The Last of Us Episode 4 review: Mermaids, scarecrows, envelopes, & diarrhea
The Last of Us Episode 4 continues the journey of love that has enchanted millions across the world. And such an expedition, of course, has its fair share of laughter and tears.
If last week’s critically-acclaimed episode made you reach for your Kleenex, this one will make you guffaw with its silliness (in a good way!). After all, what better way for a father figure to bond with his symbolic daughter than "dad jokes?"
Doubtless, our readers remember that Ellie (Bella Ramsay) stole a gun from Bill and Frank’s place. The Last of Us Episode 4 opens with her trying it out. She keeps it hidden from Joel (Pedro Pascal), but instead shoots at him with an endless barrage of jokes.
No matter how much you push an envelope, it will still be "stationery," says Ellie! Jokes about mermaids and math (algae bra), scarecrow certificates (outstanding in its field) and diarrhea being hereditary (runs in the jeans) populate the episode.
But this is The Last of Us, not Saturday Night Live’s interpretation of the show, so there is action galore. We meet Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey), who’s on the lookout for a man named Henry. She interrogates a doctor who caused her brother a world of pain.
Besides having armed forces at her disposal, Kathleen harbors a secret too!
Some subterranean creature is trying to pry its way out of hellish depths and into post-apocalyptic Kansas. But she asks her man-at-arms, Perry (Jeffrey Pierce), to seal the building and keep this under wraps for the time being.
Back to Ellie and Joel then, who spot a man asking for assistance (a scene straight out of the game) at one point in the episode. Joel recognizes the trap and a car crash later, he’s shooting at these assailants.
Ellie hides within a hole in the wall, but when she realizes that Joel is choking, she brings out her gun.
What follows is a painful scene of a young man begging for mercy. Despite his pleas, Joel kills him. Ellie does not watch, but the damage is already done.
The duo goes into hiding, from Kathleen’s forces and whatever else haunts the desolate Kansas streets.
They climb up many flights of stairs for respite, and Ellie warns Joel that he doesn’t hear too well in one ear. A cliffhanger follows where Joel wakes up to see Ellie and him at the mercy of two armed men. She was, indeed, right.
And thus ends The Last of Us Episode 4, a very strong successor to the masterpiece that preceded it.
The true magic of The Last of Us Episode 4 is its wholesomeness
The highlight of The Last of Us Episode 4 is how the barriers break down between Joel and Ellie.
Joel is a troubled soul, who’s lost almost everyone he’s ever held dear. Just when he thinks he doesn't care about anyone anymore, in comes a little girl, whom he considers "cargo," not "family."
And yet, she wins him over with her teasing (outraging his sensibilities with a scandalous magazine) and vulnerability, especially when she has no other choice but to grow up and save his life, with the gun stored in her backpack.
The soundtrack continues to play an integral part in this episode, just like the one before. Joel confesses that Hank Williams is from before his time, but when Alone and Forsaken plays on the stereo, it forms the perfect soundtrack to the apocalyptic landscape of The Last of Us Episode 4 :
"The roses have faded, there's frost at my door/The birds in the morning don't sing anymore/The grass in the valley is starting to die/And out in the darkness the whippoorwills cry..."
No episode this season will measure up to the all-time classic that Episode 3 was. But the same warmth carries over into the subsequent effort, which should certainly win fans over in equal measure.
Where franchises like Resident Evil came up short is the depiction of humanity that The Last of Us Episode 4 reminds us of, time after time.
After all, when you’re lost in the darkness, it is always possible to look to the light.