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The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 4 Sees a New Threat Arise: Review

HBO's The Last of Us S01E04 deftly recreates Joel & Ellie's cross-country pilgrimage from the game while Melanie Lynskey's Kathleen shines.

Following the events of "Long, Long Time" in HBO's The Last of Us, we continue with Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as he drives off in the truck left to him by Bill (Nick Offerman) in "Please Hold to My Hand." The two continue on their cross-country journey so that Ellie can be the catalyst to "save humanity," given her immunity to the Cordyceps plague. We get a few moments recreated from the Naughty Dog PlayStation games. The following contains minor spoilers.

The Last of Us: Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Joel-Ellie Quality Time
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in "The Last of Us." Image courtesy of Liane Hentscher/HBO

The Last of Us Video Game Call Backs & Melanie Lynskey's Kathleen

The bonding Joel and Ellie have are some of the moments that brought levity, like the 14-year-old's discovery of Bill's "reading material" in the car, which gets about as "awkward" as some of Pascal's SNL sketches. Another is Ellie's discovery of a pun book, which was also originally depicted in the games along with some of the jokes. Something the series has largely avoided until now is more storytelling regarding the various factions in TLOU. We get to know one of the leaders in Melanie Lynskey's Kathleen, who has a major problem with Henry (Lamar Johnson) and will do anything she can to snuff him out. This sounds like he's "John McClane-ing" her operation to the point of interrogating and executing loved ones in the process.

The Last of Us: Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Joel-Ellie Quality Time
Melanie Lynskey in "The Last of Us." Image courtesy of Liane Hentscher/HBO

As far as Lynskey, her character presents the series' first antagonist with an actual face as up to this point, the protagonists have largely dealt with the infected and the less than a handful of incidents of warring militia, but "Please Hold to My Hand" is the first dedicated episode to the more human threat. For fans of the game, one of Kathleen's lieutenants in Perry is played by Jeffrey Pierce, who voiced Tommy in the games. Another recreation from the games with some slight creative shifts is the ambush Joel and Ellie find themselves in, where we find a watershed moment for the latter character, which came much later in the game.

The Last of Us: Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Joel-Ellie Quality Time
Jeffrey Pierce in "The Last of Us." Image courtesy of Liane Hentscher/HBO

Directed by Jeremy Webb (The Umbrella Academy and written by creator Craig Mazin, "Please Hold My Hand" serves as an adequate follow-up to the previous episode, which was a very difficult act to follow from Offerman and Murray Bartlett's performances. Given the urgency of the protagonists' predicament in the apocalypse, I like shifts from the game to speed the narrative along. Without Anna Torv's Tess, Ramsey's Ellie was allowed to shine greater in her best showing in the series to date, which also reflects more on Pascal's Joel. The Last of Us airs Sundays on HBO.

The Last of Us: Season 1 Episode 4: "Please Hold to My Hand"

The Last of Us: Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Joel-Ellie Quality Time
Review by Tom Chang

It's hard to top an episode as powerful as The Last of Us S01E03 "Long, Long Time," but "Please Hold to My Hand" provides a strong follow-up with more nods and winks to the video game fans. Bella Ramsey's Ellie shines brighter when not as the third wheel, and it's not just because of her puns. Melanie Lynskey's Kathleen is establishing herself as the series' first major antagonist. Director Jeremy Webb and writer/creator Craig Mazin deliver well on the goods this episode from epic action sequences and consistent pacing.

Jeremy Webb

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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