The last of Us Episode 4 released this week, and after such a huge departure from the source material in Episode 3, this sticks much closer to the game's narrative. However, there are some deviations alongside the one-to-one recreations that radically alter Joel and Ellie's development. Some of these work, but they're not all made equal.
Likewise, this is the first time an episode has really felt like the first part of a story. With a new location, new characters and new threat, this is very much the first act of the Kansas storyline.
With that in mind...
6. Joel & Ellie's Drive
Immediately we start with a scene of Ellie and Joel stopping for gas. We have a bit of a humorous back and forth over the exact logistics of how Joel’s able to siphon it from old cars (including him blagging the science of it), before Ellie pulls out the iconic pun book and starts delivering some terrible dad jokes.
We then get a scene taken straight from the game inside the car on the road, with Ellie discovering Bill’s porno mag and very clearly winding up an uncomfortable Joel with it. Sticky pages and all.
It was great in the game, and it’s great here, not only by being a funny scene, but for further establishing one of the core themes of the episode: Ellie melting Joel’s exterior through her distinctly kid-like humour.
After an episode where we barely got to see the pair, this opening effectively conveys how the two are starting to soften thanks to their time on the road. That, combined with some stunning backdrops and ever-impressive cinematography, makes their early serene roadtrip a surprising light spot in an otherwise dangerous episode.