Your donation will support the student journalists of South Hills High. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.
Series Review: HBO’s The Last of Us
March 31, 2023
The new HBO series The Last of Us, based on the video game “The Last Of Us” by developer Naughty Dog, has many tuning in to watch every Sunday as it follows characters, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they navigate a world overtaken by an incurable virus that turns people into zombie-like creatures called “infected”.
As the show progresses so does the relationship between Joel and Ellie. Viewers watch their journey as they develop a bond that is tested by the difficult circumstances of the chaotic world around them. The HBO series does an excellent job exploring the complexities of their relationship, and the whirlwind of a journey they go on is both captivating and emotional.
In order to give this show a fair review, it’s important to see just how much the tv show and video game are similar and how the show has adapted the original storyline. In comparison to the video game, directors Neil Druckman and Craig Mazin add much more to the original story that wasn’t seen in the video game. These directors continue to further the story by deviating from the story to coming back and forth from the original storyline. In particular, in the opening to Episode 1: “When You’re Lost In The Darkness” viewers are able to see a glimpse into a talk show from 1968 being conducted between a scientist and the hosts. In this interview, they talk about how fungi can adapt and how a certain fungus’s main purpose is to try and gain control of the mind foreshadowing the cordyceps virus that spreads years later.
Jumping into another particular case, Episode 3: “Long, Long Time” viewers are able to get more insight about Bill, a side character in the game that helps Joel and Ellie travel by providing them with a car. With his character, both Neil and Craig show much more about his relationship with his partner Frank and how Bill came to create this sort of lonesome town all by himself. In the game, we are only ever introduced to Bill who presents himself as this tough guy who couldn’t care less about anyone but himself. With Frank we never exactly get an introduction to his character at all, all the players were only ever shown his body and his suicide letter that said he couldn’t live in constant arguments with Bill, blaming his death on him. In all honestly portraying Bill and Frank’s relationship together, showing their ups and downs not only gave us an answer to the question we all had but gives the message that there is still love in the bleakest of worlds like this. Viewers are able to see how Joel and Ellie’s relationship grows to where Joel becomes like a father figure to Ellie but Bill and Frank, tell such a beautiful love story of two completely different personalities coming together to make the most of what they have. Instead of having Frank die in the TV series as it does in the game, the complete opposite happens by having the two grow old and live their final moments together which is the best way to have adapted their ending. A few honorable episode mentions besides Ep.1 and Ep.3 are Episode 5: “Endure and Survive” and Episode 7: “Left Behind”.
When it comes to a series adaptation of a video game it can be a hit or miss. After watching the series, it is well-adapted and remains faithful to the original. The acting is phenomenal and the cast gives a convincing performance that makes you sympathize with the characters. While the episodes are lengthy, you get immersed in the story and each episode leaves you with more questions and anticipation. We also like the idea that episodes are released every Sunday, nowadays people are used to binge-watching series on streaming platforms, but one episode a week is a good way to get people to pace themselves and it opens room for discussion each week. However, if you are a fan of binging shows and this review convinced you to check it out, all episodes are out now on HBO Max.