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Sunday, February 12, 2023

[The Last of SQUAWKS: E4] Please Hold on to My Hand |The Last Of Us

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People , amiright? The most obvious observation from our livestreams is the further cementing bond between Joel & Ellie, with all it's peaks and valleys (but mostly by way of punny humor). What's not obvious is the human drama in which they suddenly find themselves engulfed.
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David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Sherrandy Swift:
Bridget Mason-Gray:


  • With the Super Bowl (American Football) happening on Sunday, HBO decided to give viewers the opportunity to stream the episode on HBO Max and HBO On-Demand on Friday night, ahead of the usual Sunday Night air-date. As it so happens, the Kansas City Chiefs are one of the teams playing, which is the same city we find our protagonists.
  • This was a pretty fun moment: Takeerah joins our WHISPERERS Tier membership on Ko-fi!
  • Whereas the last episode contained a lot more e-motion, this one had a lot more physical motion: moving our story forward and physically taking us from Massachusetts all the way to Kansas City.
  • Sherrandy mentions what we were all loving: the punny humor between Ellie Williams and Joel Miller, which eventually got Joel to laugh, by the end of this episode.
  • People, on the whole, are the danger (not Walter White, from Breaking Bad), rather than the infected, FEDRA, or The Fireflies.
  • Bridget didn't get very far in her nerve-wracking video game play-through of The Last of Us: as she found out via watching the boring play-throughs of others, none of this was really in the video game, anyway, save for a group in Pittsburgh that resembles Kathleen's The Kansas City Revolutionaries.
  • She also goes on to mention that the punny jokes are in the video game. Dave had watched a supercut of them from the video game on TikTok. Unlike the game, Joel ends up actually laughing (though, the lack of sleep is mostly responsible), which is probably the first time he's laughed in 20 years).
    @restartsquare The Last Of Us Part 1 - Funny Moments. #thelastofus #lastofus #thelastofusedit #lastofusedit #joelmiller #joelmilleredit #elliewilliams #elliewilliamsedit #lastofus2 #lastofuspart2 #tlou #tlou2 #fyp #funny ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat
  • Speaking of Bill bringing out Dave's inner conspiracy theorist, the dirty magazine Ellie pulls out in the back seat pocket of the truck are actually in the video game. We had mentioned this last week in response to the displeasure some viewers had towards that episode, but we actually get to see it in this one.
  • What is different (and funny) in the video game is that Bill is obviously still alive and, after telling Ellie to not even touch his stuff, you still see her in both the game and the show having stolen all these magazines and comic books from him. Video game Ellie still doesn't have a gun at this point, whereas TV Series Ellie does. Bridget does mention the Savage Starlight comic book in the video game that should've been in this particular scene, in the truck, but it never showed up.
  • Speaking of comic books, we meet brothers Henry Burrell and Sam Burrell, the latter whom has grease paint smeared across his face like the super hero characters that he drew in the place that they were holding up. Is Kathleen's beef with them legit?
  • With all the crazy characters we meet this episode, the only sane one seems to be Kathleen's family doctor that had been involved with FEDRA (who are obviously terrible, and yet...) whom Kathleen interrogates to find Henry. But sane, to us, is relative: it's easy for us to say behind a pane of glass in saner times.

  • Regarding Kathleen's people, their aesthetic seems to have a Mad Max vibe. They gave Walking Dead Eternal a somewhat Civic Republic Military feelings. Bridget says they most resemble the cast of Doomsday, with Rhona Mitra and Malcolm McDowell.
  • No, Walking Dead Eternal, not DOOM - the video game or movie (with Duane "The Rock" Johnson).
  • Whatever we think about The Fireflies, FEDRA, or even these revolutionaries, what becomes apparent is how Joel doesn't want to take part in any groups, because they only lead to more suffering. On that note, we had originally assumed that it was Joel that was in Operation: Desert Storm, but it was actually - joiner - Tommy Miller.
  • Though it might not seem like it, Melanie Lynskey (who plays Kathleen) is no stranger to playing slightly to more psychopathic characters: from Two and a Half Men, to Yellowjackets, and even Castle Rock. Highly recommend watching Togetherness, by the Duplass brothers (and starring she and Mark Duplass), also on HBO.
  • What if it turns out that Kathleen is not as crazy as we think? Especially knowing what we know about children in the zombie apocalypse.

