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The Last of Us Episode 4 Review: Episodically Strong, But a Severe Letdown from Last Week

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO

The Last Of Us Episode 4, ‘Please Hold my Name’ is the most difficult episode to pinpoint on a singular level. It’s not a bad episode. The show is still strong, still taking great advantage of the new medium, and should still have you on the edge of your seat. This difficulty is more a reflection on the isolated, stronger core concepts of the prior episodes, and how the most recent episode is … well, episodic. 

This is, again, not a criticism, just something to note. The content of The Last Of Us Episode 4 remains strong – entrenching Joel and Ellie’s dynamic through grotesque violence and eye-rolling puns. Their relationship arguably reaches a relative low, oddly enough, when Ellie saves Joel’s life. The two have been ambushed by some goons in Kansas City (replacing Pittsburgh from the game). After hiding from the violence, Ellie sees Joel is being strangled by the last remaining goon. She sneaks up behind the goon to shoot him. When this scene happens in the game, Ellie is completely in the right, and Joel’s lack of gratitude is the result of him being stubborn. However, the show adds a little twist: Ellie stole the gun without Joel’s knowledge. Her rebellion is underscored by the fact that she plans to kill the goon with a knife, and opts for the gun instead. 

The bullet only severely injures the goon. Rather than stubborn gratitude, Joel is silent, and gestures for Ellie to give him the gun. Joel would probably say “I’m not angry, I’m disappointed” if he wasn’t too busy being angry. He then puts the gun away and again tells Ellie to hide from the violence. Joel finishes off the goon (with a knife.) 

As with the game, Joel eventually gives her a gun as a sign of trust, but the dynamic has shifted. In the game, giving Ellie the gun is a sign that Joel overcame his stubbornness and understanding Ellie was in the right, while in the show, he’s forgiving her transgression. He knows she knows how mad he is, and that giving her the gun in conjunction with that rage is not a contradiction, or him backing down, but will sell her on the weight of the weapon. It kind of reminds me of a time when I was younger and my Dad found a cigar I stole from him and, rather than punish me, he shared it with me.

This forgiveness of Ellie is cemented further when the two are falling asleep and she reads him a pun from a book she found. After days of annoyance and dismissal, he lets his guard down, and laughs. 

It’s a lovely moment, a sign of their developing care for each other. It’s a shame that, when they face the some soon-to-come heartache from terrible, life or death situations, that care will have to manifest not through Ellie’s joke book, but her new gun.

The Last Of Us Episode 4, ‘Please Hold my Name’ is now streaming on HBO MAX. This week’s episode airs on Friday.



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