The Raiders in HBO’s ‘The Last Of Us’ vs. The Game!

Episode 4 of HBO’s The Last Of Us feels like the calm before the storm. Here are the differences between the show and the source material.

The fans keep coming, and HBO’s The Last Of Us keeps delivering! 7.5 million viewers tuned in Sunday night to watch episode 4, a 50-minute wind down compared to the emotional rollercoaster that was Bill and Frank’s story last week. We’re back with Joel and Ellie driving to Wyoming in hopes of reaching Joel’s brother, Tommy. Here are the biggest differences between this segment in the game and what we saw on screen.

While in the game Joel and Ellie have only reached Pittsburgh by now, the unlikely duo find themselves in Kansas City. Between dad jokes from No Pun Intended: Volume Too and figuring out how to read maps, Ellie is learning more about the world and Joel.

Soon enough, the two encounter their next obstacle: a man begging for help on the road. Joel rightfully guesses that the man is lying and drives straight at him, only to be attacked by hidden raiders and crash Bill’s truck under a hail of gunfire.

Joel begins a fight to the death with one of the raiders, and he’s nearly on the losing end before Ellie comes out from hiding and shoots the raider in the back, paralyzing him. In the game, Ellie saves Joel in the hotel (cameoed in episode 2) by shooting his attacker in the head. In both instances, Ellie can’t immediately handle what she’s just done. She leaves the room for Joel to finish the job.

We are then introduced to a completely new face: Kathleen, the ruthless leader of the raiders, played by Melanie Lynskey. The faction is much bigger than the group Joel wipes out in the game. Like the Fireflies, the raiders were in opposition to FEDRA, the government soldiers who ran their local quarantine zone. They defeated FEDRA and took over, but their rule doesn’t seem much better than that of the ousted authoritarians.

In the game, the raiders were faceless, nameless villains for Joel to get through. Neil Druckmann explains in the Inside The Episode segment that he “loves humanizing villains” and delving into the stories of different types of survivors. This change transforms the raiders from fodder in the way of our heroes’ destination to complex antagonists we can feel empathy for. Just like Joel, they have been through hell, and just like Joel, they are willing to do anything to stay alive.

Katleen sees the damage of Joel’s retaliation and assumes it’s the work of an unseen man named Henry. She commands the group to kill everyone they find until Henry is apprehended, forcing Joel and Ellie into hiding when they hear the group start to search the city.

Kathleen has a right-hand man named Perry, played by Jeffery Pierce, Tommy’s voice actor from the game. This grizzled hunk of a man tries to advise Kathleen, showing her that something dangerous is infiltrating their home base, but she is too set on her revenge to care. This danger is most likely the Bloater we see in the trailer after the episode, and I am not prepared for that horror to be brought to the small screen.

@h6rbinger drowning in my tears #thelastofus #thelastofusepisode4 #tlou #thelastofusedit #joelmiller #elliewilliams #edit ♬ original sound – genna

We fall back into Joel and Ellie’s perspective as they climb dozens of flights of stairs so they can rest for the night. The broken glass Joel places near the door to warn them of intruders fails miserably, and he wakes up to Ellie calling his name. A man and a young boy point guns at the pair’s heads, urging them to remain quiet.

Players know these two as the aforementioned Henry, played here by Lamar Johnson, and his younger brother Sam, played by Keivonn Woodard. Woodard is playing Sam as even younger than he was in the game, which only adds to the dread game fans are feeling. The actor is also Deaf, and as a disabled person in love with this franchise, I can’t wait to see how his disability plays into his character. If the iconic post-apocalyptic survivors Connie from AMC’s The Walking Dead and Regan from A Quiet Place (2018), played by Deaf actresses Lauren Ridloff and Millicent Simmonds, respectively, tell us anything about Deafness in horror, we’re in for a treat of authentic portrayal. Knowing how Neil Druckmann handles diverse representation already, I have high hopes.


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Pushed early because of the Super Bowl, you can catch the next episode of The Last Of Us on Friday, February 10th at 9 pm ET on HBO and HBO Max.

About the Author

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Christopher Ikonomou

Christopher Ikonomou is a 4th year at the University of California, Los Angeles pursuing Communication and Disability Studies. He has a particular interest in the entertainment industry and representation of marginalized people in film and TV. On campus, he is the Editor-in-Chief at OutWrite Newsmagazine, the oldest queer college publication in the United States, and an activist with the Disabled Student Union. He’s a horror superfan and has been featured by Buzzfeed, UCLA College, Bored Panda, and Teen Vogue for his vocal involvement in the fight for better representation of the disabled community on screen and in the genre, particularly those with Marfan syndrome like himself.