The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 6 Review: Kin


Reunions are tough, and people probably change more when the world has been decimated by a fungal virus that wants to end everyone.

Joel and Tommy’s reunion on The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 6 was intense because it showcased that the characters we’ve grown to love throughout this series have sides to them they don’t even like.

It’s not news that Joel and Tommy did terrible things in the past; truthfully, their current mindsets are probably a result of those actions.

On The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 1, Tommy was the younger brother who made mistakes, and Joel helped him out of some of the worst mistakes of all.

It’s such a juxtaposition to where their relationship is at on “Kin,” which showcases a domesticated Tommy, who is very much in love with Maria.

Tommy, the risk-taker, is gone. He has a family to think about, and you can tell Joel was surprised about it.

The brother’s bond seemed irreparably damaged at the top of this installment because they probably had preconceived notions about how a potential reunion would play out.

We’ve witnessed Joel’s tenacity in reuniting with Tommy throughout The Last of Us Season 1, and Joel’s sudden arrival had to look like he expected something from his brother.

The acting from Pedroa Pascal and Gabriel Luna was phenomenal throughout their scenes because, even when they weren’t speaking, you could see the resentment oozing from both characters.

A part of me wonders if Tommy would have preferred his brother to stay away because it looked like Tommy had this perfectly curated life that many people could only dream of.

Maybe he was worried about what Joel could tell Maria, but in any case, Maria was one of the most perceptive characters on the show and understood there was a reason for this last-minute meeting.

Maria has a thriving, picturesque community, so I don’t blame her for the rigorous protocols when people are found near her compound.

You have to be prepared for the inevitable, especially in a post-apocalyptic world where resources are scarce, and friendliness is even scarcer.

Rutina Wesley slipped into the role of Maria like a glove. It was the Maria from the video games, albeit with more of an edge, that offered something new to fans of both the series and video games.

Maria strikes me as a warm person — until you cross her, which is probably why she’s survived so long in this universe.

Her concern about why Ellie was with Joel was necessary because her opinion of Joel was heavily skewed by what Tommy told her over the years.

When someone tells you so much about someone, it’s hard to think any other way, especially if you’ve been told the same thing for years.

Maria clearly would have preferred Ellie stay in the compound, and a part of me felt like she was trying to show Ellie the cinema, the clothes, and the sense of community, hoping she would ask to stay there.

Unfortunately, Ellie has a bigger purpose in this universe than settling anywhere, but I appreciated that we saw Ellie being a kid, even for a short time.

I especially liked her reading the diary of the previous occupants of the home they lived in because it brought into focus how difficult it is being a teenager in the apocalypse.

Ellie was struggling with the notion that Joel would hand her over to his brother to take her to the Fireflies.

She’s built a strong connection with Joel. They’ve been in many life-and-death scenarios on-screen, so I dread to think what they encountered during the three-month time jump.

They now function very well together as a team, so it would have been difficult for Ellie to finish this mission with someone completely new.

Joel and Ellie also communicate more, which was tricky for them initially. Ellie managed to get through to Joel with her sense of humor and no-holds-barred attitude.

Joel breaking down as he realized that so much bad stuff happens around him harkened back to the harsh reality of existing in this universe.

After losing Sarah the day the world fell, Joel is terrified that Ellie will get harmed or killed while under his care.

The tricky thing about this is that, for Joel, transporting Ellie across the country has turned from a job to a very personal mission.

He’s allowed himself to get close to Ellie, and they’ve both been looking out for one another.

The events at the university being switched up from the videogame didn’t enhance the story in any way, shape, or form, so I wish that particular storyline had been a bit more faithful to the source material.

Then again, Joel and Ellie hearing the noises made me — a fan of both the game and the series — think people were in the building, ready to strike our formidable duo.

The monkeys were a nice touch, but there wasn’t much of a struggle before Joel wound up hurt.

The adaptation of this storyline in the series clearly showcased a desperate Ellie as she scrambled to save the person who became a confidante to her.

A part of me felt like the cliffhanger was cheap because the footage released by HBO confirms Joel will be back on his feet before long.

The emotional reaction from Ellie was a far better cliffhanger because you could see that she was worried about where she would go from here.

How would she get him to safety? How would she continue on this mission alone?

It’s too much for a 14-year-old.

As a whole, “Kin” was a nice change of pace from the previous episodes because it showcased a thriving community, complicated relationships, and left us pondering the future for everyone involved.

What did you think of the meeting with Joel and Tommy?

What are your thoughts on Maria?

Hit the comments below.

The Last of Us continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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