Henry in Sam in HBO's The Last of Us
Image Source: HBO

Who Are Henry & Sam in HBO’s The Last of Us? Explained

Ellie and Joel aren't the only dynamic duo in town.

In Episode 4 of HBO’s The Last of Us, the names ‘Henry’ and ‘Sam’ are thrown around on more than one occasion. However, these individuals are yet to introduce themselves to Joel and Ellie, so you may be wondering who they are and what role they play in the story. Here’s everything you need to know about who Henry and Sam are in HBO’s The Last of Us.

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Henry and Sam’s Roles in HBO’s The Last of Us: Full Explanation

Henry and Sam are two brothers and fellow survivors that Joel and Ellie cross paths with on their adventure to locate Tommy. In the TLOU video game, Joel and Ellie reach Pittsburgh, where Hunters have overtaken the city. However, in HBO’s adaptation, Pittsburgh is replaced with Kansas City. Instead of hunters, they discover a Quarantine Zone run by a community who have overthrown FEDRA.

Kathleen and her crew in HBO's The Last of Us
Image Source: HBO

So far, all that has been revealed about Henry and Sam is that they are a brother duo hiding in the city from Kathleen and the group responsible for wiping out the FEDRA forces and that they’ve run out of food for the time being. Kathleen and the rest of the Kanas City community are currently out to get Henry due to the presumption that the latter gave up information regarding the identity of Kathleen’s brother to FEDRA, which resulted in his death.

At the end of Episode 4, Joel and Ellie are discovered and woken by two individuals who appear to be the mysterious Henry and Sam. However, there is much more importance to these characters and their relationship with Joel and Ellie than what that final scene may have led you to believe, so if you want to learn all about the brotherly duo and what’s in store for them next, then follow along below, but be warned of spoilers.

In the original The Last of Us Video game, Sam and his younger brother, Henry, are survivors from Hartford who had hoped to discover shelter and supplies in Pittsburg. However, due to the nature of Hunters in the city, they were attacked and separated from their group of survivors. Henry and Sam just so happened to be hiding in an apartment building within the town when they stumbled across Joel and Ellie. Henry attacks Joel, believing him to be a Hunter, and the four survivors have a brief scuffle before realizing neither is the enemy that both parties had initially assumed.

Henry and Joel in The Last of Us
Image Source: Naughty Dog & Sony

From here, they agree to form an alliance and help each other out of the city, despite any differences and disagreements between Joel and Henry. On their way out of town, the group is faced with the trouble of Clickers, Stalkers, and Runners along the way, with Runners being an occurring problem, ambushing the four of them on more than one occasion. Joel, Henry, Sam, and Ellie manage to escape and set up in the safety of a house for the night to rest, where they all bond by sharing stories from the past.

Tragically, it is revealed the following morning through a discovery by Ellie that Sam was scratched by a Runner on his leg, therefore having turned into one himself overnight. This is heartbreaking, especially because Henry had been so ruthless towards others to keep Sam safe, only for him to still end up among those infected.

Sam turning in The Last of Us
Image Source: Naughty Dog & Sony

Joel tries to kill Sam now that he’s a Runner to prevent himself, Ellie, and Henry from being turned. However, Henry puts a stop to this and shoots Sam himself. He then turns to Joel, stating, “This is all your fault,” before using the gun he was holding to end his own life, bringing the journey of the two brothers to a sharp and devastating end.

Whether Henry was pushing blame onto Joel or talking down to himself before pulling the trigger is ultimately up for the player to decide, but either way, the impact of this scene will stick with you for the remainder of the game.

This was a crucial moment in the franchise and helped remind players that nobody is ever truly safe, no matter how hard they try to enforce rules and habits of safety. Due to the intense emotions and an overwhelming sense of helplessness portrayed in this scene, it will surely be a highlight in HBO’s TV adaptation. I, for one, can’t wait to see how it transitions into television.

Who Plays Henry & Sam in HBO’s The Last of Us?

Henry is played by Lamar Johnson, who is most well-known for his roles as Charlie in All the Bright Places, and Steven in The Hate U Give. Just based on his brief appearance at the end of Episode 4, Lamar looks more than fitting for the role of Henry, bringing back all of the stern looks and overprotective nature from his game counterpart in just a few seconds. It will undoubtedly be interesting to see him play out Henry’s journey, bringing the big brother to life in a new form of media.

Henry promotional image HBO The Last of Us
Image Source: HBO

As for his little brother Sam, the actor responsible for filling this role in HBO’s adaptation is Keivonn Woodard. Sam is Keivonn’s most significant role yet, and if the rest of The Last of Us’ casting is anything to go by, I’m sure he’ll smash it out of the park. Just going off the promotional image alone, Keivonn undoubtedly makes a great physical fit for Sam.

With hints of his childish tendencies appearing in Episode 4 in the form of his superhero drawings, it seems we may get to explore more of Sam’s childlike innocence than the hints that were given in the game, and oh boy, that’s going to make everything so much more emotional. I’m not ready.

Sam promotional image HBO The Last of Us
Image Source: HBO

That’s everything you need to know about who Henry and Sam are in HBO’s The Last of Us. For more helpful guides, lists, and news, check out the rest of our content. We have a variety of The Last of Us posts that are sure to help you survive the cordyceps outbreak, so feel free to scroll down and have a look at our related posts below.

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Grace Black
Grace is a writer and digital artist from New Zealand with a love for fiction and storytelling. Grace has been writing for Twinfinite for one year and in the games industry for two years. She's an enthusiast of everything spooky, an occasional anime enjoyer, and a die-hard Ghost-Type Pokemon fangirl. Her favorite video games include Overwatch 2, Life is Strange, The Last of Us, Baldur's Gate 3, and Pokemon - all of which she will never tire of.