PM @ TILT: The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 6 Review – “Kin”
The Last of Us has made no qualms about its ethos; find someone to love, and cling to them with every single goddamn fiber of your being. Set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world, it becomes a very bleak, unsubtle message, this idea of love being both a finite resource and the only thing really worth living for. Through the lens of its first five episodes, the results are decidedly depressing – which is what makes the snow globe of Jackson such a fascinating setting for “Kin,” an hour that’s hardly as low-key or quiet as I’d imagine most are describing it today.
Though the familiar explosions of anxious gunfire are absent from the episode’s first 55 minutes, “Kin” is as loud as any of the series’ first half-dozen hours, trading in bullets and gunpowder for feelings as Joel and Ellie step into a magical snow globe in the Colorado mountains. The setting alone is a massive shock; with the veneer of constant danger noticeably absent inside Jackson (one telling sign: there isn’t a group of people walking around in full body armor at all times), “Kin” immediately establishes a different audio/visual texture (directed by Jasmila Žbanić, in her American TV debut), one it uses to full advantage to look inward, which in turns makes it a very tonally unique hour of the series.