“The Last of Us” Review


Photo by Wikimedia Commons

If any like myself are a nerd or geek, we have been waiting years for “The Last of Us” to become a TV series. Well, the day has finally come and it’s time to review it.

On January 15, the popular video game “The Last of Us” was adapted into a TV series streaming through HBO Max. Within weeks, the series blew up and rose in popularity. Now, fans wait every Sunday for nine PM Eastern Time when the latest episodes premiere, including myself.

   The original video game came out in 2013 and had sequel games released at later dates. It is an action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment. 

   The game sold well over 1.3 million units within the first week it was released. By April of 2018, the game made 17 million dollars. “The Last of Us” is ranked as the second most popular video game, “Red Dead Redemption 2” taking first place according to the website, wegotthiscovered.com (movie, gaming, music, and TV related news). 

   As well as the video game being in the top percentile, the TV series adaptation has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes is a website where movies and TV shows are ranked based on how good they are. 

   To give a glimmer into the premise of the TV series; in 2003, a massive outbreak of a fungal infection wiped out a large portion of the world and left the fittest of the fit to survive. If you are bit, scratched, or injured by an infected person, you then become infected.

    Twenty years later, Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) and Tess Servopoulos (Anna Torv) are sent on a mission to transfer a girl named Ellie Williams (Bella Ramsey) to a secret basecamp location of a rebellion group known as the Fireflies. The Fireflies goal is to restore and fix the government’s (FEDRA) style of control and order.   

  When Ellie was little, FEDRA took her to a school where students are taught and trained to be officers for FEDRA in the future. Fireflies kidnapped Ellie because her blood is immune to the fungal virus, in hopes to create a vaccine.

    The Fireflies attempted to take Ellie to a setup basecamp outside of Boston, Massachusetts but couldn’t due to FEDRA tracking their location. Instead, they asked Joel and Tessa to do it.

   Joel and Tessa agreed to take Ellie with them because the two were originally heading to Jackson, Wyoming where Joel’s brother was rumored to be located after not being able to find him for a couple of years. Throughout their journey, they face hardships and difficult decisions that make course-altering effects.

   When I first watched the series, I was watching it solely for the fact that Pedro Pascal was in it. I had no idea what the show was about, the only thing I knew was that Pedro was one of the main characters. I had heard about the video game “The Last of Us” from my brother and some friends of mine that played it, but I never realized how big of a deal the game being adapted into a TV series truly was.

   I ended up becoming invested in the plot and what was going to happen next to these characters I quickly grew a soft spot for. In my spare time, I did research on the video game and series, hoping to understand more about what was happening. 

   The acting in this show is out of this world. Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, and Anna Torv put their heart and soul into these characters and brought them to life. I cannot express how many times my dad and I sat in our living room, screaming at the TV out of pure frustration and shock from what has happened in the series. 

   The series is extremely tear-jerking and will tug on your heartstrings. From episode three and beyond, I have cried at least once during the episodes. In my opinion, the saddest and most heart wrenching episode was episode three. 

   I tend to be an emotional person, but I have never ugly sobbed while watching a TV show. That was until Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett) appeared on my screen for an hour and fifteen minutes. The song “Long Long Time” by Linda Ronstadt was used perfectly to show the love these two men found in times where it seemed impossible. 

  It is so moving and added so much depth to these characters’ lives during the single episode they had. “The Last of Us” currently has two LGBTQ+ representations through the show.  The first being Bill and Frank, and the second being Ellie and Riley who is introduced in the seventh episode. 

   I was very thrilled to see the LGBTQ+ representation in the show. I am personally not part of the LGBTQ+ community but am an ally. I have many friends and some family that are part of the LGBTQ+ community and I love seeing their excitement when talking about the representation throughout the show.

   Seeing the representation made my heart swell and caused a big smile to shine on my face knowing they feel accounted for. When my dad and I were catching up on “The Last of Us”, at one point I looked over and I swear I saw a tear or two rolling down his face. 

   If a TV show about a mass fungal outbreak can make a grown man who I’ve only seen cry three times in my life shed a few tears, I don’t know how else to put into context how moving and beautiful this TV show is.

   In the most recent episode that premiered on March 5, I was left shocked and speechless from how well Bella Ramsey portrayed Ellie. I could see the pure talent and dedication she put into making this video game character come to life. 

   Her mannerisms, vocals, and face look almost identical to the video game. Even Pedro Pascal, her co-actor, has commented in interviews about how she is doing so well at just the age of 19.   

   While “The Last of Us” is not over yet and has one more episode remaining in season one, and has been renewed for a season two, I think I’m going to love it for a long, long time.