The Last of Us star was up to the challenge of putting a fresh twist on an established game character

Joel and Tommy in The Last of Us

Image via HBO

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 6: “Kin.”

Following a heartbreaking climax of Episode 5, Endure and Survive is the thrilling sixth installment of The last of us, titled Kin, was released last night, February 19th. A lot of emotions are sweeping us at the moment, but the most important thing from such a mixed episode would be Pedro Pascal’s groundbreaking performance as Joel, who reunites in “Kin” with his long-lost brother Tommy, whom he hasn’t seen in a long time and by whom he has heard nothing. After a fateful encounter in the woods, a group of strangers escorted Joel and Ellie to Jackson, Wyoming, and the Miller brothers finally reconnect.

“Kin” not only introduces us to Tommy, but also another significant character that will be familiar to everyone The last of us inveterate. The thriving Jackson community is led by Maria Miller, Tommy’s wife, played in this case by Rutina Wesley. Wesley is perhaps best known as Tara Thornton True Bloodplus some one-off appearances on popular TV shows like Hannibal, Arrow and the other phenomenal zombie-centric series the Walking Dead.

As we gleaned from the showrunners’ decision to trade Joel’s daughter Sarah Miller in the race, HBO isn’t afraid to push some boundaries. We see this again with Maria, who is white in the games but is portrayed by Rutina Wesley, who is African American in the HBO adaptation. Stepping into those giant shoes comes with an equally enormous responsibility, but Wesley seemed up to the task. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Wesley shares her apprehension about bringing an established character to life:

“It’s terrifying to play an established character even though it’s a game. But I was also up for the challenge of playing it my way and putting my energy into it to see what people would think of it.”

Wesley has been stunning in every role she’s ever played, so Maria is no exception. She may not have been who many fans expected to be Maria, but she stays true to herself and gives it her all. And what more could we ever ask for?

All episodes of The last of us streaming now on HBO Max. The Last of Us star was up to the challenge of putting a fresh twist on an established game character

Adam Bradshaw

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