The Secret Meaning Of The Last Of Us Episode 5’s Underground Paintings

The Last of Us episode 5 sees Joel, Ellie, Henry, and Sam enter an underground bunker full of paintings that hint at a deeper meaning from the game.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 5 and the original game.The Last of Us episode 5 has a secret story hidden beneath the guise of an underground bunker full of paintings and signs of life stumbled across by Joel, Ellie, Henry, and Sam. The episode follows directly from The Last of Us episode 4’s cliffhanger ending, with Joel and Ellie (Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey) cautiously befriending Henry and Sam (Lamar Johnson and Keivonn Woodard) after the latter two make it clear they are not a threat. Through this tentative partnership, Joel and Henry devise a plan to escape Kansas City and the clutches of Melanie Lynskey’s Kathleen.


This plan mainly comes from Henry, who states he is the brains of the operation while Joel acts as the muscle. In order to escape The Last of Us’ Hunters, the foursome takes the underground tunnels running beneath the city. In doing so, The Last of Us episode 5 includes many easter eggs to the Last of Us game through a subterranean bunker that was once used by a group of survivors.

Related: The Last Of Us May Have Confirmed A Massive Joel & The Hunters Theory

The Last Of Us Episode 5 Hints At The Best Unseen Game Character

Ish and Danny drawing collectible from The Last of Us Part I and Joel's character poster from HBO's The Last of Us

Through the underground bunker, and its various paintings, drawings, and objects, The Last of Us episode 5 hints at Ish, one of the original game’s unseen characters. Throughout both The Last of Us Part I and The Last of Us Part II, stories of random survivors across the world are found through collectibles. One of these survivors in from the first game is named Ish, and an extended section of the game allows for a full story to be fleshed out surrounding the character.

Ish was a man who lived in the tunnels beneath Pittsburgh – changed to Kansas City for HBO’s The Last of Us – alone, before helping a family and asking them to stay with him. Eventually, they founded a thriving community with a school, games, and water catchers, with the children drawing on the walls to make the entrance seem like a castle. Ish met another man named Danny, with the two becoming the communities’ protectors before a door was left open, and an infected horde broke in, leaving Ish’s fate unclear.

The underground bunker in The Last of Us episode 5 has many easter eggs referencing this specific story. The first comes from the castle drawings surrounding the bunker entrance, which Sam takes a liking to. Others once inside include the goalpost painted to the wall, which Sam and Ellie play at like in the game, the whiteboards referencing the school and the rules on the wall. The most overt reference though is a drawing Pedro Pascal’s Joel looks at of Ish and Danny with their names and “Our protectors” written on it. This is identical to a collectible found in the original game.

Last Of Us Episode 5’s Underground Room Includes Another Game Collectible

Savage Starlight comic collectible from the Last of Us game and Ellie's character poster from HBO for Last of Us show

Another reference to the Last of Us game is found in the comic book Sam finds. The comic is called Savage Starlight, which he and Ellie geek out over. In the original game, the Savage Starlight comic books are found throughout the world by Ellie, as she loves the characters and stories. The Last of Us episode 5’s references this, with Ellie quoting the comics and stating which issues she owns to Sam. While these references have no impact on the story, they are neat references to the original The Last of Us that gamers will appreciate that also help to flesh out the world of HBO’s show.

New episodes of The Last of Us release every Sunday on HBO.

More: Who Henry & Sam Are In The Last Of Us & Why They’re So Important

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