This Restorative Justice Life

Can You Still Live Restoratively in the Apocalypse? (The Last of Us Episodes 1-4) [Restorative Justice Reflections]

February 07, 2023
Can You Still Live Restoratively in the Apocalypse? (The Last of Us Episodes 1-4) [Restorative Justice Reflections]
This Restorative Justice Life
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This Restorative Justice Life
Can You Still Live Restoratively in the Apocalypse? (The Last of Us Episodes 1-4) [Restorative Justice Reflections]
Feb 07, 2023

Hey everyone, this is an episode about restoratively reflecting to HBO's apocalyptic drama "The Last of Us" Episodes 1-4 w/ Kala Mendoza.

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SUPPORT by sharing this podcast, leaving a rating or review, or make a tax-deductible DONATION to help us sustain and grow this movement

Show Notes Transcript

Hey everyone, this is an episode about restoratively reflecting to HBO's apocalyptic drama "The Last of Us" Episodes 1-4 w/ Kala Mendoza.

Support Kala

Check out our LIVE Events

Send us feedback at

Join our Mighty Networks platform to connect with other people doing this work!

Rep Amplify RJ Merch 

You can connect with Amplify RJ:
Email list, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Website, Reading list, YouTube, and TikTok!

SUPPORT by sharing this podcast, leaving a rating or review, or make a tax-deductible DONATION to help us sustain and grow this movement

Support the Show.

Send us feedback at

Join our Amplify RJ Community platform to connect with others doing this work!

Check out our latest learning opportunities HERE

Rep Amplify RJ Merch

Connect with us on:
Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Threads, YouTube, and TikTok!

SUPPORT by sharing this podcast, leaving a rating or review, or make a tax-deductible DONATION to help us sustain and grow this movement

David: Welcome to the Amplify RJ podcast feed. Coming to you with a new show, restorative Justice Reflections. Last Friday, we dropped a surprise episode reflecting on episode three of the Last of Us, which is a culmination of a project I've been wanting to do for responding to things that we see in media or pop culture that inspire conversations about restorative justice practices, philosophy, and values.

On Thursdays, this feed will still feature conversations on the show, this restorative justice life with people embodying restorative justice practices in their day-to-day lives. But on Tuesdays for the next couple of weeks, I'll be taking time to have conversations with Kalaya'an Mendoza, director of Mutual Protection at Nonviolent Peace Force about the restorative themes that we find in the H B O Postapocalyptic Drama, the Last of us.

So let's get into it. Restorative Justice Reflections is a show where we take time to reflect on things that are happening in media that provoke restorative questions. The thoughts reflected here are not our critique of the story or production choices of the creators of what we critique because art is a reflection of people's lived experiences and people are limited by what they know.

We don't expect multi-billion dollar corporations to produce media that is liberatory. And art that reflects this idyllic perfect world isn't often compelling. But we hope this conversation helps make connections between the themes present in the story and how we can co-create a world where people and communities have what they need to survive and thrive.

This week we're reflecting on episodes one through four of HBO's post-apocalyptic drama. The last of us, because we dropped a surprise episode last week about episode three. We thought that this week we would do a first half of the season reflection. So this conversation will be spanning our thoughts on episodes one, two, a little bit of three.

And heavily four. And next week we'll start taking things one episode at a time. As I was thinking about how to frame this conversation about this post-apocalyptic world where people and infected are causing each other so much harm, the words of - were really resonant for me. Trauma decontextualize in a person over time can look like personality, trauma.

Decontextualize in a family over time can look like family traits, trauma decontextualize in a people over time can look like culture. So as we drop you into this conversation with Kala and I, I wanna invite you to keep those words in the back of your mind. Here we go. Welcome back, Kala. You know, we've had such a great response from our community about this episode.

I know it's not for everyone, so like, thank you for sticking with us in the speed. But today we are not only recapping episode four, we did episode three last week, but we didn't start from the beginning with the show. So this is a conversation about episodes one, two, you know, we'll work in three and four of the last of us season one.

We've started with. Learning about, you know, the fungal infection, its origins. We've seen Joel's origin story where he was, when the when the infection really kicked off. And then we've seen him Meet Ellie and start the journey across the country with Tess losing Tess, encountering Bill.

So much has happened, you know, having our background, knowing the game. We know some more context about the things that have happened and you know, that part of the conversation is gonna be at the very, very end. So like no spoilers for what's been shown beyond with been on the show on HBO right now, but, you know, what are your impressions of the season so far?

Kalaya'an: It's so good. . It's, so, this really is a, a faithful adaptation of the show. I, excuse me, of the game. I'm really looking forward to what other folks are thinking, what folks are experiencing. The way that it is framed and kind of like the parallels with what's happening now is is quite interesting.

