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‘The Last of Us’: Who are Henry and Sam?

Related question: why am I crying?

Sam and Henry running in the last of us

TW: Mentions of suicide

Spoilers for The Last of Us episode 5 lie ahead.

The HBO series The Last of Us is still bringing characters from the game to new life. Two of those characters include Sam and Henry. While we briefly saw them at the end of episode 4 “Please Hold My Hand,” we really got to meet them and know them in episode 5. Seeing Lamar Johnson’s take on Henry and Keivonn Woodard shining as Sam was an emotional ride.

In the game, the two were part of the Pittsburgh storyline. But in the show, they’re in Kansas City, where Kathleen is coming for them. She wants Henry, and we saw in episode 5 how far she was willing to go to get him. What we learned about the two brothers, though, is how much they love each other.

Getting to know who they are as people in this world outside of what Kathleen was saying about Henry is a nice change from episode 4 to episode 5. Let’s talk about the two and who they each are in the world of The Last of Us.

Who is Henry?

Henry (Lamar Johnson) is Sam’s older brother and is dedicated to keeping his brother alive. Sam needs medical attention, and that’s not something Kathleen was willing to let happen. So Henry took matters into his own hands. One of the reasons he relates to Joel is because he has something to fight for—and that’s Sam.

We don’t get to know much about him outside his relationship with his brother. But the show gives us enough information to know the lengths of his dedication to Sam.

Who is Sam?

Sam sits in his attic hideout in The Last of Us.

Sam is Henry’s younger brother and is sick—he has a history with leukemia. He’s deaf and uses one of those old write-and-erase toys from when we were kids to communicate. He also loves comics and superheroes. He is, for the most part, the first “kid acting like a kid” that we’ve gotten to see in the series. Which was a highlight of the fifth episode. We got to see him have fun with Ellie and watch the two really just get to be kids for a minute.

Ultimately, Sam is just someone that Henry wants to protect. This results in Sam and Henry being close to each other, but it also makes Sam too afraid to tell Henry that he’s been bitten by an infected.


The end of the episode was an incredibly sad one. We saw as Sam turned despite Ellie’s “attempt” at curing him. When he turns and goes to attack Ellie, Henry has to kill his own brother—before killing himself. Getting to spend this time with Henry and Sam was nice, but I almost wish we got one more episode with them to further explore their dynamic.

(Featured image: HBO)

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She/Her. A writer who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.