  • The cover of New Order's True Faith, played at the end of the episode, is a play on what Bill calls FEDRA: New world order jackboot thugs. More importantly, the song is from the 80s, which is Bill & Frank's code for trouble; however, one of the B-Sides of New Order's album is called 1963, which is code for all-clear.
  • The title of this episode, Please Hold on to My Hand, is derived from the Hank Williams song, Alone and Forsaken, which was on the cassette they played in the truck.
  • Bridget liked this episode, in stark contrast to the nerve-wracking portions of the video game this was meant to reference. More than anything, she was really upset that they lost Bill's truck full of goodies. Dave responds how he kind of saw that coming: given how wholesome the last episode was, our TWDU brain automatically expects things to go wrong.
  • Back on Bill, for a hot sec, Dave has a wild thought that he may not be dead. Other than what was already mentioned in our discussion, I think the front door slamming, unprompted, just after Ellie finds Bill's letter (outside of it being this spooky way to get Joel to call out to Ellie) could've been a clue. Bridget thinks Dave's even more of a conspiracy theorist.
  • Dave has a small critique: even with the highway blocked off, having gone into the city where Joel alludes most of the infected would be (as opposed to out in the sticks), as soon as he saw the Kansas City QZ doors blown wide open is the same moment he should've slammed the car in reverse.
  • Not just in this episode: just like in Fear The Walking Dead's Season 4 season premiere, never stop for strangers.

  • Sherrandy compares Joel teaching Ellie safe and effective firearms use to Game of ThronesThe Hound teaching Arya Stark how to kill people.

  • What's more interesting about that entire scene is the tug-of-war he has (throughout the episode, as well) between preserving Ellie's childlike innocence and begrudgingly giving her the tools she needs to fight alongside him.
  • Worst of all, the show continues to remind us how much of a kid Ellie still is because she keeps violating Joel's rules, asking him about his past and stealing one of Bill's firearms after he explicitly says, No. Sherrandy compares this to Carl Grimes and how he made some mistakes that - yes, haunted him but, also - allowed him to grow.
  • This conversation is particularly useful when talking about Bryan: the kid Ellie shoots in order to save Joel. When his group was alive and going after Joel & Ellie's things (AKA, really, Bill's things), he was reckless; however, after being shot, we are confronted with a barrage of emotions when he, basically, calls for his mom.
  • We'd love that for them: considering how hard they came at Joel and Ellie, it says a lot about their present state. If Henry & Sam are the kind of threat they are presumed to be by Kathleen, it further feeds into the sense of desperation this group is feeling, even after finally overthrowing FEDRA.
  • The whole confrontation with Bryan reminds Bridget of Shane Walsh (in The Walking Dead's 2nd season) taking out Randall Culver. Even Bridget tries to make one of Dale Horvath's immortalized sus-faces to what she just said.
  • Lois compares Kathleen to Virginia on FearTWD. Seeing as how she was capable enough to lead the revolutionaries to victory against FEDRA, that comparison is apt, but her quest for vengeance against Henry at the expense of her people might not be. Then again, we might not have the whole story and Henry might as well be The Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride.

  • We've noticed that, when a lot less happens, we seem to have a lot more to talk about than when an episode seems to move the story along, and with a lot of action sequences.
  • In our first episode covering this series, we had said that this season would contain 9 episodes but, when we last checked, the new episode count on IMDB is 10 episodes and contains a lot less of the upcoming titles and synopses. This is in stark contrast to The Walking Dead Universe of shows, where - for the most part - we're given most (if not all) the upcoming episode titles, synopses, and much is given away in the look-ahead teasers to the start/rest of every season.
    Editor's correction: this season is still only 9 episodes long. The confusion is due to the fact that, in the 11th hour, they combined both episode 1 & 2. This further proves that IMDB often gets things wrong.
  • Sherrandy makes a great comparison to what Ellie must be feeling as she's surveying the ruin from the passenger-side window of the truck: The Walking Dead: World Beyond showed us what that was like in their 4th episode of the 1st season titled, The Wrong End of a Telescope, where Iris Bennett imagines what it would be like to dance with Silas Plaskett in a Sadie Hawkins dance.
  • On that note, Bridget wanted to bring up how Ellie's reaction to the plane crash site in the last episode reminds us to appreciate the things we have, while we have them, and why it is we look upon these miracles of technology so cynically.
  • And, uhh, what in the world is rustling underneath the cratered concrete in the basement of the building Kathleen and Perry inspect? a cavernous, pulsating mycelial network? Or, as Bridget and Dave think, a Bloater. Or one of the monsters from Tremors (who doesn't like a callback)? If it is a bloater, what will that look like in the absence of spores (being a transmission mechanism for the infection)? Is it a demon from hell (Walking Dead Eternal makes a call back to DOOM again)? Is it the Sarlacc from Star Wars? Dave thinks it might look like villain Goto Imasuji (AKA Muscular) from My Hero Academia - but instead of muscle fibers, it's frightening, strength-enhancing sort of mycelial fibers.