Yeah, yeah. I'm, I, I look forward to 9:00 PM Sunday every, 

David: Week. 6:00 PM Pacific. Well, and honestly, like I'm not watching it at 6:00 PM that's like getting ready for bedtime with my , with my little one. But like, that's why we get to have these conversations later on. So we have time to digest, reflect, listen to some other people's takes.

Right? This conversation is not like a breakdown of all the Easter eggs and all those things that like other people who you may be listening to or watching have, but we're really trying to pull. Restorative themes, themes about our collective liberation that we can apply to our lives today. And so, you know, from episode one and two, since we talked about episode three last week as we learned the start of this infection, we learned the origin stories.

What were some of the themes that were really present for you? Or like had you thinking about, you know, restorative justice, our collective liberation, all of that? 

Kalaya'an: Yeah. , I mean, centrally, and I'll always say this like this is a, a story about love, right? 

David: Mm-hmm. , 

Kalaya'an: how love vbcan look like when it is in a when it is generative or how love can look like when it is more on the inverse, very like savior heavy and not really about, thinking about the agency or autonomy of others I think the, the main themes for me is you know protection. It is, how to how to navigate when you are in a hyper aroused state constantly and living in a state of trauma and violence. Yeah. What are your thoughts? 

David: Yeah. You know, as I was watching, knowing the video game, And knowing what was probably coming in this episode episode four, what was coming up for me was that there's this scene where, you know, there's a man on the side, a man in the middle of the road, pretending that he heard similarly in the first episode.

We had families crying out to Joel, Tommy, and Sarah at the time. For help and Joel just keeps driving. And you know what, I think what I, what I think about that when that happens is like, what are the conditions under, like, which you have no empathy for other people where you are just out to protect you and yours, however you define that.

Right? You know, that is selfish love. Like, and we're often in this, in the circumstances where we're talking about like, oh no, like, take care of yourself before you take care of others. And like, where are the boundaries of that? Well, that's true, right? If you had stopped to take care of that family on the side of the road you might have been put in more danger one by virtue of stopping period, right?

Like infected could have like come and attacked you two. Those people could have been infected by, you know, eating the bread flour. Like you, you don't know. Or like you would've been more conspicuous by like traveling in a, in a bigger party, right? But Joel's like, It's just gonna be us, me, my brother, and my daughter.

We're gonna keep pushing, like, where does that come from for him? Right? We learn a little bit more context about, you know, him feeling like a protector of not only like Sarah his daughter in the first episode who dies at the hands of Fedra, which you know, we'll talk about later. But like also of his younger brother Tommy, as someone who he sees as like, who has a good heart, but like is gullible naive, is prone to

joining up with causes that like are gonna end up putting him in danger. He wants to protect those people that he cares about. And it comes at the expense of all the other people that he leaves behind. And I think like we, everybody has to decide like how far your people, quote unquote, your people extends out, right?

Who are the people that you're gonna demonstrate X, Y, Z levels of care too? . You know, I think later in our conversations in the feed we'll have conversations about pods and like how we're, how we can extend care or set boundaries with certain people and like what we're willing to do. But like in post apocalyptic times or, but really even in times like we're navigating now where we do have finite resources, we do have forces that are operating against us.

You know what, like, how are we conscious about the decisions that we're making about when we're extending care or not? It's not as dramatic, but like, you know, the person who's unhoused panhandling on the corner, like asking for help, like most often. I like keep pushing, right? Keep walking. Sometimes, like generally there's acknowledgement for my part.

Like, Hey, I see you as a human. I, I'm not gonna contribute like monetarily to like your wellbeing, right? Because of, you know, time and convenience. And, you know, I have finite financial resources and like, you know, that's not a direct parallel to like helping someone who's injured in the apocalypse, but like, you know, where, how do you navigate like drawing those boundaries for yourself?

Kalaya'an: Well I wanna take it back a bit in terms of like what has informed this narrative of the last of us and a lot of post apocalyptic. Dramas that have kind of make a dog eat dog mentality. If we look at the the book in the film the Lord of the Flies. Yeah, right. It tells a story about a group of British school boys that basically kill each other nearly kill each other because of limited finite resources on Desert Island.

It's actually based on a true story of Tunin school voice who didn't do. They were, they actually built they were on an island by themselves for 18 months. These were folks that were stranded and rather than coming at each other's throats, they built a community where they had pigs, they had like chickens.

They were able to sustain themselves and each other, and they were actually healthier after they were rescued than when they started. So I think this is just really. Questioning the, the tropes or the narratives that we have been fed in a white, settler colonial state that says that we have to be against one another, right?

As restorative justice healing justice and so many frameworks that are built from the work of black and indigenous, thought leaders. I think it's important for us to think about what is a world that we are trying to build and how can we start practicing that today? Right. And I think that's why amplify RJ and all of the work that y'all do is just so important because it gives us a practical.

