Title: The Last of Us S1.E04 “Please Hold To My Hand”
Released: 2023
Series:  The Last of Us

Previously: Joel and Ellie got a truck and stocked up on supplies; BILL + FRANK 4EVA.

Last week, Stephanie asked what was my favourite Bill and Frank moment. Of all the GIFs and fan art that I’ve seen so far, there hasn’t been enough love for the first dinner: Bill bursting through the door with excitement and nervousness, and the little spin of the plate after he sets it down for Frank — which he does again in the last dinner, and I like to imagine in all the dinners in between. (EDIT: I finally found the GIFs!)

And, of course, last night, this happened (and I choose to believe that Steph and I inceptioned it):

Anyway, onto the recap!

From Kansas to Captive

En route to Wyoming to find Tommy and the Fireflies, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) pass through Kansas City, which seems to be abandoned by FEDRA — but not by everyone.

Led by a woman named Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey), these survivors are in charge of the city, and they seem to want revenge against anyone who cooperated with FEDRA. Kathleen is hellbent on killing someone named Henry, but the closest she get is finding a recent hideout.

Joel and Ellie get ambushed by a small group from Kathleen’s crew, with Ellie saving Joel’s life, and they evade a city-wide search that their presence has set off. On their way to a high vantage point to scope out their escape, Joel and Ellie rest for the night… only to be awaken at gunpoint by a couple of kids.

Best Joel/Ellie Moment

After trying joke after joke from No Pun Intended: Volume Too by Will Livingston, Ellie finally gets Joel to crack up! It’s so nice to see him smile.

Survivor of the Week

We didn’t get much of Kathleen, but if the option is available, I’m obviously going with MELANIE FUCKING LYNSKEY. Her character seems like an extreme example of how much an apocalypse can change a person, so I’d be interested to learn how she got to HERE.

Dr: Edelstein: “They put a gun to my head.”

Kathleen: [points a gun at him] “There. Have I satisfied the necessary conditions for you to talk?”

(Not the only Melanie Lynskey character to have gone through a dramatic and traumatic transformation, as any Yellowjackets fan could tell you!)

Beware, the people on Kathleen’s shit list:

  • The Bergquists
  • Mark Anthony Halpin
  • Carrie Schreiber
  • The Chans
  • Henry Burrell

Pour One Out For…

Slim pickings,* so I’ll go with Bryan. Maybe he was setting up a trap, but his fear did seem sincere. (Although the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.) The bravado when he had the upper hand instantly disappeared, and it seemed like he was in way over his head — especially with him crying for his mother.

* Why am I saying this like it’s a bad thing?

Best Time To Cover Your Eyes

No cordyceps action (THANK GOODNESS), so I guess my biggest source of horror was Joel and Ellie roughing it in the woods with 20-year-old Chef Boyardee. Also, was there no tent in Bill’s survival bunker?

We Must Adapt To Survive

Here’s Stephanie with her adaptation thoughts!

• “Why are the pages sticking together?” I love that they kept this entire exchange from the game, and I feel like it hits even better now that we know Bill and Frank better (whose magazine do you think it was?).

• The joke book got its day in the sun, and the cover is even exactly the same with the little duck!

• Joel boosting Ellie through the hole to go unlock the door and them struggling with it was hilarious because (of course) the game mechanic always makes it look so easy as people casually pull or toss each other up and around obstacles.

• It’s more of a thing in the second game, but it’s both amusing and disturbing that when an enemy is shot and their compatriot notices, they yell out something like, “Oh my god, they got Karen!” or “Noo! Carl!” and that they’re utilizing this here. They also made the moment where Ellie has to save Joel way more intense and uncomfortable with him begging for his life.

• Jeffrey Pierce, who is playing the foot soldier working with Kathleen, voices Tommy in the games, so it was neat to see him pop up in a new role. This is the perfect place to expand upon the game lore since we don’t really know or care about the inner lives of these Kansas City raiders, but this whole segment (that was formerly set in Pittsburgh AKA one of the game parts I enjoyed a lot) was very action heavy so it needed something more. We don’t get a lot of game backstory for Henry and Sam so I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do!

Graffiti On The Wall

  • “I made a promise to Tess. And she was like family. ” Like family, Joel?!??! Even in death, Tess can’t catch a break.

  • Is there still running water in Kansas City? Because everyone looks pretty clean.

  • For a major city with no quarantine zone, Kansas City seems to have no zombies. (Although that might be about to change, with the floor caving in that had Kathleen spooked.)

  • If the episode started right after Joel and Ellie left Bill and Frank’s town, then it’s only been like 4 days in the present timeline? (Unless the show skipped over time, the characters have only gone to sleep and woken up 3 times so far.)

  • Because I have no sense of U.S. geography, I made a map.

  • Things to ponder for next week: Stephanie, what would be your canned food of choice in the cordyceps apocalypse?

What did y’all think of the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments! (Pro-tip: the next episode will be dropping early on demand.)


Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.