  • Dave's mother-in-law clipped out and shared with him Michelle Goldberg's opinion piece in the New York Times. In Goldberg's attempt to praise Long Long Time and simultaneously convince conservatives that they should be loving it (instead of hate it), she shows how deeply she both misunderstands both conservatives and the character Bill.
  • The reason why we're bringing this article in the first place is to contrast it with Rob Henderson's article in Barri Weiss' The Free Press, in which he tries to explain why it us we're drawn to post-apocalyptic stories.
  • Seeing as though the NYT article is behind a paywall, Dave screenshot and made both articles available on our Ko-fi and Patreon pages with your support.
  • This episode topped last week's initial ratings, marking 4 straight weeks of initial viewership growth
  • Did you happen to catch Pedro Pascal on Saturday Night Live?
  • Thomas brings up the bloater and we expand on Sherrandy's thought that it might be a mycelial cavern. It also piques our interest on what changes they will make to bloaters on the television series, since they can't use spores. Then again, what if it's Madison Clark (bringing back a running gag from when we were covering Fear The Walking Dead's 5th season).
  • Similar to Ellie pointing out Joel's terrible hearing in his right ear, the ladies make fun of Dave's failing hearing during our recording. This allows Bridget to bring up the focus mechanic in the video game, which actually gives him hyper hearing. Hearing this also reminds us of the clickers need for echo location.
  • One of Rachael's biggest takeaways loving Ellie's constant barrage of jokes from Will Livingston's No Pun Intended, while divulging her love of dad-jokes. "Will Livingston" himself is a pun: the will to live. Nobody thought that was punny. Contrary to what Sherrandy says (unless the comments to this blog say otherwise), No Pun Intended is not a real book.
  • Rachael also brings up how well-maintained Bill's truck is, to the point where there's not a spec of rust. We go through how that is plausible (tarped in a heated garage, basically unused) and implausible (the salt in the air and ground from being in the north east).
  • Brian Castrillo mentions the care to detail in depicting nature taking over civilization: specifically the unmowed grass, which Cinik Radio Podcast mentioned in their breakdown of this episode.
  • Sherrandy makes note of the Arby's sign below the Love's gas station/truck stop sign, which is a callback to Bill threatening Frank, when they first meet, that This isn't an Arby's - and how they fall in love.
  • It should be noted that the cover of New Order's True Faith is performed by Lotte Kestner. This allows us to go back to the meaning of the Hank Williams song, Alone and Forsaken, which describes the fading of both glory and love. Bridget notes that, in the video game, a different Hank Williams song is used, called I'll Never Get out of This World Alive. Maybe the former Hank Williams song was more apt than the one in the video games because they series is trying to deliver a different story or, at least, tell it in a different way. 
  • Brian also mentions how it felt odd when Joel mentioned there were less infected out in the boonies, but only because our TWD brains are accustomed to seeing the dead everywhere: it further illustrates the differences between zombies and the fungal-infected, as well as their biological imperatives (insatiable consumption versus unrelenting propagation, respectively).
  • This brings up the messy business of a topic of conversation we had at the start of [Episode 102] on TWD World Beyond's Series Premiere, where someone asks what it would look like if zombies had a sex drive.
  • In talking about how the cordyceps fungus actually feed (spoiler: they feed on their host), Sherrandy & Rachael bring up the ZeFrank video on slime molds, which is super fascinating:
  • Back on the subject of walkers having a sex drive, we had also discussed what a zombie baby would look like, but can't find the episode where that conversation takes place (if you know what it is, let us know in the comments)!
  • Sort of the way our TWDU survivors transitioned to using horses and buggies, due to gas going bad (explained mostly in FearTWD Season 5), The Last of Us also makes note of the same reality: gas will separate and evaporate over time.
  • Just like Ellie being introduced to the outside world for the first time, so too is she being introduced to a world of violence and murder by way of Joel taking down the handful of revolutionaries (and she having to shoot one of them). How does that begin to shape her worldview, without all the moral underpinnings that we have?
  • Rachael wonders whether FEDRA had taught her, not just how to hold a gun but to shoot one as well. Bridget chimes in that it would be very unwise for an oppressive force like FEDRA to actually arm their citizens.
  • Speaking of arming children, even on second watch, witnessing Ellie fiddling with the gun in the bathroom during the opening sequence made us super nervous - which kind of goes to how FEDRA must not have taught them decent enough gun safety. You talkin' to me?
  • Given that Tommy is a joiner, what group do you think he has himself wrapped up in, this time (if not The Fireflies, as Joel mentions)? This opens a broader topic of purpose, on the whole, and how they can turn into an unhealthy crutch or obsession (like Kathleen's) when that purpose is removed somehow. Also, is keeping your family alive a purpose or does it fall under survival and does one need something outside that to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
