'The Last of Us' Episode 4 recap: 'Yellowjackets' star Melanie Lynskey joins as an imposing leader

The episode of the hit HBO show, titled Please Hold My Hand, puts Joel and Ellie directly in the line of fire

Melanie Lynskey in The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)
Melanie Lynskey in The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Coming off of the emotional rollercoaster that was Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett's episode of The Last of Us, another famed actor has joined the fold in Episode 4, Yellowjackets star Melanie Lynskey.

The star-studded cast of the HBO show keeps growing as Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) continue their journey to Wyoming.

While some episodes are emotional and shocking, think of Episode 4 as an opportunity to get more backstory and introduce a new sets of threats for Joel and Ellie. But with a massive cliffhanger.

Here's everything you need to know from Episode 4 of HBO's The Last of Us (spoilers ahead):

You'll remember in Episode 3 of the series that just as Joel and Ellie were leaving Bill and Frank's home, Ellie took a gun with her, putting it in her backpack. At the beginning of Episode 4, Ellie is holding the gun up to a mirror in the bathroom of an abandoned gas station, mimicking the act of shooting it (some foreshadowing for later in the episode).

Getting back to Joel, Ellie starts on the pattern of telling Joel jokes she reads out of a book she acquired called "No Pun Intended: Volume Too" by Will Livingston. We'll find out more about how she got the book and why it's important in a later episode.

"It doesn’t matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationary," Ellie reads to Joel.

As "Alone and Forsaken" by Hank Williams plays, the pair continue on their journey but eventually have to take a break in the woods. While eating 20-year-old cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli, which apparently still hold up, Joel's plan is to drive all day and night after this evening, getting to Wyoming the following morning.

When Ellie asks if they can start a fire to keep warm, Joel says no because they'll be in danger if anyone knows where they are. As they get into sleeping bags they got from Bill and Frank's home, Ellie asks if someone is going to find them.

"No one's going to find us," Joel responds. Instead of actually sleeping, we see Joel standing, keeping watch of the area while Ellie sleeps.

It's at this point in the story that you really start to see the evolution of this relationship. While Joel is still adamant that Ellie is just "cargo," you can tell she's starting to be much more important to him.

Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us Episode 4 (Liane Hentscher/HBO)
Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us Episode 4 (Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Why Tommy and Joel have been separated

As they get back on the road the next morning, Joel made some coffee he got from Bill and Frank's house, but it's also a reminder that Ellie has a limited understanding of the pre-Cordyceps world.

"Is that seriously what those Starbucks in the QZ used to sell?" Ellie said. "It smells like burnt sh-t.”

Joel tells Elle more about his brother, who he last had contact with from a tower in Cody, Wyoming.

“Tommy’s what we call a joiner, dreams of becoming a hero," Joel says. "So he enlists in the army right out of high school, a few months later they ship him off to Desert Storm … Being in the army didn’t make him feel much like a hero."

"Cut to 12 years later, outbreak happens, he convinces me to join a group making their way up to Boston, which I did, mostly to keep an eye on him, keep him alive. That’s where we met Tess. ... Tommy meets Marlene, she talks him into joining the Fireflies. Same mistake he made when he was 18. He wants to save the world. ... Fireflies all of them, delusional. Of course, last I heard he quit the Fireflies too. So now he’s on his own out there and I gotta go get him.”

Ellie responds to his story by saying, "If you don’t think there’s hope for the world, why bother going on?s”

Joel says that you have to keep going for "family." Ellie points out that she isn't family but he's still taking the time to get her to the lab working on a cure.

"I made a promise to Tess and she was like family," Joel says.

Joel and Ellie get to Kansas City, Missouri, but the road is blocked by abandoned cars and trucks, which causes them to go through the city to get back to the highway. They see someone hurt, asking for help, and then Joel and Ellie's truck gets ambushed by shooters.

The truck smashes into an abandoned laundromat and Joel tells Ellie to crawl through a hole a wall to stay safe. Joel kills two of the shooters but a third, Brian, is able to pin him down on the ground. Just as Joel is suffocating, Ellie comes out, holding the gun she had in her backpack, and shoots him. Joel takes the gun from her, tells her to go back to the other side of the wall, and Joel kills him, while Ellie starts crying.

Melanie Lynskey in The Last of Us Episode 4 (Liane Hentscher/HBO)
Melanie Lynskey in The Last of Us Episode 4 (Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Leader of the revolutionary movement

Finally, we get to meet Lynskey's character Kathleen, the leader of the revolutionary movement in Kansas City. For fans who know about the game, Kathleen is the leader to the hunters. While she's introduced in Episode 4, her story becomes a lot more clear in Episode 5. Think of Episode 4 as more of an appetizer to her story.

When we first see Kathleen, she's questioning an older man, her doctor, in a holding cell. She asks where someone named Henry is (more about him in the following episode). The doctor says that she's been wronged, referencing her brother's death, but says she has to stop.

“It has to stop now, you mean. Now that you’re in the cell," Kathleen says. "But before, people dying was OK, when you were safe and protected and ratting on your neighbours to FEDRA.”

The doctor says he never said anything about her brother, but Kathleen stresses that Henry did, and she wants her doctor to tell her where Henry is right now.

Kathleen then goes outside and sees the bodies of the people Joel killed. She thinks they were outsiders that Henry called to kill people in Kansas City.

“This is Henry’s works ... and he won’t stop until we stop him," Kathleen says to fellow Hunter Perry (Jeffrey Pierce). "Find who did this. Find every collaborator and kill them all.”

Perry takes Kathleen to a multi-story building, into an attic area that has a number of drawings, seemingly done by a child. They are drawings of a superhero saving people. There are also a number of empty cans of food.

“They’re out of food, Henry won’t let Sam starve … He’s f-cking close, I can feel it," Kathleen says.

Kathleen and Perry walk into a different room that has something moving below cracks in the ground. Kathleen tells Perry to just close off the building while they try to find Henry.

Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)
Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Joel and Ellie are hiding from the hunters in an abandoned bar. While they wait for the roads to clear to make their escape, Joel asks if Ellie's OK.

“You’re just a kid," Joel says. “I know what it’s like, the first time you hurt someone like that. … It was my fault, you shouldn’t have had to and I’m sorry.”

“It wasn’t my first time,” Ellie says, starting to cry.

They find a 33-floor building to sleep in for the night. Ellie asks Joel if he's ever killed innocent people, he doesn't respond but says that he did what he needed to survive.

“Joel, did you know diarrhoea is hereditary? Yeah, it runs in your 'jeans,'" Ellie says, pulling from her puns book, as they both start giggling together as they fall asleep.

Joel wakes up to Ellie calling his name, there's a man with a gun pointed at her head, and a child has a gun pointed at Joel. The child puts his finger up to his mouth, indicating that he wants Joel to stay quiet, and that sets us up for Episode 5.