You’ve been on the edge of your seat watching the latest episodes of The Last of Us, completely immersed in the post-pandemic world of Ellie and Joel. The show has been an emotional rollercoaster so far, but nothing could prepare you for the gut punch that is episode five, “Endure and Survive“. This episode is a masterclass in storytelling that will leave you reeling.
The Loss of Innocence
The loss of innocence is a major theme in “Endure and Survive.” Early on, we see Ellie retain some childlike wonder and optimism despite the harsh world around her. She finds joy in small things, like reading her joke book, playing with toys, or bonding with Joel over music.
However, as their journey progresses, Ellie is exposed to increasingly traumatic events that force her to grow up fast. Her first human kill in self-defense is a pivotal moment that shakes her to her core. She starts to understand the true cost of survival and the depths of human suffering in this world.
By the time Ellie and Joel reach the university, her playful spirit has all but disappeared. While exploring the dorms, Ellie stumbles upon artifacts of normal life before the outbreak – things like love letters, textbooks and stuffed animals. But instead of delighting her like before, these remnants of innocence now only serve as a reminder of all that’s been lost.
The final straw comes when Ellie is nearly raped by David’s men. This harrowing experience robs her of the last shreds of her childhood and leaves her feeling exposed and vulnerable in a way she’s never known. By the end of the episode, Ellie emerges a changed person – her eyes have been opened to humanity’s potential for evil in the darkest of times. Her youthful exuberance has been replaced by a grim determination to endure and survive at all costs.
Difficult Decisions in Desperate Times
When resources are scarce and dangers lurk around every corner, hard choices have to be made. In “Endure and Survive,” Joel and Ellie face some of the toughest decisions yet in their cross-country trek.
After narrowly escaping the university, the duo stumble upon an abandoned lakeside resort that seems too good to be true. You want to believe they’ve found paradise, a place to finally rest, but you know the harsh realities of this world. Sure enough, as Ellie explores the grounds, she discovers the resort is inhabited by a group of hunters.
Joel insists they flee immediately, but Ellie begs for one night of safety and normalcy. She’s just a kid, after all, and needs moments of light to balance the dark. Joel relents, though his instincts scream this is a mistake.
In the morning, the hunters ambush them, forcing Joel and Ellie to fight their way out. Joel is furious at Ellie for putting them in danger and lashes out, but soon realizes he’s really angry at their impossible situation. His priority is keeping Ellie alive, yet he also wants to preserve her humanity. It’s a razor’s edge he walks every day.
- Difficult decisions in desperate times often involve risks either way.
- Safety or normalcy. Fight or flight.
- The human need for rest and relationships conflicts with survival instincts.
- Hard choices are usually a balancing act between two fundamental needs.
But that doesn’t mean losing your humanity along the way. For Joel and Ellie, enduring is not enough – they have to survive together with their souls intact. That’s the hardest part of any journey.
So there you have it, an in-depth look at one of the most pivotal and talked about episodes of The Last of Us. Ellie proved herself a capable survivor, showing she has what it takes to endure in this harsh world. Joel grappled with the loss of his daughter and found a new purpose in protecting Ellie. The episode was a rollercoaster of emotions, keeping us on the edge of our seats until the very end. If this episode is any indication, the rest of the season is sure to be a wild ride. Strap in, the infected and hunters are lurking around every corner. But with Joel and Ellie watching each other’s backs, humanity just might have a fighting chance after all. Share your thoughts in the comments!