[Originally published on 5/17/19 on my previous site, Bright-blood.com]
Part III – Chapters 7-9 (Tommy’s Dam through Lakeside Resort)
Warning: This post has spoilers for the PlayStation game The Last of Us. Proceed at your own risk!
We pick back up with Joel and Ellie as they’re walking up to Jackson County, which as Ellie so kindly points out, “must be near Jackson city, right?” The two of you make your way down to a river which leads up to a hydroelectric dam. This part took me foreverrrrrrrr to figure out my first play through. There’s a pallet you need to get Ellie across, but it’s hidden underwater. Where I dove for the first time I missed the little area where it was stuck, so I spent probably thirty minutes searching for this thing haha. Anyways, once Ellie is across she finishes getting the bridge to come up and the two of you climb back up roadside. Once here, Joel realizes the only way to get to your destination is to go through the Dam, which ends up being where Tommy and his crew are. After walking around for a bit, Tommy tells Joel that they’re here trying to get the power back on. He also mentions that when the power is on this place has an electric fence and is great for keeping people safe. About two minutes later the dam gets attacked however, and Joel is stuck helping Tommy defend it. This was a super simple mission here, just run through and kill the bad guys quick as there’s not much to gather here and get ready for the next cutscene.
This one’s a doozy though, because Ellie overhears Joel’s conversation with Tommy about who will be the one to take her to the fireflies. She freaks out and takes off into the woods on a horse, so the two brothers set out to find her. I’m not gunna lie, I wish more of this game had been dedicated to horseback riding. This part was so dope, and it really ties into the aspect of the bike that Days Gone was shooting for if I’m not mistaken. Joel and Tommy come across a small bandit hideout that needs dispatching before finally finding Ellie holed up in an abandoned house (Or maybe a mansion, it was huge!). She ends up being fine, just typical angsty teenager drama on her part. However, some Hunters do end up finding the three of you and sneaking into the house so it’s up to Joel and the gang to take care of them. There’s only five or six so this is also pretty easy, and then your on your way back to the horses for another cutscene. Tommy brings Joel and Ellie to a town where he thinks Joel will stay when he and Ellie go find the fireflies at The University. Little does he know though that Ellie’s shenanigans stirred up some feelings for Joel, and he’s now decided that he actually wants to be the one to take her where she needs to go. So, after a little heartfelt chapter with Joel’s brother, our two main characters are off to UEC to find the firefly doctors in hopes they can create a cure.
Once Joel and Ellie arrive at UEC (Go Rams!), they decide to head towards the middle of campus since they have zero clue where the science building is or where the fireflies are. It doesn’t take long to determine the general direction you need to head, and there aren’t many buildings to explore here so you get there rather swiftly. A garage towards the beginning does have the flame thrower though, which in all honesty I didn’t use very often, so go grab that and then head off towards the science building. You stumble across two areas, one filled with runners, the other with clickers and a bloater. As usual, a brick or bottle toss off to one side of the room groups them all up and a Molotov (or the flame thrower if you’re feeling frisky) wipes ‘em all out. When you do get to the bloater you can sneak by if you want, but I suggest killing him as he drops a firefly pendant (for all you completionist’s out there). After this Joel and Ellie finally make it to the Science building, just to find it closed off with no one there… or so they think. After grabbing all the supplies and finding a tape recorder explaining that everyone either died or headed back to a hospital in Salt Lake City, a ton of Hunters swarm the building for the two of you to take on. As you fight your way back down to the exit, Joel gets tackled off a balcony and lands directly on a piece of rebar that penetrates his midsection. I for sure thought we were losing Joel here. This game had already taken his daughter in the first chapter and Tess in the third, not to mention this looked to be a super fatal injury right here. Luckily Ellie is there to save the day again and kills three or four straggler Hunters. This sequence was gripping as hell and super emotional. You can tell Joel doesn’t want Ellie risking her life for his, yet she can’t imagine a world without Joel after all they’ve been through. Not to mention the subtle fading in and out for Joel and feeling his heartbeat slow through the controller made this sequence that much better. Also, these dualshock controllers were new to me but I love how interactive they are. The fact that you can shake the controller to get the flashlight working again, or feeling heartbeats pick up/slow down in certain situations, or even playing the voice from the tape recorders you find… it adds an additional layer to this already spectacular game that I didn’t even know was possible! But Ellie domes these last few stragglers before she helps Joel onto the horse and they gallop away from campus. Joel’s not looking so hot, and actually ends up falling off the horse right as the cutscene starts. Ellie starts to low key freak, then the screen cuts to black as it usually does at the end of a chapter. We then find out it is winter as the next chapter of the story starts to unfold.
