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‘The Last Of Us’ Season 1, Episode 6 ‘Kin’ – The Fear of Separation

It is strange how deeply the audience is emotionally invested in “The Last of Us.” So far in the series, we have seen and experienced emotions so real that their world does not seem to be a fantasy any longer. From love to friendships to parental bonds, death, and betrayal, we have seen it all. However, one emotion is dominant in the series, and that is “fear.” We have seen the fear of the most primitive type, not just that the directors and the makers of the show have given us the taste of several fears that we did not think was possible for us to feel in a particular series. Furthermore, the element of fear is so intriguing and so well-knit with the plot that we cannot pick anyone and term it as the “worst fear.” Often, this particle element has made us question our existence. What are we most afraid of in this life (even more than death)? The answer is simple: we don’t want to be left alone. The only fear that drives anyone crazy is the “Fear of Separation”—the fear that has been the driving force of episodes 6 and 7 of the series “The Last of Us.”

Spoilers Ahead

Reconciling With Family

Joel’s journey since the beginning of the episode has been to find his brother Tommy. The sixth episode begins with Joel and Ellie traveling the path less traveled and being confronted by a group of strangers. Of course, you would be panicked, for they had hunter dogs who would sense the infected and bite them off. Ellie was previously caught on the machine as infected; thus, while the dogs approached her, for a second, our heartbeat stopped. It was like a summertime cocktail to see the dogs playing with Ellie. The duo (Joel and Ellie) were brought to a settlement, an infection-free place where you have everything. It is where Joel finally meets his brother Tommy. The warm welcome and the heartfelt moment that we expected were shattered.

Tommy had been through rough patches but managed to find a home away from home among this group of people on the other side of the “river of the dead.” This new group has a very different concept of growth and sustenance. They do not want to fight; they have developed everything they need to grow and prosper. Joel and Ellie were quick to pick up the vibe that they didn’t belong there. But they were asked to stay and be a part of the community. Joel knew it was beyond his means to stay, but he wanted Ellie to stay back in a safe environment. Finding out Tommy and Maria (his partner) were expecting, Joel was sure he would no longer like his brother to come along with him. We are sure once again that Joel’s wound of losing his child is still very fresh, and he doesn’t want to meddle with it. However, he shares Ellie’s condition with Tommy, and he agrees to escort her to the Fireflies compound at the University of Eastern Colorado.

Not A Blood-Bound Bond!

When Ellie came to know about Joel’s daughter from Maria, Ellie was hurt. Her expression changed. However, she never imagined Joel would ask someone else to take care of her. Even though Joel had called Ellie “cargo,” Ellie knew in her heart that Joel cared for her. So, when she learned what Joel had planned for her, she was angry and started crying. Finally, we see Joel come back to take Ellie; perhaps he didn’t want to leave behind the girl who trusted him so much, or he just wanted to find another way to connect with his lost daughter. Ellie’s love and trust for Joel had been reverberating for a long time, and towards the end of the fifth episode, we saw glimpses of Joel’s affection too. The duo set out on their journey happily.

Pain Strikes Again!

Joel and Ellie hardly had happiness staying with them; undoubtedly, it is the hard time that has brought them closer. We know very little of Ellie’s past, but we can pretty much be sure that she never had someone as loving and caring as Joel, no matter how much he showed tough love. On the other hand, we are aware of Joel’s situation. The loss of  his daughter has shaken him, and he chooses to bury the pain deep inside. But, ever since he was solely responsible for Ellie, we have seen Joel opening up and being more human. The duo is like moths that are drawn to flames. Joel and Ellie were hurt in an ambush. Even though they could escape, Joel was severely wounded. He fell off the horse, and we see Ellie’s desperate cries for help and her begging Joel to stay with her.

As the episode ends, we are broken. The anticipation of what would come next is unthinkable. However, we see how strongly Ellie is affected by the separation from the man she met about three months ago. Will Ellie lose Joel? The next episode will probably answer that. Also, do remember that Ellie said that she did hurt someone before. Was that her first experience with separation? A lot of questions will hover over you as the fear of separation creeps deeper into you.


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