The Last of Us T.V. Show Sprouts A Whole Fan Base

The Last of Us Breaks New Records on HBO Max, Completely Outshining HBO’s Past Shows!

Linnea Sundquist, Entertainment Section Editor

*Contains Spoilers!*

Based on the video game by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us is HBO’s new original hit tv show and fans could not be more excited for this adaptation of the video game. While the video game was released in 2013, due to the release of the show.a new generation of fans have joined The Last of Us fandom. In fact, the season finale had a total of 8.2 million viewers despite being released on the same night as The Oscars. HBO’s The Last of Us is a gorgeous show both emotionally and intellectually, it added a whole new perspective of the iconic video game. 


The plot follows Joel, played by Pedro Pascal, who is tasked to smuggle an immune girl named Ellie, played by Bella Ramsey, across the United States in hopes of potentially creating a vaccine for the deadly fungus outbreak that took over the world 20 years ago. For those who haven’t played the game, the writers of the show do an excellent job explaining exactly how the fungus, or cordyceps, were able to infect the human body and spread all over the world with a bone-chilling cold open in episode one. The cold open begins all the way back in the 1960’s during a live broadcasted interview among two scientists discussing the possibility of a world-wide pandemic. What makes this cold open so chilling is how we’re made to understand that with viruses and bacteria, humans have always been able to defeat it. But cordyceps have no vaccinations or cures and hypothetically if this were to happen, human life would essentially be destroyed which makes this so tense to watch on screen. It’s perfectly chilling and horrifying, while also perfectly capturing the horror that will later be brought in the first episode and later ones as well. 


One thing I had a deep appreciation for was the casting for Joel and Ellie. I was blown away by their performances and both Pascal and Ramsey brought these characters to life in such a beautiful way. Each actor not only portrayed the character accurately, but also made it their own in a special way and weren’t direct copies of their video game counterparts. While the acting was incredible, I also loved the chemistry between Pascal and Ramsey. In the video game, the relationship between Joel and Ellie is very fundamental to the story and both actors nailed the build up in their relationship. 


Creator of the tv show, Craig Mazin, and creator of the video game, Neil Druckmann, did such an incredible job of making the show very unique and different from the game. When you are playing the video game, there is a lot more action and violence, whereas in the tv show the creators had to find other ways to create action within the plot, so they mainly focused more on the “emotional violence” and how that affects the characters within the story. For example, at the beginning of the very first episode we see Joel experience loss by losing his daughter. The creators were able to show how this affected Joel by how closed off as a character he truly is, but learns to grow as he becomes a parental figure in Ellie’s life. This is also so important because in the video game the player is more focused on the gameplay which gives the creators of the show way more room to play around with the depth of these characters. 


The visual effects of the show actually made my jaw drop. The design of the clickers was so horrifying but had me in awe at the same time, it felt as if they were pulled straight out of the video game. Designed by Barrie Gower, who was also behind “Vecna” in Stranger Things season four, did an incredible job of bringing these terrifying creatures to life. Other visual aspects that were stunning to witness was definitely the gorgeous camera work. The scenes that were shot during the winter season were so gorgeous and I also loved how the cinematographer was able to convey emotion in certain scenes just by the angle of the camera. 


More praise has to be given to the writers’ abilities to integrate the broad theme of love throughout the episodes, specifically the overwhelming love a parent feels for their child. I think there is a very common misconception of how love really is which can not always be good and the writers nail that. Mazin is able to show how violence comes from the source of love and he shows it through multiple relationships in the show, not just Joel and Ellie. No matter how it is shown, it’s always the same pattern. Joel’s purpose in life is for him to be a father or a parental figure and when someone threatens to take that away from him, he will stop at nothing to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. 


Intellectually, this show makes you question your own morals as you are watching specifically, in the finale of the show. When Joel and Ellie finally make it across the United States, Ellie is taken into surgery to determine if her immunity can develop a vaccine. The only issue is that this surgery will kill Ellie. Joel is faced with either saving the world or saving the only thing that makes the world purposeful, Ellie. This ending was controversial for fans in many ways and I personally think that there is no correct “answer” here. Anyone can think of a powerful argument for either side but the point that writers are trying to make is that love can make anyone bring out the most violent parts of themselves. 

Overall, I absolutely fell in love with this show as well as the message portrayed and think this show has the power to change someone’s life which makes The Last of Us a great example of beautiful writing. Everything from the visual effects to the acting was just so amazing to witness and I can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for season two.