streets. is produced.

The song playing in the credits is Lotte Keshner’s cover of the 1987 song New Order True Faithwhich was featured in The Last of Us Part 2. The musician was initially uncredited for this use, but game director Neil Druckmann acknowledged it and apologized in a tweet. Keshner was later credited accordingly, Polygon reported in 2020.

Big book of puns

On a lighter note, Ellie finds a book of puns which she uses to lighten the grim mood of their trip. In case you fancy popping them in your day-to-day life, here are the jokes she hits Joel with:

  • It doesn’t matter how much you push the envelope. He will always be still.
  • What did the mermaid wear to her math class? A seaweed bra.
  • I stayed up all night wondering where the sun was going. And then it occurred to me.
  • Why did the scarecrow receive an award? Because he was standing in his field.
  • Did you know that diarrhea is hereditary? It runs into your jeans.

Joel knows the answer to the Scarecrow’s and mocks the Diarrhea answer, hinting that the pair are bonding. It seems dangerous to become too fond of your “cargo” Joel.

After escaping Kathleen’s group, they fall asleep in the apparent safety of a room on the 33rd floor of an apartment building. Despite Joel’s security measures, they wake up to find guns pointed at their faces – they were discovered by Henry and Sam (Lamar Johnson and Keivonn Woodard).

Episode 5 of The Last of Us is coming to HBO Max next Friday, February 10.


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