The Last of Us episode 4 recap: Heading west

Joel and Ellie sitting in a room together mid-conversation in The Last Of Us episode 4
(Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for The Last Of Us episode 4.

The Last Of Us has already featured plenty of danger and more than its fair share of trouble. Joel and Ellie (Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey) might have scraped by so far, but their escape from the QZ in episode 1, his smuggling partner Tess's (Anna Torv) heroic sacrifice in episode 2, and the discovery that his associates, Bill and Frank, had died by suicide in episode 3 show that life post-apocalypse is anything but fraught with problems. 

Having stocked up with provisions in Lincoln, our leads have hit the road once again, in search of Tommy, with the hope that he'll be able to point them in the direction of the Firefly facility Marlene mentioned way back in Boston. 

Ellie might not be too worried about succumbing to the cordyceps infection since she's immune. However, if she wasn't already wary of strangers, she's about to learn just how dangerous crossing paths with less friendly survivors can be. 

Here's what went down in The Last Of Us episode 4.

On the road again

We join Joel and Ellie at a truck stop; whilst Joel is siphoning gas, she’s messing around with the pistol she took from Bill and Frank’s home. They have a little back and forth, and Ellie shares a choice joke from a book she’s been carrying around.

Once they’re fuelled up, the pair set off with Joel behind the wheel and Ellie on map-reading duty. After a long day’s drive, they pull off the road into the woods and set up camp for the night. Ellie asks to start a fire to keep them warm, but Joel warns her off as the smoke might attract other survivors... survivors he says won’t be very friendly. Whilst she drifts off to sleep, we see Joel keeping watch, armed with his rifle.

The next morning, the duo continues West; en route, they discuss Tommy and his past. Joel says he joined the group they both traveled with that went to the Boston QZ mostly to keep watch over his little brother as he has a tendency to want to be a hero (hence why he joined up with the Fireflies.


Whilst trying to circumnavigate a blocked underpass, Joel and Ellie are forced into the backstreets of a city and note a QZ which has seemingly been abandoned by FEDRA. Whilst Joel’s frantically trying to get them back to the main road, they come across a survivor begging for help. Ellie asks if they’re going to assist him, but Joel refuses and tries to drive away.

His suspicions are proven good, as our two stars soon come under attack from a gang of fellow survivors. As they try to evade them, the truck runs over a trap that bursts the tires and sends them crashing into a laundromat. Hunkered down behind the truck, Joel orders Ellie to take cover behind a ruined wall whilst he fends them off with his rifle.

After the shooting stops, Joel is blindsided by one of them wielding a shotgun. The survivor gets the upper hand and starts to choke him out, so Ellie rushes out from the wall and shoots him with her hidden pistol. Bleeding out, the survivor reveals he’s called Bryan and begs for his life and mentions a group of people who he could trade with; Joel orders Ellie back behind the wall, and he finishes Bryan off with the knife he’d offered up whilst he was bargaining for his life. Joel tells Ellie they need to head upwards, to try and spot a clear route out of the city, and fast. 

 Who’s Henry? 

Kathleen (Melane Lynskey) standing in a FEDRA container, mid-interrogation in The Last Of Us episode 4

You clearly shouldn't cross Kathleen. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/ HBO)

We jump to Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey), a survivor who heads up a group of fellow humans. She’s interrogating a doctor at gunpoint and is demanding to know where a man called Henry has gone, but he doesn’t offer up any valuable info.

Kathleen is called away by Perry (Jeffrey Pierce) and his crew to the body of Bryan. When it’s clear no doctor could help him, she walks back into the building, shoots the doctor, then returns to her people and swears that Bryan’s death was Henry’s doing and that they must find him. Henry—and anyone who assists him—are clearly not long for this world. Her troops roll out and start exploring the city, busting into sealed buildings and searching for any trace of him.

Joel and Ellie are hiding out in a building, watching the search. Here, we can see their bond is starting to form, as he worries that she’s too young to understand what it’s like to shoot someone. When she swears it wasn’t her first time doing so, he returns the pistol to her and teachers Ellie how to grip it properly. 

Joel (Pedro Pascal) peers through a window covered in newspaper in The Last Of Us episode 4

Joel and Ellie hiding from Kathleen's crew. (Image credit: HBO)

Moving on up

We cut back to Kathleen and Jeffrey, as they’ve found a trace of Henry’s whereabouts. One of their men found some children’s drawings and empty cans of food in an attic in one of the buildings. Emboldened by this evidence, Kathleen orders the guard around the group’s provisions doubled, believing Henry to finally be out of food for himself and his son.

In the same building, they find a storage room that has a large crater in the floor which is…moving. Perry and Kathleen quickly leave the room, and she orders that the place be sealed off for now whilst they deal with the Henry situation.

Joel and Ellie searching an abandoned garage with their flashlights in The Last Of Us

Joel and Ellie prepare for a big climb. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Meanwhile, Joel and Ellie are on the move again. They start climbing flights of stairs in the tall building Ellie spotted earlier in the day, with the view of scanning the city in the morning. During the walk, they start chatting about Joel’s background with Tess and Tommy, and he reveals he knows these people are dangerous as he’s “been on both sides” during his life and potentially harmed innocent people to survive. 

After climbing 33 floors (out of the 45 they wanted to climb), Joel and Ellie bed down for the night in a side room. He leaves out a trail of broken glass so that they aren't ambushed that evening (Ellie specifically asks if he'll hear it). As they settle in, the duo continues to open up to one another just a little bit more. As a sign of that growing bond, Joel finally laughs at one of her dumb jokes.

Their sleep in the stairwell is rudely interrupted. Ellie shouts Joel awake; she’s on her knees with a gun to her head, and Joel finds himself staring down the barrel of a gun wielded by a young boy. Turns out he didn't hear the broken glass after all...

New episodes of The Last of Us premiere every Sunday on HBO/HBO Max in the US; Mondays on Sky TV's Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK.

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Martin Shore
Staff Writer at

Martin is a Staff Writer with, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.