The Last of Us episode 6: The biggest changes between the HBO show and the PlayStation game

Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us episode 6 doesn't so much rewrite the PlayStation game as it does reinterpret certain scenes and storylines. In some areas, it builds on the source material and in others, it cuts particular moments that co-showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann clearly thought weren't necessary. 

As we near the end of the first season, it's getting more and more crucial that the big beats play out and they do here, from Joel reuniting with his brother Tommy to Ellie and Joel's violent altercation at the University of Eastern Colorado. Below, though, we go into all the differences between 'Kin' and the Naughty Dog game.

Unsurprisingly, this article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 6, so proceed with caution if you've yet to tune in and don't want to know exactly what happens. All up to date? Let's dive in...

Joel and Ellie meet an isolated, elderly couple who tell them not to travel west

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

Having made it to the outskirts of a snow-covered Wyoming, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) stumble across the isolated home of two older survivors at the start of episode 6, titled 'Kin'. After a tense interaction with the man of the house, who returns home from hunting rabbits to find his wife (Elaine Miles) hosting these two hostile strangers, Joel asks the man (played by Dances with Wolves star Graham Greene) whether he's seen his brother Tommy and if he has any tips about travelling further west. "Go east," the man replies ominously. 

This section doesn't feature in the game at all, and is entirely new to the show. It's certainly an effective way of highlighting the dangers that await Joel and Ellie as the series continues.

There's no dam sequence in the show

Gabriel Luna as Tommy and Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

In the game, Joel reunites with Tommy near a power plant outside of Tommy's settlement, Jackson. Turns out, the commune gets its power from the plant's generator but it's broken, and a group of survivors – Tommy, his new wife Maria, and her father included – have travelled out there to try and fix it. None of this is seen in the HBO show, though the dam is mentioned a little later on in the episode.

Instead, Pascal's Joel and Ramsey's Ellie find themselves running into Maria (Rutina Wesley) and a bunch of other Jackson settlers en route to Colorado, and their introduction is a little frosty. When Joel admits he's "just looking for [his] brother", Maria's ears prick up and she asks Joel's name. When he tells her, she brings both him and Ellie back to Jackson, where the former finally catches up with Tommy (Gabriel Luna).

In the scenes that follow, we get a good look at Jackson, a key location we don't really see in the source material until The Last of Us Part 2.

Ellie doesn't run off

Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

The dam sequence isn't the only moment that wasn't adapted from game to show. In both versions of the story, Joel asks Tommy to escort Ellie the rest of the way to the Fireflies, as he doesn't think he's strong enough to make the last section of the trip. In the game, Ellie overhears Tommy telling Maria about Joel's request and in response, steals a horse and runs off to a nearby abandoned ranch. The ranch is then where the famous "You have no idea what loss is" scene takes place.

In the HBO series, Ellie overhears Joel asking Tommy directly and simply skulks off to her new temporary room in the house opposite Tommy and Maria's. When Joel confronts her, the sequence plays out much the same as it does in the game, though here, of course, the twosome don't get interrupted by Tommy and a bunch of bandits. 

Shimmer's introduction

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

As Joel and Ellie are being shown around Jackson by Maria and Tommy, they come across the stables and more specifically Shimmer, a horse with a white stripe down her nose. Shimmer doesn't actually appear in the first The Last of Us game, interestingly, but she plays a significant role in Part 2, accompanying Ellie, her owner, Dina, and her horse Japan on their journey across the US to Seattle.

In the show, when Joel and Ellie leave the settlement and set off towards the Fireflies base in Colorado, they're riding Callus, Tommy's horse – or at least we can assume so from the game. 

Maria is pregnant

Rutina Wesley as Maria in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

When Joel puts the idea to Tommy that he should be the one to escort Ellie to the Fireflies, Tommy initially pushes back against the idea. Despite his older brother insisting that he's more likely to pull off the mission due to his age and knowledge of the area, Tommy lectures Joel on how Jackson has taught him that they are other ways of doing things than "before", and states that he doesn't want to go back to a life of violence and killing.

Tommy then admits that his wife Maria is pregnant, and explains that that's his main reason for not wanting to risk his life for someone else. After sharing the news, Tommy confides in his brother that he's "scared to death" about becoming a father, despite the fact that he knows deep down he'll probably "be a good dad." 

"Guess we'll find out," a scorned Joel snaps back, which leads to an argument between the siblings. "Just because life stopped for you, doesn't mean it has to stop for me," Tommy hits back. This is all specific to the show and doesn't happen in the game.

Joel gets stabbed at the University of Eastern Colorado

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

In their desperate attempt to escape a bunch of raiders at the University of Eastern Colorado in the game, Joel falls from a balcony and gets impaled on a jagged rebar. In the show, he and Ellie almost make it out of the university unscathed but are jumped outside as they try to mount Shimmer, and Joel is stabbed with a broken baseball bat. In retaliation, Joel strangles the raider and snaps his neck, killing him instantly.

The Last of Us continues on Sunday, February 26 on HBO and HBO Max in the US, and Sky Atlantic and NOW the following day in the UK. Make sure you never miss an episode by checking out our The Last of Us release schedule and our breakdown of how many episodes are in The Last of Us.

For more from the series, check out our guide to the major Last of Us episode 5 changes from the games and a terrifying look at the Cordyceps fungus

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.