The Last of Us episode 6 recap: brothers reunited

Tommy (Gabriel Luna) standing at the bar in The Last Of Us episode 6
Joel manages to meet up with Tommy after all this time. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

NOTE: this article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 6, "Kin".

In The Last of Us' sixth episode, Joel and Ellie (Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey) finally meet up with Tommy (Gabriel Luna). Months after surviving their ordeal in Kansas City in episode 5 and losing two temporary allies—Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam (Keivonn Woodard)— our two travelers have been on the road for three months.

Having evaded one group of dangerous survivors in pursuit of Tommy's last known location, Joel and Ellie forge new friendships and face new foes as they try to link up with the Fireflies. Here's what went down in The Last Of Us episode 6.

Crossing the river 

Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) rest by a campfire in The Last Of Us episode 6.

Joel doesn't like it when Ellie is forced to keep watch one night. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

We join Joel and Ellie three months down the road. The pair came across an isolated cabin and ask a trapper (with his wife held hostage) for advice on the best way west.

The trapper tells him to return east, and to never cross the river, as that part of the country is simply too dangerous… which is exactly where they're meant to be going. During the travels, Joel falls asleep on his watch, and he tells Ellie she should always wake him up if it happens again. They eventually come across a hydroelectric dam as they cross the “river of death”... and soon come across a group of survivors on horseback who encircle them. 

Joel tenses as they set a sniffer dog on him and Ellie to detect if they’re infected, though the dog picks nothing up on her. After he reveals he’s looking for his brother, one of the female riders asks Joel for his name, and they take him to an isolated homestead, where he’s finally reunited with Tommy.

Family reunion

Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) sitting at a dinner in The Last Of Us episode 6

Ellie doesn't immediately take to being part of a community of survivors. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Joel and Ellie are fed and clothed by the survivors, though Ellie keeps her guard up around everyone else. Maria (the rider who brought them to town) takes her off to a house whilst Tommy and Joel grab a drink.

After they exchange niceties, and Joel tells him that Tess is still fine, he asks about the journey to Colorado, where the Fireflies might be. Joel tells his brother that he’s bringing Ellie to her family, and that’s why he wants to go to their settlement.

Tommy tells him that the whole journey is fraught with danger, and the conversation sours as Joel asks Tommy to come with him to Colorado. Joel presses him, asking if ‘his wife’ won’t let him go, and then he goes in on why he kept off the radio. Tommy reveals Maria and her crew took Tommy in after he abandoned the Fireflies, and they asked him to follow his rules and not to speak to the outside world to avoid drawing new survivors to the place.

Tommy also tells Joel he won’t be coming along to Colorado as he and Maria are expecting a daughter, causing even more friction between them. After Tommy tells him “just because life stopped for you, doesn’t mean it has to stop for me”, Joel tells him they’ll resupply on be on their way in the morning. Outside the bar, he has what looks like a panic attack.

Whilst they chat, Maria brings Ellie some warmer clothes and a sanitary cup, and the pair discuss the journey here and Joel’s true nature. While Maria gives her a haircut, Ellie learns that Joel had a daughter. Maria warns Ellie to keep her wits about her and be careful who she trusts.

Tommy steps up

Joel (Pedro Pascal) looks up at Tommy in The Last Of Us episode 6.

Joel reveals why he's really traveling across the country. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Tommy finds Joel trying to fix his boots in the town workshop and gives him a fresh pair as a peace offering as he starts to apologize for what he said. Focused on the road ahead, Joel asks if the journey to Colorado is going to be a “suicide mission”, and if others have gone that way and returned, before revealing that Ellie is immune to the infection.

Spurred on by this revelation, Tommy asks for the full story of their journey so far. Once it comes to the Kansas City portion, Joel starts opening up to Tommy about his fears of losing his touch, and he fears that he can’t protect her. Ultimately, he wants Tommy to take responsibility for Ellie, as he thinks Tommy's a stronger and safer option. 

Armed with this info, Tommy is convinced to take her away at dawn the following morning. Joel seeks out Ellie. She’d overheard their conversation about Joel “ditching” her already, and isn’t interested in what he’s got to say. He tells her the decision to leave her with Tommy is a better decision for her, but she challenges him.

When she brings up not being like his daughter, Sarah, Joel grows even colder. “You have no idea what loss is”, he says, but she retorts with the fact that Joel is the only person she’s ever cared for who hasn’t either died or left. Joel leaves her with the news that they’ll be going their separate ways come dawn.


Tommy (Gabriel Luna) embraces Joel (Pedro Pascal).

Joel decides against leaving Ellie behind. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

The next day, Tommy comes to get Ellie. He brings her to the town stable, where Joel is waiting for them. He reveals that he’d planned to steal one of the horses to leave about 30 minutes ago, but he decided that Ellie “deserved a choice” for who she wanted to travel with.

Ellie opts to go with Joel before he can even finish his sentence, so they saddle up and prepare to ride for Colorado. Before they leave, Tommy tells them there’s a place for both of them in their community, should they wish to stay.

Eventually, Joel and Ellie reach their destination after five easy days of traveling, though they don’t see any signs of the Fireflies outside town and begin exploring the abandoned university campus until they spot the Firefly symbol painted on a sign pointing to the Biomedical Sciences Building.

"Guard station, no guards"

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in cold weather gear in The Last Of Us episode 6.

Joel and Ellie come across some new foes in Colorado. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

There are sandbag encampments built up around the entrance to the building, so the pair enter the department with their pistols in hand. Inside, they find signs of activity and medical testing, though the labs have clearly been abandoned.

Joel finds a packing list that reveals the Fireflies had packed up and retreated from the area, and then they hear something upstairs. After tracking the sound up to another room, they find monkeys, but no infected or Fireflies.

In this other room, there’s a map on a corkboard with pins pointing toward Salt Lake City in Utah. At this point, they spot a patrol of scavengers outside the building, and try to make their escape. Joel and Ellie make it to their horse, but come under attack as they prepare to saddle up. 

One of the gang swings his baseball bat at Joel, misses, and snaps it against a tree. Joel grapples him and eventually snaps his neck, but when he turns back to Ellie, she spots a piece of the broken handle sticking out from his stomach. As the rest of the gang runs up on them, Joel manages to climb on the horse and start riding away whilst Ellie shoots at them. 

Joel and Ellie give the goons the slip, but some ways down the road they hit some train tracks and Joel falls from their horse, unconscious.  Ellie rushes to his side, puts some pressure on the wound and begs him to come around, but she can’t seem to rouse him.

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 was a Staff Writer with, where he produced a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. Now he works for our sister site Tom's Guide in the same role.

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.