By Andrew Martinez
Based on the popular game, “The Last of Us” premiered on Jan. 15 on HBO Max, and many fans are pleased with the adaptation of the show.
The show takes place in a post-pandemic world where people are infected with cordyceps, a disease that derives from fungus. “The Last of Us” follows Joel, who survived the pandemic for 20 years, and a young girl named Ellie who's immune to the disease. Their goal is to travel across the country to a group called the fireflies in hopes of creating a possible cure with Ellie’s blood. Through the season, you see the two become closer and start to develop a close relationship with one another.
Pedro Pascal's acting as Joel is top notch here and embraces the role very well. Belle Ramsey also did a phenomenal job, and despite the backlash for her cast of Ellie, saying that she looked nothing like the character from the game, I thought she had some good moments.
One thing I really like about this show is the amount of perspectives you get to see in this post-apocalyptic world. There are quite a few standalone episodes in the series that follow other characters and their stories. Episodes like “Long Long Time,” “Endure and Survive” and “Left Behind” show us how they deal with the world around them. Even though these characters from these episodes don’t get a lot of screen time, they really make you care about the characters and give more depth to the story. It lets you look at the story from other characters' points of view and not just from the two main characters.
Neil Druckman and Craig Marzin, the creators of the series, do a great job of appealing to both the die hard fans of the game while also allowing new fans to enjoy it. As someone that has never played the game before and had little to no prior knowledge, it was really easy to follow along. I felt like I didn’t really miss a beat aside for some small easter eggs or nods.
This show not only displays the horrors of the infected but the horrors of the regular humans as well. Cordyceps and the infected are not the only obstacles that Joel and Ellie come across, and that is certainly proven to be the case throughout their journey. “The Last of Us” shows how far some people are willing to go to survive in this bleak world, as well as the morals they are willing to disregard for the betterment of themselves. These multiple elements of horror aren’t edgy just for the sake of it and displays real shock value among the characters.
If I had to complain about one thing, it would be the lack of the whole cordyceps storyline towards the second half of the season. After episode five, they sort of drove away from the whole zombie part and neglected a good aspect of the show. The action scenes could’ve been a little more balanced and not have the infected take so much of a back seat.
I am very surprised with how much I liked the show considering the fact that I never played the game and went in completely blind. Though I can’t speak on how true to the source material the show is, I can say that it is worth watching whether you’ve played the game or not. With Druckman and Marzin confirming a second season, there is still a lot of story left for our main characters, and I can’t wait to see what comes next in part two.