The Last Of Us Review

Sofia Nieto, Editor

In a world where climate change has taken its toll, cordyceps fungus makes its way to humans; ultimately causing a world-wide outbreak, with the fungus taking control of any host it sees fit. 


HBO’s The Last of Us explores the possibilities of a post-apocalyptic scenario where infected hosts roam the once-livable world, and how these non-infected humans survive and rule in this broken world.


However – though the show is mainly focused around the complications and fears of the post-apocalyptic world – The Last of Us is a story about love and the lengths one will go to protect the ones they love. 


The most notable aspect of the show is that it is based on a story from the award-winning video game “The Last of Us: Part l” created by Naughty Dog and directed by Neil Druckmann back in 2013. 


With Neil Druckmann also being the lead director for HBO’s adaptation of the show, we get to see the true depths of these characters unlike fans have seen in the game previously. 


The Last of Us takes us through the journey shared between a stubborn and menacing man known as Joel Miller (played by Pedro Pascal), and an immune teenage girl known as Ellie Williams (played by Bella Ramsey). 


After the outbreak, the story takes us to 2033 in a Boston quarantine zone where the current feared government authority known as “FEDRA” rules over a large body of survivors. 


Anti-FEDRA supporters, known as the “Fireflies,” are holding Ellie in a cell to run tests as she is noticeably immune to the cordyceps, giving the world a glimpse of hope as she could be the key to a vaccine. 


Marlene, the leader of the Fireflies, seeks the help of Joel Miller and Tess – known smugglers in the QZ – to transport Ellie to the University of Eastern Colorado; where the Firefly base can ultimately study the reactions in her brain to the cordyceps to reverse engineer a vaccine. 


This is when we begin to see the complicated yet beautiful relationship between Joel and Ellie develop as they travel across the country together in hopes to reach the fireflies. 


Though the show is set in a post-apocalyptic world consumed by infected looking to kill anything in its path, Ellie and Joel’s journey takes us through the story of these characters and the people they meet along the way – whether they be good or bad. 


The tense, fearful, and often overwhelming scenarios these characters find themselves in as they travel across the country begin to unravel the true appreciation they share for one another – regardless of the “tough” facade both of them tend to project.  


With one of the largest game fanbases in our generation and over 200 game awards won, Neil Druckmann’s “The Last of Us: Part l” has became one of the most popular games in the world. 


Though given the extreme popularity of this game, the harsh reality is that many people will never actually pick up a controller to experience and immerse themselves in the story – which is where The Last of Us on HBO Max comes in. 


The show consists of nine, one-hour long episodes that break down the most integral parts of the story that were once explored through the video game. 


Each episode revolves around a specific group of characters that become a part of Ellie and Joel’s journey.


From episode 3 exploring the relationship of Bill and Frank, episode 5 exploring Ellie and Joel’s journey with Henry and Sam, to ultimately episode 7 exploring Ellie’s backstory with her best friend Riley – which was based on the DLC version (add on) to the original game called “The Last of Us: Left Behind” – the show explores the complexities of love and how these real and raw connections don’t just “fade away” in a post-apocalyptic world. 


Again with the game having an overwhelmingly large and defensive fanbase, there was bound to be controversy surrounding the casting of these iconic characters – regardless of who they chose. 


Bella Ramsey’s casting as “Ellie” received backlash from countless fans, as many thought she didn’t “look the part”. 


However, as shown throughout the series, Ramsey has portrayed this character in a way no one else had expected – bringing more depth to the character of Ellie then fans have ever seen before.


Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal’s chemistry and overall performance of these two characters made the show an emotional rollercoaster to watch – their combined range of portraying emotions is real and genuine, giving the show the depth it needs to stand out from the original video game variation fans have already experienced before. 


As if HBO’s The Last of Us wasn’t anticipated enough with the premiere scoring 4.7 million viewers, the show’s popularity grew exponentially throughout the season, with the finale ultimately bringing in 8.2 million viewers on the day of its release. 


In contrast, HBO’s House of the Dragon (A Game of Thrones prequel) scored 9.9 million viewers on the day of its release, and 9.3 million viewers for the finale. 


Given the extreme popularity of the show, Neil Druckmann went on to announce that season two is already on the way; the story being derived from the video game “The Last of Us: Part ll” which was released back in 2020. 

The show’s premiere was on January 15th, releasing a new episode every Sunday, and now all nine episodes of The Last of Us are available to stream on HBO max.