HBO’s The Last of Us departed from its usual airing schedule and released episode five a few days ahead to avoid conflicting with the Super Bowl, which typically dominates TV viewership on the second Sunday of February. This move was a wise decision, as episode five has earned the highest ratings among all the episodes in the series.
The new episode of The Last of Us television series, titled “Endure and Survive,” has achieved an impressive 9.6 rating on IMDB, surpassing the ratings for the show’s previous episodes, including the introductory episodes and the one that caused a 14% increase in viewership. In contrast, episode three, “Long, Long Time,” which explored the relationship between Bill and Frank, received a lower rating of 7.9 due to the presence of homophobic reviewers who attempted to bring down its score.
The fifth episode of the HBO drama “The Last of Us” shatters the illusion of a benevolent portrayal of America two decades after a zombie apocalypse, which some viewers might have developed from the preceding episodes. It introduces a darker and more brutal reality, making it clear that survival in this world is not guaranteed and requires tough choices and sacrifices. In this episode, titled “Endure and Survive,” the two characters of brothers Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam (Keivonn Woodard) are appropriately introduced.
While episode five of The Last of Us may be emotionally challenging to watch, it is a necessary addition to the series as it addresses a fundamental theme of the show: the lengths we are willing to go to protect those we love. Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, who created The Last of Us, emphasized the show’s exploration of the extent to which individuals can be motivated to commit heinous actions to safeguard their loved ones. The episode “Endure and Survive” is a prime example of this theme, as it highlights the consequences of prioritizing one’s family above all else.
In this episode of The Last of Us, it is unveiled that an insurrection had occurred in Kansas City, and in response, FEDRA attempted to clamp down on the instigators to assert its dominance. Henry felt it was necessary to inform FEDRA about the location of Kathleen’s brother because of the seriousness of Sam’s condition and the requirement for medication. Unfortunately, this led to the man’s demise.
Finding Henry and Sam are challenging as they are hiding in a vast city, and searching for them would require a significant number of personnel. Edelstein managed to locate a safe place for them in the attic of an apartment building, but with only 11 days’ worth of food, they could only stay there for a short time. In the meantime, Henry tries to support and reassure Sam, who, due to his deafness, finds the situation extremely frightening. Additionally, Henry motivates Sam to pass the time by engaging in his artistic abilities and encouraging him to draw.
Ten days later, Sam and Henry’s living space is filled with superhero decorations, but their circumstances remain desperate. Edelstein has not returned, and Kathleen’s team is closing in on their hideout. After seeing Joel’s successful fight, Henry decides to act and develops a new plan to approach Joel and Ellie while they sleep, hoping to convince or coerce them into allies.
Henry and Sam are currently in a concealed location, where Henry is occupying himself by sketching a superhero on his Magic Slate plaything. He comforts Sam by telling him they are safe and have nothing to be afraid of. The only issue is that the place they are staying in could be more attractive. To fix this, Henry gives Sam a big bag of crayons to decorate the walls. Sam eagerly starts drawing with the crayons, bringing some color to their surroundings.
“Endure and Survive” stands out as the sad episode of the season, despite some brief moments of tenderness and positivity, particularly in Sam and Henry’s impact on Joel and Ellie’s lives. Unfortunately, it all amounts to nothing, as Kathleen ultimately achieves her goal. In a tragic turn of events, Henry and Sam die, and Kathleen and her supporters, consumed by their desire for revenge, meet their demise gruesomely and distressingly.
In the episode “Endure and Survive,” the characters are faced with complex decisions that may be difficult to comprehend. It urges the audience to consider how they would deal with comparable choices. It is the most unhappy episode of the series to date, but it leaves an indelible impression on the audience.