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The Last of Us Episode 5 Recap breaks down everything you need to know about episode five of The Last of Us.

On this week’s episode of The Last of Us, Joel and Ellie escaped Kansas City with Sam and Henry. But in the process, they created more than a few casualties. For this week’s The Last of Us (TLOU) recap, here’s what we dug about episode five.

When does The Last of Us show come out?

The Last of Us airs Sundays on HBO and HBO Max at 9:00 p.m. EST/6:00 p.m. PDT. Read our HBO Max review to learn more about the streaming service.

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The Last of Us
“Endure and Survive”

The Last of Us (HBO)

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Kansas City barbequed

Melanie Lynskey standing in front of a crowd of soldiers in HBO's The Last of Us.
Image courtesy HBO.

TLOU’s been judicious about shifting into The Walking Dead-style action so far, which made this episode’s cul-de-sac shootout between the Clicker horde and the Kansas City Hunters a doozy to watch. The taut set piece, which doubled as the show’s most extensive action sequence since the pilot, was sharply executed, and it checked off all the boxes you’d want from a big HBO show:

  • Were there lots of monster extras fighting against ill-prepared soldiers? Check.
  • Did someone die in excruciatingly gory fashion? Check and RIP, Perry. But at least your beard made it out (mostly) intact.
  • Was there a big-ass monster alongside a creepy little kid monster? Check!

The bits that bookended the cul-de-sac were also a doozy in a more brutal way. We opened the episode with a flashback to when the Hunters drove FEDRA out of Kansas City. Brothers Sam and Henry are on the run after Henry betrayed the Hunters to get Sam’s leukemia medicine—Henry’s information led to FEDRA killing Kathleen’s brother and Kathleen’s manhunt for both brothers.

This week’s episode, which functioned as a de facto two-parter with last week’s show, filled in the rest of Kathleen’s backstory. But as good as Melanie Lynskey was as Kathleen (watch Yellowjackets!), the Hunters ultimately became thematic (and literal) cannon fodder by the end of the episode.

Kathleen and Henry’s arcs neatly intertwine to show how people react when the world puts their familial bonds under duress. But Kathleen’s single-minded desire for revenge ends disastrously, as she becomes Clicker Girl’s dinner and inadvertently releases a Clicker horde that’ll likely wipe Kansas City off the map.

Henry and Sam in The Last of Us

Lamar Johnson and Keivonn Woodard crowding behind a car in HBO's The Last of Us
Image courtesy HBO.

As for Sam and Henry, their story hews to their in-game versions for better or worse. The show’s decisions to age down Sam and change Sam to a Deaf character work nicely, as they underline the parallels between Henry and Joel as caretakers for their younger wards. But although there’s a reason why the show’s not called The Last of Everyone, we can’t help but wish Sam and Henry got a slightly happier (or even less brutal!) ending.

Bill and Frank’s reworked story showed that creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin aren’t afraid to divert from the game when it makes sense. Bill and Frank’s in-game ending was considerably less happy, but on the show, they lived peacefully and got a relatively peaceful ending. Henry’s body count wasn’t as large as Kathleen’s, but under TLOU’s unforgiving moral rules, he and Sam still ended up in the same place as Kathleen.

The Last of Us episode five easter eggs

Bella Ramsey running from a car in HBO's The Last of Us
Image courtesy HBO.
  • In the underground classroom, there’s a shot of a children’s drawing with two characters, Ish and Danny. In the game, Ish and Danny were protectors for a small survivor community that set up shop in the sewers of Pittsburgh.
  • The massive snow plow truck that crashes into the cul-de-sac house also comes from the TLOU game. In the game, the Humvee—decorated with the same “RUN” on the snowplow—chases Joel and Ellie around Pittsburgh.
  • Sam and Ellie bond over an old Savage Starlight comic issue in the abandoned hotel room. In the game, players collect issues and trading cards from the fictional comic book series.

The Last of Us coverage around the web

Joel and Ellie walking into the sunset outdoors from HBO's The Last of Us.
Image courtesy HBO.

  • The show filmed the entire cul-de-sac sequence practically, which required TLOU’s production team to build an entire neighborhood and fill it with Clicker extras and explosives. Vulture and IndieWire published great features over the weekend that highlighted the herculean behind-the-scenes efforts for the action sequence.
  • We’d also recommend this piece from Vulture about TLOU and the Curse of The Video Game Adaptation if you’re the type of person whose eyes don’t glaze over at the phrase “ludonarrative dissonance.” Game studies nerds, unite!
  • Ever wonder how the Clickers make that nasty clicking sound? Polygon found out.
  • The big Bloater and small girl Clickers were built with on-set special effects. Onscreen, the Bloater’s ready to make you look like a dropped bowl of tomato soup, but IRL? He’s just a big lug who wants a hug.

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