In the game, Joel and Ellie are ambushed in Pittsburgh by marauders who took over from FEDRA. Eventually, they run into Henry and Sam, who also ventured into the city as unsuspecting victims. The HBO series dramatically changes the premise, moving the location to Kansas City and making Henry and Sam’s relationship with the freedom fighters of the city much more personal. In the ongoing war between FEDRA and the Kansas City Resistance, Sam betrays a key figure in the movement against the government for the sake of his younger brother, who needed medicine to live.
The emotional center of episode 5 is Sam’s love for his brother Henry and the people he’s willing to sacrifice because of it. The idea of paternal love runs strongly through all the scenes involving the two brothers, in turn making Joel much more contemplative about his relationship with Ellie. In the high-strung situation of “Endure and Survive,” the show manages to balance the tension with quiet moments that have both Joel and Henry reflective on the choices that led them to the predicament they’re in now. If not for these creative changes, we wouldn’t have powerful moments of Joel coming to terms with his past as a parent who loved his daughter more than anything and what it now means to have Ellie in his care. Henry and Sam’s story parallels the game’s story, and that idea is only cemented with the explosive conclusion of the episode.