On left: HBO’s “The Last of Us” promotional poster. On right: Cover image for “The Last of Us” game. The show, scheduled for nine episodes, has a lot in common with its source material. It follows Joel, played by Pedro Pascal, and Elle, played by Bella Ramsey, as they try to navigate a post-apocalyptic world. (HBO / Naughty Dog)
On left: HBO’s “The Last of Us” promotional poster. On right: Cover image for “The Last of Us” game. The show, scheduled for nine episodes, has a lot in common with its source material. It follows Joel, played by Pedro Pascal, and Elle, played by Bella Ramsey, as they try to navigate a post-apocalyptic world.

HBO / Naughty Dog

The Last of Us: Review

January 25, 2023

“The Last of Us” is a Playstation exclusive game about surviving in a post-apocalyptic world. Originally released on the Playstation 3 in 2013, it has since been remastered for the Playstation 4 and remade for the Playstation 5. 

While the game might continue to be a hallmark Playstation exclusive, its story is now more accessible to audiences through an HBO series based on the game. The show premiered January 15, with eight more episodes that will be dropping every Sunday.

It will be interesting to see the similarities and differences between the show and the game’s storyline. The game has been praised time and time again for having a great story, so the challenge with turning it into a TV show is transforming the game into a watchable medium. 

Searching “The Last of Us” on Google causes a mushroom button to appear, and clicking it spreads a viral fungal growth seen in “The Last of Us” franchise. Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski and Editor Drew McCarthy will be here after every episode to provide a recap and analysis. 

Warning: This review contains spoilers.

Episode 1: When You’re Lost in the Darkness

The show wastes no time explaining a fungal infection in an initially comedic scene that slowly gets darker as the episode takes place, which sets the mood for the rest of the episode. 

The characters in the scene proceed to slowly ponder what would happen if the fungus ended up evolving to adjust to warmer temperatures found in humans. 

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

This scene in particular references a real life mutant-ant fungus, which slowly takes control of the ants’ motor functions in order to spread itself to more ants. The characters in the scene proceed to slowly ponder what would happen if the fungus ended up evolving to adjust to warmer temperatures found in humans.  

We are then introduced to the main character, Joel Miller, as well as his daughter and his brother. Joel is played by Mandalorian actor Pedro Pascal, and he plays the part masterfully. 

Whenever Joel is on screen, he has a raw aura of power despite appearing like a normal guy. The next few scenes are the characters going about their day, even though the audience can tell that something is off, whether that be from police sirens going off in the background or emergency vehicles drastically increasing in appearance as the day goes by. 

The first episode follows the first few chapters of the game almost exactly, with extra scenes to ramp up the horror of the situation. 

The first episode follows the first few chapters of the game almost exactly, with extra scenes to ramp up the horror of the situation. 

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

An entirely new segment is added with Joel’s daughter, Sarah, and their older neighbors, with Joel’s daughter going over to be friendly with them and their vegetative grandma during the evening. 

Near the end of the scene when Sarah is about to leave, she gets distracted looking at items on a bookshelf. Meanwhile, the grandma near the back of the room is clearly moving her head in horrible and unnatural ways that cannot be entirely made out by the audience and goes unnoticed by Sarah.

The first part of the episode then culminates with Sarah waking up alone late at night to the sound of explosions and military vehicles, seeing a neighbor’s dog, frightened, outside of her front door, and then trying to bring it back to the neighbors only for her to realize they have been brutally attacked by the no longer vegetative grandma. 

The grandma, now an infected zombie, charges at her, but Sarah is saved by Joel and his brother, Tommy, who then realize they need to make it out of the city. The cascading, action-fueled scenes culminate when they find a soldier, thinking he can help them to safety. To their surprise, the soldier is ordered to shoot them and Tommy saves Joel from getting shot, but not before Sarah dies from a gunshot wound.

The show then jumps 20 years into the future to 2023, showing day-to-day life for Joel in the military encampment that he is living in. He has clearly changed, as he is doing shady illegal deals in order to survive. 

We learn of the Fireflies, a terrorist group that has been targeting areas within the encampment in order to fight the more oppressive military that is in control. We also learn that their leader has a girl named Elle, played by Bella Ramsey, locked up in a room.

In the second episode, expect Joel, Tess, and Elle to spend the majority of the time navigating through the collapsed city to bring Elle to the Fireflies.

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

Joel is now looking for Tommy, who somehow got separated from him in the 20 year time skip, and is trying to find the resources to escape and meet up with him in Wyoming. They had previously communicated by radio, but Tommy has since gone silent. We are also introduced to Tess, Joel’s smuggling partner, who assists him in the search.

Tess and Joel sneak into a building wanting to enact revenge for a deal that went bad with some other smugglers, only to find them all dead. They then spot a hurt Fireflies leader, named Marlene, with Elle, the captured girl from earlier. They work out a compromise that promises Joel and Tess the means to escape the military encampment, as long as they bring Elle with them to a Fireflies base located in the city.