Applications of re-envisioning a world that isn't based in fascism, that isn't based in disposability of, you know, anyone in our communities. I think that when we look at what's happening around us, because we are in, it feels like Postapocalyptic times. 

David: part of it, what came, what it came down to is like, you know, what are the conditions that allow us to be like on this heightened like level where we are working against each other or like being really skeptical of each other, and like, how do you now navigate those boundaries to which you extend care or, you know, say like, this is what I can give now.

Right. You know, it might not be, you're not often driving by somebody on the side of the road like asking for like medical attention, , but like we're often encountered with lots of people with needs and you know, we choose to engage or not. How do you navigate like when to help or not? How do you set those boundaries?

Kalaya'an: Yeah. I think it's really about doing a self-assessment about what your capacity is to support in the moment. This is one thing that we share with folks that we work with either on the ground protecting our protests or in communities, is doing a self-assessment. Like, what can I offer for support right now?

And that's really knowing, you know, the access to resources that you have that you can extend without putting depleting yourself in that, whether that's through emotional care and labor or physical protection, material resource. I'm, yeah, yeah. Yes. Knowing what our resources are, how we can best support and, speaking to those and finding out and really reinforcing the autonomy of someone that we're there to provide mutual aid for what do they need and if we're able to meet those needs, to be able to provide those resources.

David: It's really interesting to see the way that this story has been chosen to be told. Right. Pedro Pascal. Chilan by nationality is white presenting in this framework. Right? Thinking about him being a Texan and not to paint a broad brush, but many of the tropes and stereotypes apply to that version of one Texans, two men, like being like emotionally repressed.

but like caring deeply in very specific circumstances, like forming deep attachments to specific people and doing whatever it takes to protect, you know, he's been socialized in a certain way, right? You know, both like, like I'm someone who like, fully grew up in US culture and while Southern California culture is not the same thing as Texas culture, like many of those same things are apparent to me, but I don't get to navigate the world in the same way because.

that's not how I would socialize. As we're thinking about statistically, because I know the Amplify RJ audience, most of the people listening to us right now are not like white presenting men. also not white presenting men who like have access to guns and like necessarily have that ethic. But like, as we're thinking about moving through this world in ways that will keep us safe and provide for the people that we care about.

This do it at all costs mentality, even in even in efforts to, you know, take care of ourselves, take care of each other, like can look really messed up. in the show. We've seen the way that a lot of people, by nature of just surviving, have had to do really shady things that have caused other people harm.

And, you know, you can take the compensating among. On the left, right? There's like no ethical consumption under capitalism. And I think, you know, that's in some way true. Like there's no ethical surviving in like this post-apocalyptic world. But, you know, how do you think about like navigating those, those boundaries and like when it's okay to cross as like when is it okay to hurt people in order to like get what you need?

Kalaya'an: That's a really great question and I think that it is important for us to look into ourselves and see. , yes, our ancestors have ex we have experienced violence and trauma and have handed it down, but they've also handed down survival resilience joy. And I think for me, I always think about how will this impact the world that we are fighting for?

Does what does the theory of what I am doing, Match the practice of what I am doing, because if I cause more harm in the long run, is it really you know, is this really an an action I want to take? And I think that it, it comes up a lot in the, in the show where folks ask like, what can you do non-violently in this situation?

And I think that's a question for folks. It's like, how do we, when we saw Ellie, they've gone through, a fasc. Schooling that has taught them basically to be as child soldier and to dehumanize others seeing Ellie's response at the beginning to playing with the gun and you know, even swelling the gun powder on it to the moment when they actually had to enact violence.

I think it's a question to us about what does it cost us to subscribe to a white settler colonial way of thinking. Either when it applies to violence, when it applies to protection, What are the frameworks that we can utilize now that, and practice now that can inform how we operate in the future?

David: Yeah, I hope. Nobody listening to this podcast is ever on, like either side of a gun in those situations. Right? And like those might not be like the most like, applicable frameworks to think about, right? I do think the show does a really good job of like not making it in a video game because like at this point in the video game through Episode four, you've killed hundreds of people, probably like thoughtlessly.

You know, in this show, like every person who has been killed, right? You're thinking about like the Federalist soldier who, like Joel knew because he was selling him drugs before, or like even the three people in this space, and I'm trying to think if anyone else was, any other people were killed. And some people, like they did a really good job of like helping us understand that like violence is personal.

Like that kind of killing is attached. A person who has a family who has a story who is a valued part of community. Right. And, you know, Ellie processing having done that or at least caused harm, hurting someone in this time and space, like is really reconciling with the cost. I was listening to the pod, the official HBO o the last of us podcast, and, you know, We're thinking about now, episode four, Ellie crying, like after she shot the person one of the creators was talking about how like she wasn't crying because of what she did.

