ICYMI: The Last Of Us Season 1 Episode 6 Recap
Last episode recap- Joel and Ellie escaped Kansas City physically unscathed. They leave Henry, Sam, and the now overrun QZ to go west.
Logline: Joel and Ellie continue their quest west to get Ellie to Firefly scientists so they can engineer a cure, along the way, they meet new friends.
Theme: Coming of Age
The episode opens with a three-month time jump since we last saw Joel and Ellie. A man brings in his kills from a recent hunt. We don’t see his face, only his back and the Teton Mountains towering in the distance. When he enters his home, we see that he’s an old man. He enters in silence, his wife looking up at him. Joel comes around the corner, pistol pointed at the man. He insists on directions, and yells at a girl to “stay upstairs”. She comes down anyway and of course, it’s Ellie, still protesting against Joel every moment she gets.
Without incident, they procure directions but are warned of a river that serves as a boundary between deadlier territories lying out west.
As they exit, Ellie steals a rabbit from the couple against Joel’s wishes. He has the first of many ‘episodes’. Joel suffers from the symptoms of a panic attack. Ellie snaps him out of it and he insists that he’s okay.
Amongst gorgeous scenery, they walk, reminding us that they’ve spent the last three months hiking across America. When they arrive at the supposed ‘river of death’ Ellie mocks it.
They make camp in a cave. Joel repairs his boots with duct tape. He whistles at Ellie to get down from a rock. She sits by the fire and asks for some whiskey, Joel begrudgingly gives her some, and she hates it.
They talk about the future, Joel’s dream of sheep ranching, Ellie’s dream of going to the moon. Ellie confesses the efforts she made to try and save Sam. His death weighs heavy on Ellie. Joel ensures her that the cure will work.
Joel takes both watches as she sleeps. He wakes up to find that Ellie has taken up his rifle and taken the second watch. He expresses anger at first, scared that something might happen to her, but begrudgingly shows that he’s proud of her for taking initiative.
They cross the ‘river of death’ without incident. Ellie tries to whistle and insists he should teach her to hunt.
Ellie spots another river and remarks “what if that’s the river of death?” Moments later, they are beset by a dozen armed riders. The riders then make them surrender their weapons. They send a dog forward that can smell if they’re infected. Joel isn’t infected but the tension grows as the dog stalks toward Ellie, who was bitten months prior. As the dog approaches, Joel begins experiencing another panic attack. Alleviates when he turns to see that the dog is licking Ellie’s laughing face. Joel tells them they’re looking for his brother. A rider comes forward, asking for his name.
They ride towards a walled settlement on horseback. A gate opens to accept them into Jackson, a functioning, communist, mountain community built from the carcass of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Joel sees his brother Tommy and they reunite with a hug.
Tommy and Maria, Tommy’s wife and one of the leaders of Jackson, feed Ellie and Joel a real meal. Ellie is crass and doesn’t show any manners. After a somewhat tense meal, Tommy and Maria give Joel and Ellie a tour of the communal town. After, Joel and Ellie leave each other’s sides for the first time in months.
Tommy takes Joel to a bar. Joel savors the experience. Tommy tells him about the firefly base at Eastern Colorado University. Joel begs Tommy to come with them. Tommy reveals Maria is pregnant, he’s going to be a dad, and he can’t come with them. Joel storms out, telling Tommy they’ll be gone in the morning. He has another panic attack, it subsides when he sees a woman that looks like his long-dead daughter.
Ellie gets out of the shower. Maria left her new clothes, shoes, and menstrual products. Ellie goes to Maria’s house. She gifts Ellie with a new coat and forces her into a chair to give her hair a trim. During the haircut, Maria reveals that Joel had a daughter. Maria ends up taking Ellie to the movies.
While Joel tries to repair his boots with the proper tools, Tommy brings him a completely new pair. Joel reveals that Ellie is immune and has a complete breakdown, admitting that he has panic attacks and nightmares of losing Ellie with tears streaming down his face. He begs Tommy to take her, he can’t stand the thought of losing Ellie. Joel agrees, neither of them knowing Ellie was eavesdropping on the whole conversation.
Joel visits Ellie in her room that evening. She’s reading a girl’s diary from before the infection, entries about boys and what to wear. Ellie calls it “bizarre.” Without giving Joel a chance, Ellie launches into an argument about Joel deserting her. Going back and forth for several rounds, Joel leaves her room, telling her that come morning, they’d be going their separate ways. As Joel goes to sleep, he thinks about his daughter.
Ellie is ready to leave with Tommy when he opens her door the next morning. Joel is waiting for them at the stables. He tells Ellie that “you deserve a choice” between going with Tommy or him. Before he even finishes his sentence, Ellie is shoving her bag into his hands, ready to mount up with him. As they leave, Tommy tells them both that there’s a place for them in Jackson.
Joel teaches Ellie how to shoot his rifle. When she doesn’t hit anything, he embarrasses her with his perfect aim. As they travel, Joel tells her about life before the infection, explaining contract work and the rules of football.
They arrive at Eastern Colorado University. They explore the university. The campus is empty, even when they arrive at the marked Firefly building, they don’t find anything but a ‘packing list’ and a map to Salt Lake City.
Joel spots raiders and they try to make a hasty and quiet escape. Before they can, a raider charges Joel. He kills the raider, but the raider stabs him in the stomach before he dies. Joel struggles to get on the horse with Ellie. They escape the raiders.
The episode ends with Joel falling from his horse, injured and bleeding. Ellie crouches over him, trying to do whatever she can to help. Begging him not to die.