After an encounter with a soldier, Tess and Joel discover that Elle is infected with the mutant fungus, but after some deliberation between the two, they decide to continue with their mission. The episode ends with Tess, Joel, and Elle sneaking out of the military encampment, heading toward a collapsed city. 

Joel has noticeable post traumatic stress disorder from losing his daughter, which is shown throughout the second half of the episode. Joel’s PTSD might come into play later in the show to cause him to do something unreasonable. 

The show has followed the first chapters of the game very closely, with only slight deviations in plot, and will likely continue to follow the chapters in the game closely. 

In the second episode, expect Joel, Tess, and Elle to spend the majority of the time navigating through the collapsed city to bring Elle to the Fireflies.

Episode 2: Infected

The second episode of “The Last of Us” jumps back in time to 2003 in Jakarta, Indonesia, with Mycology Professor Ibu Ratna being taken by the Indonesian government to examine a body that was recently infected and killed by a fungus. 

The worker had suddenly become rabid and bit the other workers in the factory

— Editor Drew McCarthy

A government official explained to Dr. Ratna what had transpired leading up to the death of that person after her examination of the body. The body was of a flour and grain factory worker. The worker had suddenly become rabid and bit the other workers in the factory and attacked the cops, ending with the worker shot and killed.

In an eerie speech, Dr. Ratna explained that she has studied fungi her entire life and in her professional opinion, there is absolutely no cure for this. The worried government official asked what was there to be done. She simply said, “Bomb. Start bombing. Bomb this city and everyone in it.”

The show then jumps back to 2023 and the adventure of Joel, Tess, and Ellie. After the group had successfully escaped the QZ and had begun their trek westward, they arrived in a ruined Boston. Boston was home to many infected people and  would serve as the group’s first real trial with zombies.

As the group continues to travel, they come upon a museum which they must go through in order to reach their destination. They found dead fungi on the outside of the museum and assumed there were no infected inside because of this. They were dead wrong. 

These zombies make horrible clicking noises and look even more taken over by the fungus…

— Editor Drew McCarthy

As they enter, Ellie stumbles upon a freshly deceased human. This puts them all on high alert because it meant that there actually were zombies in the museum. As they silently make their way through the creepy museum, they have their first encounter. 

The zombies in this museum are not like the regular kind, they are called “clickers.” This is made known by the video game, and is not clearly stated in the second episode of the show. These zombies make horrible clicking noises and look even more taken over by the fungus, as their heads are about 50% mushroom.

Luckily, Ellie is traveling with two zombie killing experts, Joel and Tess. The two use their expertise to get out of the museum after a scuffle with around four or five clickers. The thing about these mushroom zombies is that they are all connected. If one finds you or is killed, it alerts all of the zombies connected to them. 

Some have no other zombies connected to them and others have hundreds. The entire reason the group went through the museum and not the faster way was because there was a group of about 100 zombies in their way just out on the street. Unfortunately, the zombies in the museum were connected to those 100 zombies. The group was alerted of this when they heard a cacophony of screams from far away. 

The group bolts across a field of grass to a different building to hide, but the zombies are still heading their direction. They are confused as to how they know where they are, when Tess suddenly reveals she got infected in the museum.

This episode leaves the audience with the feeling that this world they are in is more brutal than we could have ever imagined.

— Editor Drew McCarthy

Luckily, there were barrels of oil and a few grenades in the building they were in, the group decided that Tess would stay behind and blow up the zombies and the others would make a run for it. Joel and Ellie sprint out of the building spilling as many oil barrels as they could.

As Tess begins to try and set the oil on fire with her lighter, the zombies storm the building looking for her. One of the zombies who found her, walked up to her and in one of the most disgusting scenes so far, opens its mouth to reveal a plethora of mushrooms reaching out. 

As the zombie gives Tess the most horrific kiss ever, she is finally able to light her lighter and set the oil coating the floor on fire. Joel and Ellie are shown running through the grass as the building explodes. They look back saddened by the fact they just lost their comrade, but know that they have a mission and have to carry on no matter the cost. 

This episode leaves the audience with the feeling that this world they are in is more brutal than we could have ever imagined. I think next episode it will be even more evident. There will probably be a lot of fighting between Joel and Ellie due to their sadness and frustration with their loss. 

The group will probably continue their trek westward but I think more than anything, there will be a paradigm shift. I believe that the main enemy will be the military rather than the zombies in the next episode. I am sure they will encounter zombies, but it seems the military has a greater influence in this story than we think.

Episode 3: Long Long Time

Episode three of “The Last of Us” is a far calmer experience than the first two episodes. The episode focuses on the backstory of two of Joel’s acquaintances, Frank and Bill.

