The Last of Us Episode 3 has a wholesome Part II reference

Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us Episode 2 and a still from The Last of Us Part IIHBO/Sony

The Last of Us Episode 3 has a brief nod to one of the best sequences in Part II – and thankfully, it’s not one of the bleaker moments in the game.

In our review, we said Episode 3 “belongs in the same untouchable echelon as Ozymandias and Pine Barrens; it’s one of the greatest episodes ever committed to television, and pop culture history will honor it as such.”

While Joel and Ellie appear, it mostly revolves around the story of Bill and Frank, two men who spent 15 years together in their Lincoln encampment, and it’s quite different from the original game.

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Near the end of the episode, Joel and Ellie come back into the picture, and there’s a reference to Part II that evokes one of the game’s most wholesome moments.

Spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 3 to follow…

The Last of Us Part II reference in Episode 3

At the end of Episode 3, Joel and Ellie set off to find Tommy’s brother in Wyoming. Bill left Joel his truck after taking his own life alongside Frank, meaning they can make their journey with relative ease.

When they get into the truck, Joel quickly realizes Ellie has never been in a car before, as she’s a child of the pandemic and vehicles are few and far between in the quarantine zones.

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“Is this your first time in a car?” he asks. “It’s like a spaceship,” she replies. “No, it’s like a piece of sh*t Chevy S10, but it’ll get us there,” he says.

In The Last of Us Part II, in a flashback we see Joel taking Ellie to the Wyoming Museum of Science and History, culminating in the both of them climbing inside a space capsule. Joel gives Ellie a tape recording of the Apollo 11 launch for her birthday, and she closes her eyes and pretends she’s in space.

We will admit, this is a small reference, but it’s hard to not see it as a seed being planted for that scene being recreated in live action down the line.

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The Last of Us Episode 4 will be available to watch on February 5 in the US and February 6 in the UK. You can check out the rest of our coverage here.