The Last of Us: Is it Really the Last?

A look into the show adaptation of the hit video game “The Last of Us.”

Madeline Hiser, Public Relations Editor

Within the past few years, there has been an assortment of movies and television shows based on popular video games, but one recent adaptation has had many gamers on the edge of their seats. “The Last of Us,” written by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, seems like just another post apocalyptic zombie game, but it has proven to have a lot more to offer, including in-depth relationships, real emotion, the feeling of being connected to the characters and incredible performances. The HBO show adaptation brings back those same aspects and feelings along with many others. Other apocalypse games mostly focus on combat and the fact that zombies took over the planet, but “The Last of Us” focuses on the questions of morality and who to save, along with sacrifices that have to be made for the good of the world. 

The first episode introduces the main characters: Joel Miller, played by Pedro Pascal, and Ellie Williams, played by Bella Ramsey. The episode focuses on the start of the outbreak of infected people, which started from a mutant cordyceps fungus getting into people’s food sources, and Miller’s backstory, which reveals how he lost his daughter, Sarah Miller, and the outbreak’s destruction of the world. The episode gained attention immediately for one specific scene that was made to mimic the game, where Miller, his brother and daughter Sarah are driving through Austin, Texas as the outbreak of infection has started. When being broken down frame-by-frame, the game and the show are almost identical, from the buildings, to the color, the people running and even the expressions of the characters. It was eerily beautiful and a tell-tale sign that the show might be just as good as the game, but it only got better as the season went on. 

The action in the next few episodes is extremely well done, when it comes to the makeup of the infected people themselves, and the CGI used for the buildings. One of the reasons it looks so well done though isn’t the “movie magic” itself, it’s more so the emotion shown between the characters that explains the urgency and destruction the apocalypse has caused. In these episodes, we also get to see the growing relationship between Miller and Williams. Miller has a hard time adjusting to the fact that Williams may be the cure and her immunity to the fungus after being bitten but not infected. He also has a strong dislike for her due to his mistrust towards almost every person he encounters during his time alone and trying to survive. By the fourth episode, he starts warming up to her jokes and smart remarks, while she begins seeing him as the father figure that she never really had. The more their relationship grows, the more Williams reminds Miller of his late daughter Sarah. Miller’s mistrust slowly turns into a type of love that he hasn’t experienced in years and has dearly missed, despite how he displays his emotions on the outside. 

Some people were underwhelmed with the show’s finale. The entirety of the previous eight episodes moves slowly to immerse the viewers in the setting and the journey that Williams and Miller endure to get to Salt Lake City, but the finale had a very rushed feeling with many plot twists and a lot of information crammed into a 43-minute episode, whereas the premiere was 80 minutes long. Without taking away the gorgeous cinematography and action of the series,  the ending of season one was almost a let down with the rush to get all of the information in. The dynamic between Miller and Williams also changes, to the point where they almost switch personalities, Miller becoming the comic relief and Williams the quiet one. This change isn’t entirely crazy considering the trauma Williams endures at the time, but the entire series was a buildup of their relationship only for it to abruptly change in the very last episode. Along with how well the series mimicked the game up until the end where the overall dynamic and vibe changed. 

At the end of the day, “The Last of Us” is an extremely well put together show that checks off all the boxes when looking for a good show to watch. It keeps you interested and is like a mystery to find out if Williams will create the cure or not, with many devastating twists and turns. Just be careful when you get to the finale, you may find yourself a little bit devastated, confused, wondering what happens next, and maybe even a little bit furious and heartbroken.