Ellie is stalking what looks to be a nice sized buck through a beautiful, recently snow covered, wooded area. She sneaks up close and gets a shot off with her bow, but no matter where you hit the animal it will run off to the next section of the woods. After two hits it automatically disappears up through some clearings and you find it dead in a small town, which is where you meet David and his companion for the first time. They talk for a bit, and David says there is enough meat there for the two of them and Ellie, and that Ellie should come back with him to his camp too. Ellie says nah, and makes him hand over his hunting rifle. She says David and his people can have all the meat from the buck if they have some antibiotics to trade for it. Before this scene I was almost positive Joel had died, and that the rest of the story was going to revolve around Ellie getting herself to the fireflies. Thankfully I was wrong, and the fact that she wants antibiotics clearly means he is still alive somewhere. David sends his friend off to get the meds from their camp, and after a little while he and Ellie are attacked by a whole mess of runners and clickers. After killing about 15 of them, David says screw it and busts down a door for the two of you to escape through. You quickly get separated when a walkway on the second floor breaks, but after four more stealthy clicker deaths you’re reunited. The two of you end up in a room on the second story of this building. David then realizes that you’re both trapped and that the zombies know where you are. Some come in through the door you came from, and then they start popping in from the windows and the ceiling. Eventually a bloater falls in too, and that’s when you know the battle is almost done. All in all, the two of you probably take out about forty undead before you get another cutscene. This is where David finally shows himself as the bad guy, and he starts talking about a bunch of his men being killed by a crazy man and a little girl back at the UEC campus… Ellie takes off and heads straight back to Joel who, by the way, looks really messed up. Like, how long has he been out with an infected wound? It definitely seems like at least a month has passed by if we’re getting a change in season lol. She quickly realizes that coming here was foolish because David and his men just followed her back. Quick on her feet as always, she decides to lead them away from here before they realize that’s where Joel is. She sneaks outside and hops on her horse, which leads to a sweet chase scene that unfortunately ends horrendously for Ellie’s horse roughly thirty seconds later.
Ellie is now forced to walk through the rest of this camp that turns into the resort. It was meant to be snuck through, but I decided on my second go round that I was just going to run out and destroy everyone. Once you make your way through a few houses, a bait shop, and a bathroom, Ellie shimmies across a broken bridge and moves on to the next area. This is the true lakeside resort. Ellie is faced with five more Hunters before she through a hole in the roof to make her way inside. There are a few more bad guys inside she needs to take care of before making her way to the exit. As she is opening the door to leave, David sneaks up from behind and puts Ellie into a chokehold. She slowly passes out, and next thing you know you’re locked up in a cage in David’s compound. This is now where Ellie begins to see David’s true self. As he’s trying to convince her to switch over to his side, Ellie slowly grabs his hand as if to comfort him before she breaks the shit out of his finger. David gets angry and asks, “What am I supposed to tell the others now?!”. Ellie of course answers sarcastically before David walks off talking about how they will cut her up into tiny pieces.
And from the dead rises Joel! It was nice to be back playing as our guy with all our upgraded weapons. You weakly make your way out of the house and start moving through the town Ellie left you in when five or six hunters attack. After you take out one or two they retreat, and this makes them much easier to take on in Joel’s slightly slower state. I wasn’t 100% positive that he was moving slower because he is supposed to still be injured, or if Ellie’s character just moved that much quicker… but either way Joel definitely seemed slow here. Once the hunters had been taken care of, you hop two small barriers out into a main road we’re Joel gets jumped by two more guys. He narrowly avoids a knife to the gut and ends up knocking both men out, which leads to a grisly torture scene that ends with both men dying by Joel’s hands.
Then we’re back with Ellie, who once again Houdini’s her way out of the situation she’s in. She ends up biting David and showing her infected bite mark before ending up outside in a blizzard. This storm was intense! I could barely see a thing making my way around the town. Ellie needs to avoid a ridiculous number of Hunters here and eventually make her way to a restaurant where she finds herself face to face with David. Ellie needs to stealthily stab him three times before he will go down. The first time is pretty simple, the second time gets more challenging, and the third time David pretty much goes invisible and knows where Ellie is at all times. I died quite a few times on the third stab where I was sure I was being sneaky, and he just turned and merked me with his machete. After a few attempts though I finally sank that third stab right into his back. Unfortunately, as the blade slides into him he spazzes and slams Ellie backwards into a table before they both fall to the ground unconscious.
We jump back to Joel for a second time, and he’s also now out in the blizzard making his way into town. It’s pretty easy to bow your way through this part of the chapter if you have the ammo, and you eventually make your way to the restaurant that Ellie is inside of. Oh yeah by the way, it’s on fire. Like really really on fire at this point lol. It jumps back to Ellie for the cutscene to end the chapter. As she and David are both coming to/too after that last stab, David begins kicking and choking the shit out of Ellie. But what he doesn’t realize is that he’s beating her closer and closer to his machete. You’re prompted with a triangle button mash, which allows Ellie to grab it and slam the blade into David’s arm. Ellie then proceeds to climb on top of him and continuously slam the machete into his skull until Joel comes in and grabs her. He tells her everything will be ok and calms her down. This was one of the more emotional scenes for the two of them. We even get the sound of Joel’s voice cutting out as the camera is focused in on Ellie, showing us that she’s zoned out after this ridiculously traumatic experience. The two stand up to head out, and we get an extremely slow pan to the machete sticking straight up. It sinks in again that this is sticking out of what should be David’s head, and then the screen fades to black.
Next our two favorite characters are shot forward to Spring and the Bus Depot! So be sure to check back soon for Part IV of my review of The Last of Us, where I’ll be covering the final three chapters.