She was crying because she didn't feel like she was strong enough to like finish the job. And like, you know, what cost is? What cost is that this world already taken on this person where like that's the thing that they're thinking about. Not necessarily like Brian and Brian's family and like while I just met him and he was trying to hurt me just now.

I have now like set into motion things that have ended that will end his life. Right. Joel has been dealing with those things for years and years based off of all the things that he's done over the 20 years to survive Right in in his mind. Survive and Right. it's a really good framework to think about. so we talked about how, oh, you and I, before we were recording, we're talking about, you know, this line that Joel said to Ellie. Life not being fair or it's not fair that like she had to do this like cause harm to someone else in order to like protect him and therefore protect herself. But, you know, there are lots of things about the world that people are born into that aren't fair and like, you know, climate crisis being one of those things.

I think it's really interesting, like in the context of this show, like the way that we see like nature come back and like replace humans. Like it shows like the fragility of like who we are. Like we're not at the center of. The ecosystem that we have on Earth, right? We see like one, like plant life overgrowing a lot of things that we've constructed.

But you know, in episode four, right? We see a herd of bison, right? That are, that had almost been extinct. And we know thinking about the ways that like what our absence as humans or like the way that we live the way that that can be generative for nature. . You know, we saw something similar in right at the beginning of Covid, where, you know, here in Southern California, skies were clear because like, not so many people were commuting, and so there was less small.

We think about, you know, fantasy worlds like, you know Avengers end Game, right? we saw like with half the world's population gone, like nature coming back in different ways. While that's not the focus of this show, it's a really important thing for us to like remember and. How we are actively altering the ecosystems that we're a part of oftentimes for harm 

Kalaya'an: Yeah, I mean, I'd be curious to know if what your audience has experienced or the, the the narratives that they've heard or that are very tied to eco fascism around like, if we got rid of all human beings, the world would be better off. But as indigenous water protectors and land defenders have taught, We are part of an ecosystem with ourselves and our more than human relatives, right?

When we saw the bison out there, like, I remember, I remember cheering up because having known known and learned the, the history of their eradication of bison on, on Turtle Island by white settlers. It was an interesting kind of like nod to you know, kind of like a reclamation by nature like you were talking.

So in the scene where we saw Joel and Ellie driving down the freeway and they see the bison by the side of the road, to me that was a really emotional moment because I think it was a reminder that we as human beings are part of an ecosystem. We are not we are by no means a dominant life form in spite of the fact that that's been the narrative that we've been told.

If we truly listen to indigenous water protectors and land offenders who have been talking about the fact that we can be stewards and we can really hold the responsibility of protecting the world and the climate more seriously. Then, you know, the last of us and other postapocalyptic dramas don't have to be prophetic.

Right? And it's, it's an understanding our relationship to each other, to our more than human relatives that can really help inform how do we move through this world? How do we identify what our boundaries are when showing protection? How do we communicate what our needs are to each other as a as a community.

it is this, this show does such a great job of asking us questions, these deeper questions about how will we operate because in the here and now, it does feel like apocalypse times for so many communities.

how do we practice and build towards a world that we want? That is more just verdant and. . 

David: Yeah. You know, we talked about, you know, fascist forces like Fedra in in this case like Fedra being established as an offshoot probably of the US government that like had the ideas of stopping the spread of infection and keeping people safe and safe and quotation marks because a lot of harm was caused, right.

We talked about in last week's episode, right, like quarantine zones being limited and people who couldn't fit in, like being shot. Because like one, they wouldn't fit, but two, like they wouldn't become infected if they're already dead. Right. And so like Fedra is not like this model of like what we want to ascribe to or like aspire to, like to build that like better world, right?

But like we also encounter a group here led by a Kathleen that you know is not, Fedra is probably a group that was like operating in some way, shape, or form autonomously. Killing, taking looting, maybe harvesting like what they needed to survive took over ephedra quarantine zone. And that is now like in flipping like the same kind of of authoritarian punitive methods that, you know, Fedra had and maybe even worse.

It was really interesting in that scene with the doctor in, in. where like she was mocking, you know, the rights that Fedra was supposedly giving to those that they interrogated, including her brother. Right. And, you know, she didn't give the doctor those rights. And what was really interesting that I think is really important for restorative justice practitioners to think about is, you know, the doctor saying, oh, and I'm forgetting the line.

Exactly. Right. Like, like, but we can like put all that aside. We're good now. Like, forget like what I've done. Harm your brother? Like how do we move forward right now in a good way? And there are parts of that line that I resonate with and parts of this line that like aren't quite where I think we should be, right?