This episode is more romantic than anything, and it did not feel like a zombie survival show. 

— Editor Drew McCarthy

This episode is more romantic than anything, and it did not feel like a zombie survival show. 

Joel and Ellie are on the road about 10 miles west of the Boston QZ and are running slightly low on supplies. They eventually reach a run-down gas station that Joel uses to stash his items when traveling. Joel stashes his gun in there because there is not a lot of ammo for it on the road. 

The group goes on their way and the scene changes to 2003, when everything was going down. There were a plethora of military personnel and vehicles in a neighborhood taking people to the QZ. A man who we now know as Bill was hiding underneath the floorboards in his secret bunker.

To put it lightly, Bill was prepared for the zombie apocalypse. He had tons of guns, ammo, chemicals for some reason, and most importantly, a plan. After the military had left his neighborhood, he began to stock up. 

Bill went around from store to store getting whatever kind of supplies he needed. He even went to the power plant and turned it on somehow. He then went back home and began preparing himself even more. 

Bill has set up a fence around five or so houses with barbed wire…

— Editor Drew McCarthy

Fast forward four years to 2007. Bill has set up a fence around five or so houses with barbed wire, a security system with a large amount of cameras covering his entire compound, and traps all around the fence. 

Bill was minding his own business when his alarm went off. He saw that one of his pitfall traps had been triggered so he grabbed his gun and went to kill the presumed zombie that was in the hole. As he approached, a voice called out to him which was quite startling.

Bill was cautious, but helped the man we now know as Frank, out of the hole. Bill was surprisingly friendly to Frank, letting him use the shower, giving him food, wine, and new clothes. After about five more minutes of screentime they became more than friends, to put it mildly. 

Skipping forward a few more years to 2013, Bill and Frank are living together happily. However, Frank has revealed to Bill that he has been talking with a girl on their radio and she is actually pretty nice. Bill is mad, but allows the girl and her husband to visit them for dinner at Frank’s request.

It is revealed that the girl and her husband are actually Tess and Joel. The couple have a nice dinner with Bill and Frank and talk about how things are in the QZ as well as the compound. Although Frank and Tess did most of the connecting, the friendship between the two couples was formed. 

Joel had warned Bill that he is considered rich in this broken world and that raiders will eventually come to steal his stuff.

— Editor Drew McCarthy

After the dinner, Joel had warned Bill that he is considered rich in this broken world and that raiders will eventually come to steal his stuff. Bill considers this and puts down flamethrower traps around every part of his fence. 

It turns out that Joel was right, and raiders ended up trying to raid Bill and Frank. Fortunately, most of them got set on fire, but the few who had not were still attempting to get into the compound. 

Bill ended up getting shot by the raiders, but lived after Frank grabbed him and tended to his wound. That is when the next time skip occurs, which brings us to the present, 2023. Frank has a disease which is not clearly stated, but it seems like he is suffering the symptoms of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. 

One day, Frank woke up and decided he was fulfilled with life and did not want to live any longer. He detailed a plan to Bill on how he wanted his last day to be spent, which included the couple actually getting married. In the end, Bill decided he would go out with Frank and they both died peacefully in their sleep.

After everything was said and done, Joel and Ellie came by to find a note left by Bill. The note explained the situation to them and included a will of sorts. Bill told Joel in the letter that he left everything to him and anything he wanted in his compound was his. 

All the supplies they have make them a moving target…

— Editor Drew McCarthy

The episode ends on a happy note with Joel and Ellie driving into the distance with a ton of supplies provided by Bill in a car also provided by Bill. 

This episode did not turn out as expected. I assumed that the show would follow the video game closer and include more action, but I was mistaken in both of those aspects. In the video game, Frank and Bill are not lovers and there is also a lot more action in that portion of the game. 

As for the next episode, I assume it will follow the journey of Joel and Ellie since they can travel in a car now. All the supplies they have make them a moving target, so I think that the group will probably encounter raiders who try to steal their winnings. I also believe that due to the almost imminent danger, Joel will have to trust Ellie with a gun which he has not done thus far.

I am looking forward to this next episode as we are getting closer to the climax of the story. The group’s story is truly unfolding now.

Episode 4: Please Hold My Hand

Episode four follows Joel and Ellie across the mainland United States in the car they received from Bill and Frank. They camp and drive all the way until they hit Kansas City, where the road they were taking is blocked off. They have the choice to take a slower path or risk going around the blockade to get back on the highway, and they take the riskier path. 

Ellie points out that the Kansas City QZ seems abandoned, which causes Joel to become increasingly more stressed, along with the fact that it is taking longer than it should to find the route back to the highway. Suddenly, they are ambushed and are forced to fight back against a group of thugs. They end up crashing their vehicle and retreating into a nearby store. 

The episode then cuts back into the past, and the audience discovers what happened to Kansas City. 

