The Last of Us, Taking a Look at Episode 6: Kin
HBO’s series continues its streak of strong episodes with the latest, Kin. In this episode we follow Joel and Ellie as they travel through the snowy environments of Wyoming to meet Tommy, played by Gabriel Luna (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Bernie), Joel’s brother.
The scenes are shot with beautiful backdrops of snowy forests and mountains. Providing such a peaceful and serene view to go against the chaotic and terrifying world that they live in. You are shown a functioning survivor settlement and how people have been able to come together to create something that is as close to normal as they can get.
Throughout the episode, it focuses on the relationships between characters and who they are at their core.
There are endearing moments as Ellie and Joel are talking about the world before the outbreak or Joel teaching Ellie useful techniques in order to survive in the world they live in. As a viewer, you get to watch their bond and trust grow between each other. It’s not just Joel delivering ‘cargo’ anymore, it is slowly becoming much more.
While Tommy in this episode serves to be the opposite. While Ellie knows or finds out bits and pieces of Joel’s past, Tommy knows it entirely. He knows who he was before the outbreak and the person he had to become after. Tommy understands that there are things that still haunt Joel but while Joel is stuck he is doing his best to push forward into the future.
With these character dynamics, this episode takes its time to really show the true nature of the world they live in. It is cold and lonely. There are bandits, raiders and who knows what else out there. In this world, trust can get you killed.
Due to this, characters not only have to come to terms with who they have become but what the people around them have become and done. It is a matter of perspective. Killing someone for the sake of your group might make you a good person in their eyes; you are a monster in the eyes of another.
This episode really plays into its strength of character writing as you watch Joel, Ellie and Tommy acknowledge the things they’ve had to do to survive. Each character carries their own trauma and despite that, they are doing what they can to find someone to share the little bit of hope that they have for this world.
In comparison to the video game, they take scenes and make some changes that help add to the depth of each of these complex characters. The showrunners have continued to do an excellent job in adapting and adding to the games.
There are also nice moments of foreshadowing and Easter eggs throughout the episode for those that have played the games that will catch your eye.
There is a lot to anticipate in the next episode as well as the rest of the season. With the quality that the series has been delivering with every episode, this season will be a standout amongst television.