When we're saying like, all of those things that have happened in the past, they don't matter. That's like denying like the pain, the hurt that like Kathleen feels. And I'm not saying that like blood for blood, you did this, that caused my brother pain, it caused my brother's death. Like you're gonna. But like, you can't like dismiss that pain.

Just say forget about it. That was in the past forces out of our control. It's the question of like, how do we build, move forward together in a good way that is generative. But so often when restorative justice has been implemented, or restorative justice programs or restorative justice processes have been introduced

people who are acting from a place of power say, let's forget what happened before this. Mm-hmm. , and like, let's, how do we move forward together in a good way? A really good example is, you know, a kid steals something from a liquor store because they're hungry, right? And they go through a restorative process with the owner of the liquor store, the police, the judge, all those things.

Hey, how do we repay this person who Like person who lost revenue because you stole, right? Why isn't the question not what are the conditions that like made you steal in the first place? Like you're a hungry person, you're a hungry kid. Like why has this system failed? Right. And you know, early or on an earlier episode of this podcast, and I don't remember which, so this is a terrible callback.

You know, we had a, someone was telling the story of a judge who. Who like was working with the case very similar to this, but find everyone in the courtroom $50 to give to that kid because like we have created this system that has caused the conditions that this person, this young person feels like that they need to steal in order to move forward together in a good way.

there is a point where like stealing is not ethically wrong. And those lines are fine and nuanced. But when we're thinking about like the way that resources have been allocated and the ways that LE resources are legally moved around, like we might constitute some of those things as stealing.

Right? And like, why is it people who have the least are criminalized for doing things that like are against the law, but like are just trying to meet needs where other people are doing the things. Like horrible wealth. Not a one-to-one comparison with, you know, snitching on somebody to like federal or sorry, fedra authorities ending someone's life.

But right, there are conditions under which that happened. Those conditions were maybe under duress, right? The doctor shares that like he's somebody who like, has affection love. She's the person who delivered Kathleen. And you know, she's forgetting all of that and just saying like, no, because you did this thing.

You're gonna die. . 

Kalaya'an: May, may I ask a question? Yeah. Like a follow up. So as we saw with Kathleen in her group, they replaced a, LA fascistic, Fedra, right. in my time on this planet as an organizer and as activist, I've seen many groups kind of like fall back onto basically using the oppressor's tools to be able to do the work. I'm curious in the work that you've done with, with different collectives, with different organizations that are trying to navigate through. 

I was hoping to kind of like tee you up for not like, here are some things that apply everywhere but more here are things, here are some things to consider when, where we don't wanna replicate harmful systems.

David: I Think in general, like the framework of addressing harm, instead of saying like, Hey, what was the rule that was broken? And who didn't?

How can we punish them? Or like, what does the policy say? What's like the mandatory minimum punishment that gets done? It's, you know, looking at what happened from multiple people's perspectives, who was impacted and how were they impacted? Also, you could also reframe those, like what was the harm and who was harmed?

Who was responsible? And then thinking about what needs need to be adjusted in order to make it right or as right as possible. You know, people can get jammed up in the what happened of it all because like so much of what we've been socialized to do is like look for like objective capital T truth, and like this is exactly what happened and this is why that was wrong.

I think that is important, but like we also have to know that everyone remembers things Differe. Memory is a tricky thing and what's important is the impact of those actions. And so like, while it's not, while we may misremember or not have the same perspective of like, they said this, they said this, they did this, they did that.

The impact and feelings that came out of those things are often the things that are highlighting the needs that need to be addressed. More than like, this is the exact thing that she said, or this is the exact thing that he said. And this is why I did that. It's also helpful to look into the conditions under which the harm happened.

Then maybe you're looking at the policy, like, I thought I was just doing the thing that was right under the policies that we had. And then like, you get to this place where you're as an organization, maybe questioning your policies about why things are that specific way. But I think that's a more direct answer to what you were teaming me up for.

Yeah. . Yeah. 

Kalaya'an: Yes. And if I may ask another question completely. So in the scene where we saw Kathleen kind of like galvanizing the the revolutionaries of the folks that overthrew and replaced fedra, if you were a part of that group as an advisor to Kathleen, because it seems like it's a very hierarchical situation where she's quite literally hunting down.

Henry and Sam what would you do or what advisement would you give as a trusted advisor within this small unit or group? 

David: About what to do with the doctor or just in general? Just in general. Well, yeah, don't kill a doctor. First of all, , right? I. I don't think I'm gonna talk her out of like locking him up, but like, just because he couldn't save that one person doesn't mean he couldn't save other people.

So what? Don't kill a doctor. You know? I think what we are gonna continue to revisit in this season and because what you and I know about this show and game moving forward is like this idea of vengeance. and, and vi the cycle of violence. We don't know what Henry and Sam did. We'll find out next week.

