Survive the end days review


This discussion and đánh giá contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 5, “Endure và Survive.”

There is something to lớn be said for a nice visual metaphor. There is also something khổng lồ be said for structuring an episode to over with a nice visual metaphor that neatly mirrors its opening scenes.

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As one might expect from a show largely written by Craig Mazin, the showrunner responsible for Chernobyl, there is a literary quality to The Last of Us. It is a show that is structured very deliberately and very carefully, with its supernatural elements structured as mirrors lớn its central driving themes. Despite its epic sweep và impressive scope, Mazin ensures that The Last of Us always remains intimate, a hall of mirrors reflecting back on Joel (Pedro Pascal) & Ellie (Bella Ramsey).

Of course, that’s not lớn suggest that The Last of Us can’t deliver in terms of spectacle. “Endure and Survive” is likely the most expensive episode of the season since the premiere & a testament khổng lồ the money that HBO has invested in the show. It is largely mix within a post-apocalyptic city. It opens with footage of a revolution, crowds engaged in violence và horror. It then builds khổng lồ the largest showcase the series has offered to date for its infected, offering hordes of monsters swarming a small army.

“Endure và Survive” feels like a showcase for The Last of Us. Lượt thích the earlier episodes of the season, it’s running through a checklist of what audiences likely expect from a show phối amid the zombie apocalypse: militias, gunfights, zombie attacks, violence, horror. However, as with “Please Hold to My Hand,” “Endure & Survive” is a little more elegant in how it deploys these tropes than “When You’re Lost in the Darkness” and “Infected” are. To bring it back lớn the show’s creative lineage, “Endure & Survive” is surprisingly literary.

It opens with depictions of a violent uprising in Kansas City, as the local population turns on FEDRA. The crowd chants “freedom” as the đô thị descends into anarchy, a sequence with an inevitable and uncomfortable resonance after these past few years, even if FEDRA is an institution that deserved lớn be toppled. However, the episode builds khổng lồ another more literal form of uprising at the climax, as sinkholes xuất hiện up the “maintenance tunnels” beneath the city, và the infected swarm out.


Zombies represent many different things, but they tap into the fear held by many people that there will come a reckoning for the established order, that groups of dehumanized individuals will eventually rise up lớn consume those who built a world atop them. This subtext continues through to the modern day. It plays out in The Girl with All the Gifts, a novel released the year after The Last of Us hit consoles. It’s a subtext especially apparent in the racebending in the cinematic adaptation.

“Endure and Survive” makes it clear that Mazin understands the zombie genre beyond its surface trappings. He understands the fears that underpin it. “Endure và Survive” is built around the metaphor of the underground, with Henry leading Joel and Ellie through the tunnels beneath the city. While exploring, they find an abandoned underground community. “I heard about places lượt thích this,” Joel reflects. “People went underground after outbreak day, built settlements.” These were people literally driven underground.

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Like all good metaphors, this one works on (literally) multiple levels. It isn’t just social commentary; although it obviously exists in conversation with the genre’s history & contemporary American anxieties, it’s also a potent metaphor for the human drama that drives the show. “If you turn into a monster, is it still you inside?” Sam (Keivonn Woodard) asks Ellie, when he realizes that he has been bitten. He is talking about literally becoming a monster, but it also applies metaphorically.

The Last of Us is fascinated by the challenge of expressing humanity in a world that has become hostile to both humanity as a species and as a concept. In “Please Hold lớn My Hand,” Joel confessed to lớn Ellie that he had done terrible things in order lớn survive. When she pressed him on whether he had ever killed an innocent person, he evaded the question. “Endure & Survive” opens with the revolutionaries engaging in the same sort of violence the infected employ at the episode’s climax.


As ever, it is somewhat trite khổng lồ talk about The Last of Us as a story about parenthood, but it is the central theme of the show. Henry tries to lớn protect Sam from the horrors outside, just lượt thích Joel did with Ellie at the mass grave. “Look at me,” Henry instructs Sam. “Not that.” Later, he tells Edelstein (John Getz), “He saw a lot. Nothing I can bởi vì about that now.” Henry betrayed Michael to protect Sam, a decision that may indirectly have killed everybody in Kansas, as the infected race towards the city.

Kathleen is herself a dark mirror khổng lồ both Henry và Joel. She has already lost her son Bryan (Juan Magana) & her brother Michael. However, she’s obsessed with them even in death, khổng lồ the point that her chasing of Henry leads lớn the infected bursting out from beneath the city & prevents her from focusing on urgent priorities lượt thích the city’s rotting foundations. It’s easy lớn romanticize the idea of parents protecting their children, but The Last of Us suggests there’s something horrific as well.

“You think the whole world revolves around him?” Kathleen challenges Henry at the climax. “That he’s worth everything?” For better or worse, the answer is “yes.” That’s why Henry chose khổng lồ betray Michael to lớn save Sam, even allowing for the bitter irony that Sam ultimately doesn’t live much longer. It suggests that Joel might have to lớn make some similarly tough choices about Ellie in the future. It’s also why Henry takes his own life after he has to lớn kill an infected Sam.

Henry’s suicide by gunshot to lớn his right temple at the end of “Endure and Survive” adds some interesting subtext to lớn what we know about Joel. Joel has a scar on the right side of his forehead from a bullet wound just two days after the death of his daughter Sam (Nico Parker) and is deaf from the sound of gunshots near his right ear. Again, it’s a very clever and very literary parallel between the two men, suggesting that their journeys are more similar than they might initially appear.

“Endure and Survive” ends with Henry and Sam buried, while Joel and Ellie continue on their journey. They may stay underground, but it seems just as likely that Joel và Ellie will carry the pair with them for quite some time.