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Review: ‘The Last of Us’ Episode 5 – “Endure and Survive”

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When you compare the series and The Last of Us game, it may seem like adapting the original story into a live-action version was easy. And yet, as previous episodes confirm if you want to make a live-action series based on a game, you will likely need to change a few things. The Last of Us episode 5, titled “Endure and Survive,” was no exception. However, as a fan of the game, I knew what was going to happen, but I didn’t expect this episode to be better than the game.   

[Warning: Spoilers from The Last of Us episode 5  are below!]

Sam and Henry’s dangerous journey in “Endure and Survive”

The fifth episode begins with a not-too-long flashback. It shows us how Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam (Keivonn Woodard) escape from Kathleen’s (Melanie Lynskey) rebel army in Kansas City. She wants to capture them, no matter what. Sam and Henry hide in the safety of the attic in Dr. Eldelstein’s (John Getz) hideout.

After a few days, with Edelstein gone and no food to eat, Henry decides it’s time to flee the city. Before crossing the door, he hears gunfire. Then we see the exact moment from episode 4 when Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) arrived in town and kill Kathleen’s men. There’s a quick cut to the scene that ended the previous episode, where Henry and Sam meet Joel and Ellie in person.

After a while, it occurs to them that all they have to do is leave the city simply by escaping through the tunnels under it. Viewers might be asking themselves, “Where are the infected in this city?” and the answer is: underground. Fortunately for the protagonists, the tunnels they choose are empty and they passed through them safely. Meanwhile, we learn that Henry sacrificed Kathleen’s brother for FEDRA to get Sam’s leukemia drug. That being the only way to save him. However, this is also the reason Kathleen is after Henry.

Sam and Henry in The Last of Us episode 5
Sam (Keivonn Woodard) and Henry (Lamar Johnson) in The Last of Us episode 5 (HBO)

Joel understands why Henry did what he did. Henry says, “You may not be her father, but you were someone’s father.” This perfectly sums up where we are in the relationship between Joel and Ellie. By the look on Joel’s face, regardless of if he says otherwise, it’s true. In the end, we can all see that he cares about Ellie and doesn’t want her to die in his arms like Sarah (Nico Parker).

The Last of Us episode 5: a calm before the storm

Reaching the end of the tunnels, they arrive on the outskirts of the city. The only path forward is a bridge that will help them escape the city. Unfortunately, as soon as they enter a more open space, snipers start shooting at them. Joel decides to go to the back of the house where the shooter is and stop him.

When he gets there, he sees an old man who contacted the rebels about their whereabouts. The whole action sequence is epic in many ways, with its scale something unimaginable. When the rebels reach the site, they destroy everything to find Henry, Sam, Joel, and Ellie. That’s when Joel shoots one of the drivers, who drives into one of the houses. The car explodes, and a whole swarm of infected zombies crawls out from the underground and start attacking.

We get to see Runners, Clickers, and most importantly for fans of The Last of Us, we finally get to see the iconic Bloater. They were supposed to make a first appearance in an episode of Bill’s arc, but since that story changed, the first appearance is now. Bloaters are big, almost indestructible zombies that are like fast tanks. They are very strong, and heavy and are one of the most dangerous types of zombies in this world.

Through a bit of luck, the heroes escape, while the zombies kill Kathleen, Perry (Jeffrey Pierce), and the entire rebel team that was there. When you watch the whole sequence multiple times, you realize that it must have taken a lot of time to complete, especially when not everything was CGI.

When they’re finally safe, Joel decides to tell Henry that there is room for them, if they wanted to go with them to Wyoming. That’s not a problem, especially since Ellie needed someone closer in age with whom she could have fun. However, everything is ruined when viewers learn that Sam was bitten, and he and Ellie decide to hide this fact overnight.

Ellie thought that since she was immune to the infection, she could use her blood to cure him. Tragically, that didn’t work and Sam changed. In the morning, Sam attacks Ellie, and after Henry kills him, he realizes what happened and commits suicide. “Endure and Survive” ends with Joel and Ellie finally going to Wyoming to find Tommy (Gabriel Luna).

Final thoughts on The Last of Us episode 5 – “Endure and Survive”

Adding new characters to the story like Kathleen and Perry, hiring a deaf actor to play Sam, and that crazy action sequence at the end are just some of the changes that Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin have made for the series that work for the better. The fifth episode was another really strong chapter in the series, brilliantly adapted into a live-action series.

The Last of Us episodes 1 – 5 are available on HBO and HBO Max, with new episodes arriving weekly. Did you like it? Let us know on Twitter and our Discord channel. And if you haven’t already, check out our review from episode 4 of The Last of Us.

Review: The Last of Us Episode 4 – “Please Hold My Hand”

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Wiktor Reinfuss

Big fan of all sorts of pop culture stuff. I also enjoy ambitious cinema. Games, music and graphics are all within my interests. I have a great fondness for the Arrowverse series, especially The Flash.

Wiktor Reinfuss has 127 posts and counting. See all posts by Wiktor Reinfuss