And like, we don't know in the game either, because like the context of like the way that they introduce these characters is different. And I'm really, really excited to see what happens with, you know, two black characters in this post apocolyptic world. Even though, yeah, I'm just gonna shut up because that's gonna like, give things away.

But to go back to like advising Kathleen, you know, we had the scene. where her and her lieutenant like saw what was going, some saw some funky things going on underneath the ground and they chose to ignore that for the time in efforts to like go after, you know, people who see deemed who have like caused some kind of harm to her family.

When the more immediate danger this is speculation because we don't know. This is not a part of the game. So like, we don't actually know, but like there's probably some like funky infected stuff going on underneath that floor. So like, maybe we should address like our safety, right?

Like that self-assessment that you talked about before, before we like go extend our capacity to like chase down these two people who, again, we don't know yet may have caused us harm, but like our, our community safety is more important. .

Kalaya'an: Thank you. 

David: Hey, Kala. Why did the Scarecrow win an award? 

Kalaya'an: I don't know. Why didn't it?

David: Because he was outstanding in his field. . Oh, . You know, you know, these are terrible puns, terrible jokes and like points of connection for Ellie and Joel across episode, like with some level of annoyance earlier on, and less annoyance later. But, you know, what did you think about the use of humor as connection in the space.

Kalaya'an: humor is such a powerful way for us to self-regulate and collectively regulate when we're in a hyper aroused or hypo aroused state if we're in fight or flight, freeze fun. Humor is so humanizing, right? It was beautiful. I, I don't know, I love puns. It's very like, you know Filipino elder giving the jokes.

I thought it was such a beautiful moment of connect. . And then once it, once again, it reminds us that even in the time of apocalypse, these these humanizing moments humor, as silly as it may be reminds us that we are human beings and we do deserve joy. Yeah. What was your take on them? 

David: Well, I mean, I, like, I too am a fa a fan of, of the pun.

And you know, as I really think about like the connection that that generates between like Ellie and Joel, right at the beginning of. Episode, like he literally says like, you're cargo , right? You're not, you're not family. To think about where they end up at the end of the episode, not like where, like, I have like this deep intense love for you as like a daughter and I'm your father figure, right?

But to a point where there is more care because partially because of like the things that they've, the trauma bonding that they're doing, but also because of the familiarity that's being created, I think. You know, a really important thing to like, not just shut off those parts of us because we're facing serious times, right?

Like these are like even like on our level of discourse around like this pretty serious show, like we are like being pretty serious. That's just generally the way that like I'm move the, the world. But it doesn't mean that like there's not spaces for levity and points of connection. And I think like really logistically thinking about like the role of humor in restorative justice or restorative justice processes, I'm thinking back to a.

in circle where an elder talked to me about, you know, the role of humor and making sure that like, we're using humor that connects. Instead of like humor that is alienating to people and Right. It's hard to judge whether or not a sentence or a statement or a specific joke is going to cause harm to someone or someone in that space, right?

Like we all have our limitations for what we know and limited knowledge about other people in their backgrounds. But like puns, generally are really like safe way to do that even though like, okay. , like I intentionally in this conversation, like use the scarecrow scarecrow joke and not the diarrhea one.

Right. Because like, who's that gonna turn off in our audience? Probably no one, but let's keep it safe. . Yeah. Right. The, like, those are the things that I think about. 

Kalaya'an: Yeah. It's really, humor needs to it needs to speak to everyone in the room and it can't target anyone. Yeah. And that, I think that's the, the power of it.

It's an invitation to joy in these like small moments when. We need it. One of my dear comrades and friends who have, we've done on the groundwork here in New York and around the country one of the things, one of their approaches is to use dance as a form of deescalation. So I think we all have the ability to to infuse moments of intensity, moments of fear with a reminder of our humanity.

And that that frivolity. That childlike joy is so important to have. And I'm so glad that they woven that into the to the story this week. 

David: So we're gonna get into like all the things about Sam and Henry next week. I'm, I'm, like I said, I'm really excited to explore those parts of the story that was like one of my favorite parts of the game. And I can't wait to see what they come to next. And so we'll be back next week hopefully on Tuesday.

with another reflection, like solely focused on episode five. We're gonna get to like our spoiler corner in a minute, but before we go , you know, you know, one of the reasons that I have you on Kala is to talk about, right? Is to bring your expertise as a prepper, like, or as you say, a low-key prepper.

But like, you know, for people I know, like you're pretty, you're pretty high-key. You're pretty like prepared. And today you put out an Instagram post sharing like what in your go bag this. And so like, let's call this segment of Kala's practical. Oh dang, what did I say? Kala's Practical prepper corner.

And, you know, share with us, you know, what has come up for you and like how you've thought about prepping for the apocalypse . Yeah. Logistically packing prepping for the apocalypse. 

