‘The Last Of Us’ Episode 5: Easter Eggs, Video Game Differences And Similarities, Explained

With the fifth episode of HBO’s “The Last of Us” dropping today instead of on Sunday as usual, fans of the series couldn’t be more excited. The last we had seen of Joel and Ellie, they were awoken at gunpoint by a man and a kid while hiding out in Kansas City. The two intruders are Henry and Sam, brothers who will be the companions to the surrogate dad-daughter duo for Episode 5. Like always, this episode also had a few differences from the source material, the 2013 game by Naughty Dog with the same name. Although showrunner Craig Mazin made some changes to his story, it has stayed true to its month-long tradition and delivered yet another fantastic episode. Let’s look at all the differences we could spot in this episode, along with the similarities and Easter eggs.

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The biggest creative liberty that HBO takes from the game is giving a face to the Hunters that Joel and Ellie encounter in the city. Apart from changing teh setting from Pittsburgh to Kansas, the episode opens with a flashback of the FEDRA being overthrown and the military being brutalized and strung up by the neck by the Hunters. In the game, we see several pieces of graffiti on the wall where the evils of FEDRA are complained about, but the show makes the raiders look no beter than their evil counterparts as they create chaos and lynch unarmed military. We get the backstory of Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam (Keivonn Woodard) and how Dr. Edelstein, the elderly doctor Kathleen executed in Episode 4, helps them find a safe space. The face of the resistance, Kathleen, instigates the captives to ask for information on Henry because he gave up her brother to FEDRA and asks her men to slaughter them afterward. This entire section is created for the show, where we met the brothers when Henry jumped Joel out of nowhere, as contrasted by the game, which didn’t discern any particular leader. However, we only have Craig Mazin to thank for the direction he took with the show because knowing about the target Henry has on his back, and the bond he shares with his brother makes it all the more endearing to watch.

In the game, Sam was a 13-year-old teenager who was at the age when kids disagreed with their primary caregivers, so we often saw him arguing with Henry, who was a lot curter with his teenage brother at times. To make us get further attached to the two brothers, Sam is made to be an 8-year-old deaf child who uses a toy similar to an Etch-a-Sketch, but it’s actually a magic slate paper saver that has its roots in 1923. While Henry is fluent in ASL, Sam needs the slate to communicate with those who don’t know sign language. Henry is almost never curt with the kid and tries his best to shield him from the horrors the world has to offer.

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Even after meeting up with Joel and Ellie, the actions of Henry and Sam are different than what we saw in the game. In the 2013 action/adventure game, while fleeing together, when the Hunters come upon the group, Henry escapes with Sam, leaving Joel and Ellie high and dry to fend off the attackers. Joel almost drowns when they have to jump off a bridge into the lake below to escape an armored car but is saved by Henry. The elder brother excuses himself by saying he is doing everything in his power to save his brother, who is his first priority. In fact, the in-game Henry was far more selfish than the one we met in the show. Lamar Johnson’s Henry instead offers Joel and Ellie the escape route out of Kansas through the tunnels that will spit them out from under Kathleen’s thumb. 

Once inside the tunnels, we see the drawings that the kids who lived inside the tunnels as part of the community once created on the walls. Did you notice the piece of paper stuck to a wall with two men, titled “Our Protectors?” It’s a direct reference to an identical drawing that we had found inside the tunnels, made by one of the kids. Although the group encounters infected inside the tunnels in the game, Joel and Henry can sit down to talk for a bit while Ellie and Sam play football in the show. This makes the tunnels one of the few safe spots where the group can rest before the terrors of a zombie-infested world are unleashed upon them. Interestingly, Ellie finds a comic book inside the playroom in the episode that includes the words “Endure and Survive,” and Sam teaches her the sign language for the phrase. Apart from being the name of the episode, “Endure and Survive” is also a reference to a comic book Ellie reads inside Bill’s truck in the game. Although Joel doesn’t scavenge comics in the show as he did in the game, Ellie still loves the books, and she even has a few issues. While Sam wanted a robot that he liked in the game, he and Ellie share a mutual passion for comics in the show.

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When the group comes out into the open and starts making their way down the deserted street, they’re shot at by a sniper. This has been taken from the game, where Joel sneaks away to flank the sniper while the others wait. However, the sniper had already called in reinforcements before Joel got to him, and Kathleen arrived with all her armed soldiers and an armored car to clear the path. While there is a shoot-out in the game where Joel has to clear the path for the other three as the Hunters and the infected pounce on them, the show takes a different route. Joel shoots the driver of the armored car, which crashes into a house, and as Kathleen has cornered Henry with nowhere else to go, the armored car sinks into the earth and a horde of infected launch themselves on the army. If the swarm wasn’t enough, we’re introduced to the monstrosity of a bloater that can kill people with one swing of its arms, and seems to be all but impervious to bullets. While Joel had encountered Bloaters previously in the game, this was the first time the characters witnessed one in the show.

Having escaped from the Hunters as well as the infected, Joel, Ellie, Sam, and Henry find a motel to spend the night at, and the show does immense justice to the source material with minor differences. While Joel and Henry have a heart-to-heart and finally see eye-to-eye, Ellie reads a comic book to Sam at night before they exchange words using the kid’s magic slate. Sam asks her if people still maintain their humanity after turning, the same as he did in the game, and then proceeds to show Ellie the wound where he was bitten in the leg. Ellie is surprised but doesn’t make a scene; instead, she says that her blood has cure properties and proceeds to slice her palms and rub her blood on his wound. This has been done exclusively for the show to give Ellie a lot more personality and show that she truly believes that she’ll be the cure for saving humanity. Sam asks her to stay awake with him so that he doesn’t turn, and she promises to. In the game, Ellie had slept outside after giving him the robot he wanted to play with, which he tossed away and stared at his leg wound. Bella Ramsey’s Ellie wakes up to find Sam’s back turned to her, and when she approaches him, he immediately attacks her, and they crash through the door, waking up both Joel and Henry. From this point on, it’s exactly like in the game, right to the point where Henry blows his brains out after killing Sam, although he doesn’t blame anyone, unlike in the game. 

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There’s an added scene in the episode where Joel digs two graves for the brothers outside the motel and Ellie leaves Sam’s slate with the words “I’m Sorry” scribbled on the smaller mound of the two before leaving. It’s possible that she apologized either for falling asleep in the night or because her blood was unable to save the kid, with whom she had been able to be a kid again after a long time.


See more: How Did Kathleen’s Character In ‘The Last Of Us’ Symbolize That Humans Are Worse Than The Infected?


Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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