  • Here's a photo edit Sherrandy created of Morgan Jones as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings confronting The Balrog (or whatever is in the basement that Kathleen isn't telling her people about):
  • The purpose of bringing up purpose in relation to Kathleen is that she is a cautionary tale for Joel, should he lose the people he loves (or is, at the very least, protecting: which has been his purpose for decades). Bridget points out that the difference is that Kathleen lost hope, which was her brother, and vengeance is all she has left. It's not unlike Carol Peletier on a warpath to take out Alpha during The Whisperer War, her comrades bedamned.
  • Though we don't know a whole lot about them, the post-revolutionaries sound like they had to become the monsters to beat a monster, but what we do know is that Kathleen is already using the same tactics that FEDRA used to root out conspirators. Sherrandy compares their tactic of pilfering strangers to Game of Thrones - where you have to play the game to win - and that it's a dog-eat-dog world that forces you to limit or do away with your humanity. It really confronts the audience, who lives in peace and comfort, to confront some disturbing moral questions.
  • We distill this argument in the sudden switch Bryan has from aggressor to child, after being shot by Ellie and paralyzed from the waist down. Bridget points out when Bryan was the aggressor, he is depicted as almost NPC-like, in the background and faceless, and when he's finally pinned down, we are confronted with his last shred of humanity (reaching out to Joel's & Ellie's humanity).
  • This episode depicts the accuracy of the darkness that persists in aftermath of a revolution, as evidenced in the French Revolution, to the point where its stain was so persistent in culture that they only finally stopped the practice of using the guillotine as punishment well into the 20th century (1977).
  • Editors Note: looking back at it, now, the imagery of the gallows in the first episode is a very interesting mirror for this episode.
  • Dave reflects on his initial reaction of Kathleen and how her wasn't willing to cast too much judgment in the absence of more information. She's crazy pants: Killing a doctor (a valuable commodity); refusing to deal with/inform her people that there's something dangerous rumbling in that building's basement (prioritizing the search for Henry); and, worst of all, doubling the guard around their food supply because she thinks Henry is so capable a mastermind that he would risk doubling back to the place where he is least safe to get food after running out.
  • Sherrandy points out that Kathleen's vendetta towards Henry paints him out to be so unbelievable that he almost doesn't even seem real. Bridget questions who Henry would even know or have the resources to hire mercenaries to attack her group? And, of course, everyone is going to go along with what she says because she helped them win against FEDRA: who would want to go against the monster that beat the monster?
  • Rachael is still suspending judgement against Kathleen's actions. One thing working in her favor is one of Sam's drawings depicts the two brothers, as superheroes, attacking another figure in riot gear (which could either represent a FEDRA trooper or one of the revolutionaries). Maybe they are that skilled? In response to this, Sherrandy and Bridget mention that, for all we know, Henry is merely responsible for Kathleen's brother's death, rather than selling him down the river to FEDRA.
  • Bridget takes a moment to mention that Jeffrey Pierce, who plays Lt. Perry, voiced Tommy in the video games.
  • Kirsten Acuna had interviewed Ian Alexander, who voiced Lev in the video games. Ian expressed desire to be cast as Lev and can't wait to see the way their character will be depicted. Will Bridget even be able to catch up in her gameplay in time for Lev's appearance? Thomas mentions that Troy Baker, the voice of Joel in the video games, will also eventually appear in the series.
  • Lois has a great theory: it's possible that Kathleen's brother was against her and that her quest for vengeance against Henry is just an excuse. She also adds that the Burrell brothers also may have dirt on Kathleen and she is hoping to put them down before it gets out.
  • Dave takes us back to the beginning where Joel tells Ellie that she'll be seeing a lot of other military vehicles (tanks, helicopters, etc). He focuses on the almost throw-away line he says after this, "But they'll fight the wrong enemy, all scattered around now." What does he mean by this? Bridget says the military/FEDRA used these weapons of war against regular people, rather than focusing on fighting the infection. It could also be that they fought against nature and nature won. Considering their destination was in the direction of The Fireflies, the people still applies, as FEDRA are people, too.
  • In all of this - be it FEDRA, Fireflies, or even people - Joel might simply mean that there's no point to having a greater purpose or joining large groups to fight for/against a cause because it's too late. The best you can do is protect your family and survive.
  • Rachael takes a moment to ponder whether we'll see blood in Lt. Perry's silver fox mane. A dead "Cleaned-up Beta" is Rachael's dreamboat: silent, attractive, and completely unavailable (because he's the dead/unavailable type). He will join the league of similarly fated gentlemen: Glenn Rhee and Ignacio "Nacho" Varga.
  • Speaking of The Whisperers, the way Sam tells Joel to hush, a la Alpha, in the closing shot for this episode was pretty creepy. Sherrandy says that the dirt circles (® Bridget) around his eyes resembled Alpha's ouroboros belt buckle, too.

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