Kalaya'an: Well, as a as a California boy, we are pretty much raised to to be prepared for the big one, the big earthquake.

I think prepping for me is not so much let me hoard all of these resources and keep them to myself. But rather, how do I think about protecting myself while I think about protecting the overall community? I did a an interview with time Magazine at the beginning of this pandemic around disaster preparedness and why it's important for us to think about community first because we will never survive through any kind of disaster without community.

And for me. Starting with a go bag is a first step for a lot of folks. And, you know, people may be really overwhelmed with like, what, where do I start off with? Right? And it's, it's once again, starting off with that self-assessment, like looking at what are the likely threats that you might experience, what's the likely risk or harm to yourself?

What are your vulnerabilities and what are your capacities or resources, the resources that you have and the resources that you need. By starting off with that, it'll help kind of give a. Like guidance on how what you perhaps. So for instance, in I live in New York City, in Jackson Heights Queens.

I can walk home in about, you know, an hour from my office. So I know that I'll always need to have shoes at the ready. I'll if there were an EMP blast, knock on wood, or as the. You know, the Office of Emergency Affairs here in New York was warning us about a nuclear attack. If something were to happen, what are the things I would need to do in order to get home?

So prepping is really about planning, and it helps. I'm a very anxious person, , and I need to be able to know that I have what I need in order to keep myself safe as I you know, make sure that my neighbors are safe. So some things that folks might. Questions that folks have had is like, where do I start?

Can I, you know do I need to buy all this stuff at r ei? Can I buy this at a, you know, 99 cents store? And first of all, we don't have to buy into consumerism and capitalism when it comes into pre preparing ourselves for disaster. It really is about looking at what we have access to right now.

So if you have extra socks, just putting away, you know socks into a a bag backpack. If we look at what Joel and Ellie has, like what are the, what are the essentials that you need based on your you know, based on your own respective means that you've identified. Really quickly I will just share with folks to think about these three things.

You always wanna have some form of protection from the elements, whether that is, you know a poncho, rain poncho something to protect you from the sun. This can be clothing. This doesn't necessarily need to be likea tent, But thinking about like, how do I protect myself from the elements? How am I going to carry or filter water in the event that one needs to do that?

And there's a whole bunch of ways to look at this. We might talk more about this in depth at a later date. But how do I carry and filter water? And then lastly, and I think really importantly, like what's my plan of action? Do I need to get home you know, like five spoilerss away by foot? Do I need to figure out how I'm gonna go?

Meet up with my family or those I love. It's really about thinking about what is your what are the things that you need to do in order to protect yourself and others in a time of disaster? But once again, this is gonna be very like, personal to folks. It's gonna be highly individual based on your needs.

But really kind of starting from what are my likely threats? What are the resources I have access to, and what are the ones that I need? And really slowly building up from there, because you don't wanna just go out and just like buy a bunch os stuff. Right. Yeah. Once again, we don't have to subscribe to the disaster capitalism or you know, just buying things.

It's really important to be able to practice what we ha or to identify what we already have to practice with it. Whether it's making sure that you know, the socks that you have are actually gonna last longer than a spoilers. And really having a plan of action for how do you keep yourself safe.

So, yeah, that would be helpful. . 

David: Yeah, I think it really is. One of the things that I was thinking as this episode was going is like, I'd be so screwed without Google Maps. Right. You know, Ellie was trying to like read a map and like, you know, this is like my second time in the car, man. Like, how am I supposed to like know?

And like, I think, you know, in the world that we live in, like I can get around like my neighborhood and like la freeways, like decently on my own, but like right beyond that, Are maps a part of like that plan, like, and it's gonna be personal to everyone. We're gonna revisit Kala's practical prepper corner as we go on.

And so if you have questions Kala Mendoza on Instagram they just posted an example of their go bag. So if you wanna reference that you can find them there. Right now we're inviting everyone who has not played the games and doesn't want spoilers for things to come to sign off.

We'll be back in this feed with another episode of this restorative justice life on Thursday. But then back for restorative justice reflections on episode five of the last of us next week. So this is your warning if you don't want spoilers, . Alright. When we're thinking about like the things to come and this dynamic of, you know, being this person who is like now opening up to Ellie being like both through, through jokes and like familiarity, like learning how to hold a gun.

Like what came up for you. Like also like knowing where the story goes. . 

Kalaya'an: Yeah. Because in, in the show, Joel was like, I guess you gotta learn how to, you know, use it in the game. He was much more. Right. And very only in the end acquiesce him was in the game, was like even angry that Ellie had to shoot the hunter or the Raider that was on top of him.

Whereas it was very different in the show. I think that it's interesting how they're portraying Joel in this and also, I, I'm, I'm curious to know kind of like what Ellie's fedra training was, right? Or was there even training on this? knowing what we know about kind of at that point on the ledge and the game when Joel gives Ellie the the rifle to kind of like, shoot.

