After last week’s gem of an episode that stands alone as a first class example of what this medium is capable of, viewers were essentially owed more Joel and Ellie, and that’s exactly what we got in episode 4.
The banter between the two main characters is going to be commonplace in the series, so it should be no surprise that “Please Hold My Hand” gives us an even closer look at the evolving dynamics of Joel and Ellie.
After taking off with the truck Bill gave them, we see the two bond in the first few minutes pulled right out of the game almost word-for-word. It’s also a reminder that Ellie was a kid born into the pandemic who knows close to nothing about the world that once was. From her excitement last week of seeing a Mortal Kombat cabinet to this week’s breath of fresh air annoying Joel as she reads a book of riddles as well as enjoying her first few days on the road, Bella Ramsey really shines showcasing her grasp of Ellie’s remaining innocence in her youth.
That innocence is thrown out the window when the two hit a snag in their journey as they’re ambushed in Kansas City. After fending off their attackers, primarily thanks to Ellie’s wits and a certain item she found in Episode 3, the two are on the run again and seemingly back to square one without the truck and almost everything in it.
It’s here where we meet Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey), seemingly the leader of a bunch of rebels that were able to rid the Kansas City Quarantine of FEDRA and make it their own. Alongside her is Perry (Jeffrey Pierce, who actually played the voice of Joel’s brother Tommy in The Last of Us game), someone who looks to be former military with his skill as a gunman. These two characters are not in the game, marking another difference the show has with its original content. That said, they personify a human element that was fairly lifeless at this point in the game’s story, and it’s hard to not expect some emotional resolution especially with the two people they appear to be after, and they’re not Joel and Ellie.
It’s yet another reminder that even though Joel and Ellie are the main characters of this story, everybody in this time has an interesting story of their own, and this time we’re about to see the protagonists get involved in a story they probably wanted no part of. It’s this kind of stuff that makes the world of The Last of Us so interesting. Whether or not a character like Kathleen meets her demise early, or the two people that show up right at the end do anything similar or completely different from what they represent in the game, what this show has done to make us care about people in such a short time makes you wonder about how easily they’ll make us hate people too.
Episode 4 presents a necessary shift after the events of the last episode, and while not a lot actually happened to push the plot anywhere aside from the building of relationships and some of the setpieces, the introduction of new characters sets the foundation for what’s likely to be a hard hitting next couple of episodes given what happens at the end. Luckily, the wait is going to be a couple days shorter as Episode 5 will be available on Friday as Sunday belongs to the Super Bowl.
Can’t get enough of HBO’s The Last of Us? Check out our reviews of previous episodes:
Or check out our reviews of the games!
- The Last of Us Part II (2020 – PS4)
- The Last of Us Remastered (2014 – PS4)
- The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014 – PS3)
- The Last of Us (2013 – PS3)