This Last of Us article contains spoilers for the HBO series and the games.
The Last of Us veterans knew it was coming, but it’s no less shocking watching Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam’s (Keivonn Woodard) fate play out in live action. They’ve made it out of an embattled Kansas City, the rebels out to get them have been torn to pieces by infected, and Joel has invited their new friends to join them on the trip up to Wyoming. It seems like a happy ending to this chapter of the story, but of course this is The Last of Us we’re talking about. Even when something good happens in this universe, it’s almost always quickly followed by something absolutely terrible. Like Bill and Frank‘s standalone story before it, the end of “Endure and Survive” will completely wreck you.
Although they’ve evaded Kathleen’s group and found a motel to hole up in for the night, their victory is short-lived. Unbeknownst to Joel and Henry, little Sam was scratched by one of the infected during their hectic escape and has now turned into a bloodthirsty monster despite Ellie’s attempt to cure him with her own blood the night before. It only gets worse from there: while Henry tries to stop Joel from killing Sam at first, he is forced to shoot his younger brother in order to save Ellie. Shocked by his own snap decision to take Sam’s life, a devastated Henry points the pistol at his own head. Before Joel can talk him down, Henry pulls the trigger.
Henry and Sam are buried just outside the prison they fought so hard to escape, and this chapter ends pretty much as it started: Joel and Ellie are back on the road, haunted by all those they’ve lost along the way.
As The Last of Us fans will tell you, much of the Henry and Sam storyline is ripped straight out of the 2013 PlayStation classic. That said, the HBO series definitely takes quite a few liberties — Sam isn’t deaf in the game, for example. Yes, Henry and Sam die in the game as well and in much the same way (as you can see in the video below), but their story up until that point differs from the HBO series in some key ways.
For one thing, Henry and Sam have nothing to really do with the group that’s chasing them, Joel, and Ellie in the game. In fact, this is the biggest departure of all. Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey) doesn’t exist in the game, nor does her dead brother, the rebel leader Michael, which means the bad guys don’t actually have a vendetta against Henry in that version of the story. Henry isn’t a FEDRA collaborator or a “rat” as Joel calls him at one point in the episode. So why does this group, known as the Hunters in the game, want to kill Henry and Sam? Simply because the brothers walked into this hostile group’s territory to scavenge for supplies.
In the game, this all takes place in Pittsburgh, not Kansas City. Like on the HBO series, the Hunters were once-peaceful citizens who grew desperate and rebelled against FEDRA forces, with help from the Fireflies. Once FEDRA was overthrown, the Hunters turned on the Fireflies too, and eventually took complete control of the post-apocalyptic city. But with little in terms of food and supplies, these rebels decided to start ambushing and killing other survivors who passed through their territory in order to take their supplies for themselves. Hence why they’re called “Hunters” in the game.
Henry and Sam are originally from Hartford, Connecticut in the game, but after their quarantine zone was abandoned by FEDRA, they decided to travel with a group down to Pittsburgh to scavenge, believing the city to be empty. Instead, they were met by the heavily-armed Hunters hellbent on killing them all. Naturally, Henry and Sam’s group is scattered throughout the city.
When Joel and Ellie run into Henry and Sam in an abandoned apartment building, a fight breaks out, with Joel and Henry believing that the other is a Hunter. But they eventually agree to team up to escape the city. Henry tells Joel that his group planned to meet at a rendezvous point, a radio tower just outside Pittsburgh, and that he can lead them to it with Joel and Ellie’s help.
Their escape is somewhat similar to what happens in the HBO series, with a few added twists and turns through the city. But Joel, Ellie, Henry, and Sam do end up having to go through the sewers, as well as navigate a street full of Hunters and infected, with Joel clearing a path for Ellie, Henry, and Sam with a sniper rifle. The sequence in the game isn’t quite as dramatic as when Kathleen corners Henry and the infected come rushing out of that sinkhole, but it does still result in Sam getting scratched by one of the infected, sealing his fate. You already know how the rest goes…
The Last of Us is airing now on HBO and streaming on HBO Max.