HBO Max’s nine-episode-series, The Last Of Us, was released on January 15th, 2023 and fans have given nothing but praise to the show as it has been very faithful to the video game which it was based on. This article will serve as a review and recap of the first two episodes. This is a discussion that will contain a spoiler section but it will be placed after the non spoiler review.
Episode 1 starts with a prologue that explains to the viewer what the infection in the show is. It’s said to be a cordyceps disease that was forced by global warming to adapt to warmer weather, allowing it to live inside of humans.
The next scene follows the main character Joel, his brother Tommy, and Joel’s daughter Sarah, a few hours before the outbreak. Some similarities to the game are that Outbreak Day is also Joel’s birthday, some of the dialogue is taken straight from the game, and the outfits they have are similar to that of the game.
Some differences are the years in which the outbreak happened. In the video game, the outbreak starts in 2013, and in the show it’s in 2003. The game places the player minutes before the outbreak and in the show the viewer follows the characters throughout the day.
Eventually, it gets right to the action of the outbreak and it follows Joel, Sarah, and Tommy during the start of the outbreak which is extremely similar to the game’s outbreak. Only improvements that were made were to further immerse the viewer into the world
20 years pass as we follow Joel accompanied by a new character Tess, in the overrun and destroyed world as he is tasked to deliver a girl named Ellie westward to a group called the Fireflies, as she may be what humanity needs to create a cure for the cordyceps infection.
This episode captured the feel of the game in such a brilliant way and has had fans rejoice. It has stuck close to its source material and only improved upon it.
Rotten tomatoes have given this first episode 4/5, IGN has given it a 9/10, and IMDB gave it a 9.2/10.
SPOILERS AHEAD: This episode was very faithful to the game, the outbreak happened in a similar way, and as mentioned before, was only improved upon.
In the game, a car exploding caused Tommy to crash the car Joel and Sarah were in, but in the show, the wheel of a falling airplane caused the collision, making the scene more immersive and more engaging for audiences. They were also able to make the death of Sarah feel just as impactful and sad as it was in the game, if not more so because of Pedro Pascal’s, who plays Joel, amazing performance.
In both show and game her death set the tone for how dark and depressing the story will be. The inclusion of Joel’s PTSD from the event if wasn’t included in the game and it’s shown to viewers when he remembers the death of his daughter when a guard is shining a light at his face with a firearm as he tries to harm Ellie after learning she is infected.
Episode 2 starts off with another cold open that further explains the cordyceps infection and gives more detail as to how and why it spread in the first place. Fans have given much praise to these opening scenes as the context they provide gives them a much better understanding of the infection than the game did.
After the opening, viewers catch up with Joel, Tess, and Ellie as they wander through a destroyed and infected Boston. They embark on their journey to deliver Ellie to the Boston Capitol. They get to know each other and share stories with each other.
As they near the Boston Capitol, they discover that they have to go through the old museum where they encounter their first major issue, Clickers.
Clickers are those who have an evolved type of fungus that develops after one has been infected for a year. The evolved fungus takes over the infected mind and removes their sight, gives them echolocation and gives their head protection
The scene as a whole surprised fans for the amazing makeup used for the Clickers and the great horror vibe it had showing the protagonists trying to make as little noise as possible because any sound will provoke the Clickers.
As they overcome these first few obstacles, they make it to the capital where they then discover a horrific sight.
SPOILER: All of the members they were trying to reach had died fighting each other as one of them got infected and attacked the others. Tess was also shown to be infected just as in the game.
The “Hive Mine System” alerted the main characters that the infected were approaching and there was no other choice except for Tess to sacrifice herself in order to save Joel and Ellie. It was also shown that Ellie was bitten by a Clicker but her infection had not spread while Tess’s infection had spread all throughout her neck.
Tess’s death was also done in a much more meaningful way in the show than in the game because instead of blowing up the entire building with all of the infected inside with gasoline and a lighter, she just slowed down the guards.
The first two episodes were fantastic as it stayed true to the source material and only improved upon it. Fans were truly impressed by the level of quality and care that this project has received from the directors and actors..
The show is only getting started and has been regarded as the best video game adaptation ever created by many including fans and critics alike, take it upon yourself to indulge in the rest of the series and follow our protagonists on their journey through an infected world.