Shoot our Raiders and walkers or Raiders and infected. How do you see this kind of like, planning out from the split or this playing out from the split from the game to the show? 

David: So like, I just wanna make sure that I, like I have a question, right? Like, like how do I imagine them playing out the dynamic of Joel's willingness to let Ellie like enact violence?

Yeah. Yeah. . I don't know. Right. You know, Joel's not a pacifist like, but like in this game, sorry. In the show, Joel like shows a lot more. I don't, I don't know if I would call it like regret remorse, but like, it is like sensitivity to like, Taking life is hard and it takes a toll. And like wanting to prevent el, prevent Ellie from being in those situations as much as possible.

I think like when we think about the game, there are ways to play the game that like you take as little life as possible. Right. I watched this YouTube play through where like, you know, there's only like. , a handful of points in the game where you actually have to kill people. Like the, the sniper scene, like that rifle scene like is actually one of those places where like the game just like forces you to think.

Like, but like there's so many other ways that like, you can just sneak around people and you know, it, it might be more or less difficult depending on like your skills with the, with the game pad. But it, it will be interesting to see like how much they lean into violence. This out of control, repressed person whose like rage comes out in a moment versus like this person who is trying to like live as peaceful a life as possible, like avoiding detection, avoiding harm both needing to cause harm and having cause harm, right?

Because like when Ellie asks him like, you know, have you killed innocent people? Like obviously in one framing of the question, the answer is yes, but I would also contend like in the framework of. nobody is a good or bad guy. We just have like protagonists, as antagonists from a certain point of view to live survive this long in this world.

As I said earlier in this conversation you've had to do shady things. You've had to do things that have caused people harm, and so like where they decide to fall on one side or the other of that remains to be seen. 

Kalaya'an: Yeah. Any other spoiler thoughts? Oh, I have so much. Well no, I don't wanna prespoil too many things.

But I would be curious to know from from the audience would you kind of go in the direction that Joel is going where it's like, you need to protect Elliot at all costs by any means necessary? Or what would you possibly do to kind of be able to protect Ellie, but also to live in harm?

I don't know. It's, these are questions that I always think about, you know, I'm not a pacifist either. I believe. . we enact violence in many different ways, but I'm all about how do we lessen the harm to ourselves and others. Right. ju just going back to the show and not necessarily the, the game.

David: what were, what was gonna be the connection to like, this episode for like the first half of the season? 

Kalaya'an: You know, looking at how vengeance plays out for Kathleen mm-hmm. shooting the doctor. Like what what ends up happening, you know, like we saw Brian and there was someone else the person I believe that jumped in front of the car first, right?

They, they, the guy said that they were a bgoner, right? , were they a doctor , you know? Yeah. So I, I think it's all about the consequences in order for us, you know, to protect. So like, looking at that more personally, like what are the consequences of Joel depriving Ellie of their autonomy and agency in a moment when, you know, but I guess we could talk about that near the end.

Yeah. Yeah. Sorry, that's, yeah. It is just hard to follow up, like episode three with, you know, it was just so intense, right? Like mm-hmm. . And I think for me, as you know, like I said, middle-aged Queer person. the line, we're older means we're here just kind of like resonated. It's not to say that this was a filler episode by any means, but I think it was like setting up for what's gonna be happening in the next episode, which I think is gonna be really intense.

It's just also it, yeah, I'm getting, I'm getting like the game in the, the show like mixed up cuz I was like, in the game, none of these Raiders were a part of a group or they. You know, they were there just there to be an obstacle. But in the show, I think we're, you know, we're definitely gonna see more more depth.

And we don't, don't have Kathleen, we don't have like the, the lieutenant. I'm just curious to see kind of like where the the writers kind of take this. So, yeah. 

David: you know, we talked about how, you know, Joel's mission, right? Is like to get LA to where she needs to go, but like that's not really his mission.

His mission is like still to defi, to find Tommy, find his brother. Right. And it's interesting to see how like they, the character development will play out. Like what are the beats, what are the things that will happen that like continues to build that relationship with Ellie? Right? There's going to be a lot more that happens and you know, he's gonna eventually like, try to pawn off Ellie on Tommy.

At least that's what happens in. Right, because Tommy's a firefly, you can go finish this mission, but, you know, what are the trauma bonds or like, what are the, like actual other bonds that's gonna like, have him, you know, really decide to like, no, it is my responsibility to protect, or at least like, see this through because like, he's not there yet.

Hmm. Like, you know, empowering her with a firearm right now is a matter of practicality. Not about like care . Yeah. So many more things to talk about within the context of the show. Really excited to come back next week. Take care until then