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‘The Last Of Us’ Season 1, Episode 4 ‘Please Hold to My Hand’ – When Fear Gets Raw And Real

What are we scared of the most? Probably the first thing that comes to mind is the fear of the unknown. But when you think deeply, we fear our own kind the most. We are scared of other human beings. Simultaneously, we are sympathetic toward other humans as well. The human mind works in weird ways. Most of our lives, we try to prove we have walked on the right path, but what actually is the right path? Can we ever be right if we take someone else’s life? Well, we rationalize killing someone as a lesser crime if we kill them in self-defense. In the court of law, however, there are different punishments for accidentally killing someone for self-defense and intentionally killing someone for self-defense. In a world where we see honor killings, political killings, and killings over feuds almost every day, somewhere, the sense of right and wrong fades into grey.

All of these deep thoughts will leave you sleepless once you watch the fourth episode of “The Last of Us.” It is strange how, so far in the series, we have experienced several types of fears, from fear of the unknown to fear of losing loved ones. This installment of the series will make you fear your existence. We often quote “survival of the fittest.” However, this episode will scar you for being the fittest and for surviving. We can further narrow down the fear in the episode into two distinct parts. The first half of the series is about the fear of actually trying to “fit,” and the second is, of course, “survival.”

Spoilers Ahead

Are You ‘Fit’ Enough?

“The Last Of Us” Episode 4 opens with the scene where Ellie is shadow-practicing her revolver skill. She takes out the bullet and looks at it closely. To live in the world that they are living in, the young pre-teen girl knew bullets were the only thing that made you “fit.” We see how Joel and Ellie slowly started to open up to each other in a non-sarcastic way. Joel, at one point in the drive, addresses Ellie as “cargo,” showing he has zero emotional connection towards the girl. It is probably because emotional vulnerability makes no one “fit,” and he had to be for himself, for Tess, Joel’s brother, and also for Ellie. However, we have witnessed instances where Joel is protective and gets affected emotionally by Ellie. So, in the expectation that emotional distancing will keep Joel fit, he keeps on pretending.

Ellie, on the other hand, still wants to copy everything that she sees. Her love for daring tasks has grown because she was born in an impossible world. She was ignorant of the simple joys and happiness of life; thus, she had adopted a tough personality. However, we witness the innocence of her age while she cracks lame jokes or tries to cut off Joel’s restrictions for her. We see how she can say she is the least sleepy and falls asleep immediately. However tough Ellie thinks she is, she knows and believes Joel will protect her. But certain fears creep inside like none other. When they pass the burned and ruined cars and buildings, Ellie is both shocked and scared. Finally, when they spend the night in the forest, Ellie is worried that there is someone else who could cause harm to them. She seeks reassurance from Joel before finally falling asleep.

Can You ‘Survive’ This?

Once Joel and Ellie detour and drive into Kansas City, a new fear creeps in. The QZ seems empty, and the city looks dead. It feels like something terrible has happened and has washed away the entire town. And they see a lot of graffiti all over the place. It read “the people.” They could see no one before them. Suddenly, a man appears out of nowhere. Joel, who had been on both sides (the rebels and the military), knew instantly that the man pretending to be hurt and was of no use. Ellie, on the other hand, was surprised that Joel would not help the man. What follows is a deadly gunfight. Unfortunately, Joel is overpowered by one of them, and finally, Ellie comes out of hiding and ends up shooting the man.

The man, now wounded, wanted to surrender and make peace. Once again, Joel knew which call to take. Thus, he takes the gun away from Ellie, sends her back to hiding, and kills the man. Ellie shook in her hiding place and was scared and sad. Later, while in conversation, Joel finds out that it was not the first time that Ellie had shot someone. But he feels sorry for the child to have witnessed such horrors at such a young age. Later, they went inside the tallest building in the town and could reach only the thirty-third floor. Ellie asked a simple question to Joel, which was unanswered: she asked if Joel had ever killed an innocent. There seems to be no correct answer here. In desperate times like this, you either kill or get killed. Thus proving the “survival of the fittest” theory correct. But we see how the fear of survival torments the duo even when they laugh at the lame jokes. Finally, they were woken up by two people—a child and an adult. So, their chances of survival were in question again.

Rebellion Or Revolution?

It takes rebels to begin a revolution. But revolutions are supposed to bring positive change. The change cannot be eye-for-an-eye. However, in this episode, we are introduced to “The People” and their leader, Kathleen. We understand that she and her group were successful in taking down the tyranny of FEDRA, which the Fireflies were trying to do in their base. However, Kathleen no longer wants a revolution; everything has come down to a personal level. Now she wants to avenge her brother’s death by killing every possible collaborator whom she thinks has ratted out her brother.

Thus, Kathleen, on the one hand, kills a doctor, who apparently was the first to hold her while she was born because he didn’t supply the necessary information, and, on the other, is in search of a man named Henry and a kid named Sam. The sense of right and wrong seems to have left Kathleen, and she is on a killing spree. Also, we see her partner showing her a large dent inside a room, which looked like something or someone was down there wanting to break free. Kathleen wanted to hide this from others as well. So, the question that arises here is whether Kathleen is a murderer or just another human being wanting to kill in self-defense.

Fear throughout the series so far has come in many shapes and forms. But, the threat that another uninfected human being has on Joel and Ellie is unimaginable. Fear in this episode gets very real and raw, and we cannot wait to watch how fear is manifested in the series more. 


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