The Last of Us Review

The newest HBO drama, The Last of Us has been receiving amazing ratings since its release on January 15th. Only 2 episodes have come out so far, but they have been very promising 2 episodes that make me excited for the rest of the series. The Last of Us is a TV show adaptation of the video game The Last of Us, which originally released in 2013. The Last of Us has been a huge success and is one of the best-ever selling video games and the release of the HBO original has only boosted the popularity for the series. The show has also become a huge success, the pilot of the show became HBO’s second most watched series debut ever, beating popular shows like Succession and Euphoria


Plot of The Last of Us

The Last of Us takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where humans are turning into zombie-like creatures. The cause of this apocalypse is that cordyceps, a fungus that kills ants and other bugs and then takes over their bodies turning them into “zombies,” has adapted (thanks to global warming) and is now able to infect humans. With no cure, vaccine, or medicine to stop the spread, the United States forms quarantine zones to protect the survivors from the infected. However, these quarantine zones are militaristic and oppressive and often fail from uprisings, become infected, or have been converted into bases by militant groups such as the Fireflies, Washington Liberation Front, and hunters. The story follows the main characters Joel, a hardened survivor after losing his daughter, and Ellie, a teenage girl who may be the only hope for humanity’s survival. Joel and Ellie are forced together and must rely on each other to survive as they navigate the dangerous post-apocalyptic United States. 


From this point on there will be spoilers for The Last of Us episodes 1 and 2!


Episode 1 Review 

I really liked the first episode a lot and thought it was a great way to start the series off. The first scene takes place on a talk show during the 60s or 70s where epidemiologists are discussing if people should be more worried about viral pandemics that could have the potential to kill off a lot of the human population. One doctor responds he is not worried about viruses but rather fungi which could have the potential to kill off the human species by infecting our brains. Although another doctor rebutted that it would not be possible for fungus to live in the bodies of humans because our bodies are too hot and would kill the fungus. He responds that as the Earth gets warmer, fungus must adapt to survive the new temperatures and could then infect humans. The introduction to the show was perfectly executed as it created an uneasy feeling that lasted throughout the beginning of the show as I was waiting for everything to turn into chaos just as the doctor described. After this scene we finally get to meet Joel, played by Pedro Pascal and his daughter Sarah, played by Nico Parker. I really liked how from this point on we get to experience Sarah’s point as she goes about her everyday life and gets increasingly more worried as the day progresses and more unusual and unsettling things keep happening in their city of Austin, Texas. One of my favorite scenes in the pre-pandemic part of the episode is when Sarah is at her older neighbors house when she is facing toward the bookshelf, when her old sick neighbor starts shaking violently and moving in weird positions behind her, going unnoticed, and blurred during the scene. I thought it was very unsettling and also added to the suspense of the whole exposition of the show; that we as the viewers know that the world is spiraling into chaos, as people become infected and start killing everyone, but you don’t know when it is going to happen, and it can happen at any moment in any scene. One thing that really creeped me out this episode was when the old woman was eating her family members and she had the moving fungi coming out of her mouth. It was creepy, but it was a nice touch by the writers that I am pretty sure is not in the games (I could be wrong). The car scene when they are trying to escape all the infected people is another favorite scene of mine. In the video game, the car scene was one long shot and the players were in the point of view of Sarah, and the show also positions the camera in almost every shot in the back of the car to reflect Sarah’s point of view which I thought was a great ode to the game and also is just a nice cinematic scene as well. Avid zombie post-apocalyptic TV show and TV show critic and enthusiast, my dad, agreed with me that “the attempted escape in the truck scene from the passenger POV was unique and harrowing.” Of course the death of Sarah was another very memorable moment of the show. Both Pedro Pascal and Nico Parker did an amazing job in this scene and it was very sad to watch. I enjoyed the rest of the episode and Bella Ramsey does a great job playing Ellie and I am excited to see more of them. I would definitely say that the beginning of the episode was my favorite part: it was extremely well shot, had great suspense, and was so well planned out. I would give the episode an 8/10.

The attempted escape in the truck scene from the passenger POV was unique and harrowing!

— My dad

 Episode 2 Review 

I personally think that episode 2 was not as good as episode 1, but I still really enjoyed it a lot. Once again the opening shot was pretty creepy, when the doctor lifts up the fungus from the infected lady’s mouth and says to bomb the whole city to stop the spread, very bleak. The next scene is with Joel, Ellie, and Tess the morning after they escaped the quarantine zone and Joel and Tess are debating whether or not to kill Ellie because they found out that she was infected. Despite the morbid subject being discussed, the scene was very beautiful.

The beautiful pastels of all the plants and nature surrounding them created some really pretty shots. After they decide to keep her alive, they have to navigate their way through infected Boston in order to find the revolutionary group the FireFlies to deliver Ellie too. Despite Boston being in utter ruin, it is a really beautiful landscape. Nature has taken back the city after being deserted for 20 years (except for the infected of course), the skyscrapers are falling on each other with plants climbing along the sides. It created some very pretty shots. I know some people complained that this episode got boring at times as they were making their way through Boston, but I really enjoyed their exploration of post-apocalyptic Boston. And of course the scene in the museum was very suspenseful as they had to kill 2 infected and the infected kept making those creepy clicking noises. It was also very sad when Tess revealed that she had become infected and they had to leave her to die. Although I knew it was happening it was still sad to see. BUT, what I did not see coming and was absolutely disgusting was when one of the infected came and kissed her with the fungi that sticks out of their mouth. It was a gross body horror scene that I personally did not enjoy watching but I liked it in the show, although I read that some people thought it was very unnecessary. Overall I enjoyed this episode, not as much as the first, but I still liked it. I will rate this episode a 7.5/10.


In middle school I used to be a fan of the game, I would watch youtube videos of people playing it and would often play The Last of Us at my friends house. After middle school, I did not really interact with The Last of Us except for reading an occasional review of the game or watching a a gameplay, so I have forgotten a lot of what happens and am excited to get re-introduced to the characters of Ellie and Joel and the amazingly crafted world of The Last of Us. I read that some fans of the video game did not love the adaptation of the show, but it has only been two episodes so I am sure it will get better as the material gets more complicated and the characters get more developed. Also, it’s going to be hard to please everyone, especially when The Last of Us is already a very successful video game with a very loyal fan base. There is no possible way that the show will be better than the video game, but I still think that it is going to be very good, so I am excited to watch the rest of the season. The Last of Us comes out on HBO Max on Sundays at 9 P.M. if you want to watch this great show.