The Last of Us Episode 4: What did they change from the game?

The Last of Us Episode 4
The Last of Us Episode 4 /
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The Last of Us Episode 4
The Last of Us Episode 4 /

The hunters scour the city

This leads into the back half of the episode and our real introduction to the group of hunters who have taken over Kansas City. Their leader is a woman named Kathleen, played by Melanie Lynskey. In the game, you can overhear conversations that allude to the hunters’ having a new leader who has grand ideas about expanding their influence, but they never actually appear on screen or become relevant to the story. There’s also an interesting note you can find called “Mother’s Letter,” which alludes to a woman who joined the rebellion that overthrew FEDRA after her child was killed. While Kathleen doesn’t quite fit that description, she does have a similar vengeful streak due to the death of her brother.

Henry’s connection to the hunter group is also invented for the show; in the game, he and Sam were part of a larger group of survivors who were trying to pass through Pittsburgh and gather supplies along the way. After running into the hunters, the rest of Sam and Henry’s group is killed and the two brothers are left to try and escape the overrun QZ by themselves…until they run into Joel and Ellie.

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Following their escape from the ambush, Joel and Ellie have a few scenes that pay homage to the game. The first is when Joel teaches Ellie how to hold her gun properly; the context and dialogue are different, but there are a pair of similar scenes in the game where Joel teaches Ellie the basics of using a rifle before eventually deciding a handgun might be easier to manage. The show combines these scenes into one, focusing on the emotional toll that shooting another person takes on Ellie as well as the idea that she’s done it before.

The other scene clearly inspired by the game is the stairwell scene where Ellie asks Joel how he knew they were about to be ambushed. He replies that it was because he’d “been on both sides” of those sorts of setups, alluding to a much darker period of his life where he killed people for supplies. Some of the dialogue in this scene is straight from the game; both scenes even happen in a stairwell.

In this section of the game, we get a scene where Joel and Ellie enter a flooded hotel lobby and Ellie pantomimes ordering a room. The show shifted that forward to Episode 2, when the characters are still in Boston.

That brings us to the final scenes of the episode, where Joel and Ellie hunker down to spend the night in a skyscraper. This heartwarming scene is entirely new, but is in keeping with how these two are growing closer. Ellie’s pun about diarrhea is lifted directly from the game.

The way that Ellie and Joel are awoken in the middle of the night by Sam and Henry is slightly different; in the game the two sets of pairs bump into each other, which leads to a brawl between Henry, Joel, and Ellie before Sam pulls out a gun. But the gist is the same: the two disparate groups of survivors meet amid the ruins while they’re both trying to lay low from the hunters. Where they go from here, we’ll just have to wait until next week.

The Last of Us premieres new episodes on HBO and HBO Max on Sundays. Next week’s episode will also be hitting HBO Max on Friday, two days earlier than the air date!

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