'The Last of Us' Episode 6 Is The Beginning Of The End (Spoilers)

"The Last of Us" is approaching the final stretch of its nine-episode Season 1.

In its objective to wrap up with the narrative and emotional pay-offs, Episode 6's story is the perfect set-up to resolve both elements in the final three episodes.

The central focus of this episode revolves around Joel and Ellie confronting the difficult reality of what has happened to them so far and what they will choose to do once fate ends their expiring journey.

Joel also confronts the question of whether he's up to finishing his mission with Ellie, and Ellie struggles with the reality of being left alone, should Joel forego the mission.

Family Ties Give Ep. 6 ('Kin') An Emotional Punch

The episode begins with a three-month jump from the main characters' final encounter with Sam and Henry.

Joel and Ellie sneak up on an elderly, and delightful, couple to get directions toward Jackson, Wyoming, where Joel's brother, Tommy, is located.

The elderly man suggests they give up their death wish of traveling on a dangerous road to reach Tommy.

Defiant to the suggestion that Tommy may be dead after going into no man's land, as expressed by the old man, Joel and Ellie press forward.

What follows is a gutting moment for Joel as he suffers a panic attack at the thought of Tommy being dead. Joel is beaten down, not just by the idea of losing his brother, but failing to save another loved one after watching his daughter and Tess die.

Joel Proves Even Hardened Characters Have A Tipping Point

Pain and fear are themes in this episode that highlight the strife that Joel has shouldered to get to this point.

The critical episode feeds viewers with the pain that Joel has experienced, and if you've liked the season up till now, you'll fully grasp the despair that Joel has harbored.

The show writers lean on the audience's connection to Joel in this episode. Amid the absence of the infected, Episode 6's compelling drama keeps the momentum of the series going.

Episode 6 showcases Pedro Pascal's ability to give Joel depth, and the fear that he displays to question whether he can finish the job with Ellie sets up the episode for an emotional confrontation. Not just with Ellie but with his long-lost brother Tommy.

Joel and Ellie continue west, reaching the "River of Death" before getting surrounded by a gang of strangers on horseback.

A tense scene follows as their hunt dog with a nose for the infected scans Joel and Ellie, with the threat of being torn to bits if Ellie's bites are discovered.

The focus zeroes in on Joel as he meets another opportunity of losing his "daughter" if he opts not to take action. Joel's fear gleams through in Pascal's expression. But then, a lighthearted moment between Ellie and the dog relieves Joel of making a difficult decision. One ranger leads them to Tommy after recognizing the name.

Brotherly Drama Ensues...

Joel and Ellie are then introduced to a longstanding community in the middle of nowhere: equipped with electricity, farming, community movie nights and more.

The stable society is a factor in the strain between Joel and Tommy once they're reunited.

For one, Joel is content that his brother is alive and prepping to be a father with "commune" leader, Maria (yes, the Communism joke sucked).

On the other hand, Joel finds hatred for Tommy's decision to assimilate into a stable life instead of also risking himself for the sake of a reunion.

After the two men justify their respective anger, Joel begs Tommy to help Ellie reach the Fireflies, feeling that he is no longer physically up to the task. And fearing that Ellie will be another casualty in his journey.

Once Ellie finds out about Joel's request, she presses the father figure and once again feels susceptible to being abandoned, despite all their progressions.

The family dynamic between Joel and Ellie is visible in the acting between Pascal and Bella Ramsey, further solidifying their casting as the perfect fit for these characters.

Joel Accepts 'Death Wish' To Complete Mission With Ellie

After Joel goes against his conviction and chooses to continue with his mission, the two depart from life in the stable community; one that never felt comfortable, to begin with.

Stumbling upon an abandoned building on their resumed trip, the two are found by a group of raiders. Joel and Ellie fend off the group but a stab to the gut leaves Joel in critical condition.

The episode ends on a major cliffhanger as Joel lies on the snow-covered ground, unresponsive to Ellie's emotional pleas to snap out of his loss of consciousness.

Check out David Hookstead's preview of "The Last of Us" Episode 7:

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Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan. Known for having watched every movie and constant craving for dessert. @alejandroaveela (on X)