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

In the next scene, Joel tells Ellie to hide while he deals with the thugs from the highway, and she does so. However, when it becomes clear to Ellie that one of the thugs has got one up on Joel, she saves the day by stepping out with the gun she secretly grabbed from Episode 3, and uses it to save Joel. Joel is initially displeased, but eventually trusts Ellie to use a gun later in the episode. 

The episode then cuts back into the past, and the audience discovers what happened to Kansas City. 

It is revealed that a group of resistance fighters took over the Kansas City QZ after military personnel known as FEDRA engaged in extreme corruption and tyranny. The renegades spent their time in power finding and killing all of the “informants” that assisted in helping FEDRA, as well as taking control of all of Kansas City’s military capabilities.  

The show then cuts back to the present and the leader of Kansas City, Kathleen Coghlan, is hyper-fixated on finding two informants named Sam and Henry Burell. She insists that finding them is the number one concern for Kansas City, even if it is irrational. 

During a search, Coghlan disregards a mysterious, bubbling concrete hole in the basement of the building she is in, and shrugs it off as a problem for later, even though it appears infinitely more serious than finding Sam Burell.  

The episode ends with Joel and Ellie sneaking around to reach a tall building in order to see the layout of the city from the windows and rest before formulating a plan to escape Kansas City. They eventually make it up to the top of a building, where Joel sets up a glass trap in order to be able to hear anyone trying to sneak up on them. 

After they both fall asleep, Joel wakes up to the sight of a kid pointing a gun at him with an older adult telling Joel and Ellie not to move. The episode ends on this cliff hanger. 

The audience can infer that the older adult and the kid are Sam and Henry Burell on the run from the resistance fighters. My guess for the next episode will be that Sam and Henry will try and force Joel and Ellie into helping them escape Kansas City. 

This episode of the “Last of Us” follows the game much more closely than the previous episode, only changing some locations and adding additional information to the background of the villains of the episode. 

These changes add to the overall story, and respect the game material enough to make up for the side story that made up the majority of Episode 3.

Episode 5: Endure and Survive

Last week HBO broke their streak of episodes released on Sunday, by releasing episode five on Friday. Not only that, but this episode is the most action packed one yet. 

The episode begins with the story of how Henry and Sam found Joel and Ellie. 

Henry looks out the window to see Joel shooting at his pursuers.

— Editor Drew McCarthy

Henry and Sam have to leave their hideout because they do not have any more food. As they reach the bottom of their building, they hear a car crash and gunshots. Henry looks out the window to see Joel shooting at his pursuers. 

This is the scene from episode four from the perspective of Henry and Sam instead of Joel and Ellie. Henry and Sam run away to hide while Joel and Ellie do the same in a different building. 

Henry knew they would probably go to the tallest building in order to scout out a way out of the city. Henry decided to go find them in the building and succeeded. Joel and Ellie woke up to Henry and Sam holding them at gunpoint. 

Henry convinced Joel and Ellie to team up after explaining his situation, which is about the exact same. Their interests aligned because they are both surrounded by their enemies and are trying to leave the city safely. Luckily, Henry knew a way out and Joel knew how to defend the group. 

The group discussed how to escape. Henry suggested they should use the tunnels underneath the city. Normally, this would be an extremely bad idea because the infected live in dark places, especially underground. 

Because Henry was an informant, he learned a lot of information from FEDRA guards. He was told that FEDRA had gone underground and cleared out the tunnels. It was a massive risk, but it was their only option, so they took it. 

The next day, they went over to the entrance of the tunnel and began their trek toward safety. The tunnels were relatively long, so they stopped midway through to rest. This is where we learn why Henry became an informant.

It was a massive risk, but it was their only option, so they took it.

— Editor Drew McCarthy

Henry became an informant in order to receive medicine for Sam. Sam had Leukemia and the only way to obtain the medicine to save him was through FEDRA, which they agreed to give him if he became an informant. Henry obliged, knowing the possible consequences, so he could save his son. 

In the morning the team headed farther down the tunnels to reach the exit. They were free, or so they thought. They walked carefree through the streets, except Joel. 

Joel had experience and knew that something could still happen, and in an effort to prevent that, he did not allow anyone to use flashlights. This was all for naught. When they were reaching the end of a street, they began to be shot at. 

The team ducked behind a car and slowly peaked above it to see where they were being shot from. Joel saw the sniper was in a window in a tall house, and decided he would personally end this. He sprinted to the house and crept up the stairs.

Joel shot the man and was on his way out when he heard a muffled voice. He walked back to the man to find he had a walkie talkie with the renegades on the other end of the line. That is when Joel realized the sniper had alerted them of their position before he was killed. 

The renegades pulled up in cars and trucks with plows. As the rest of the gang were running away, Joel was sniping at the driver of the main truck. After a few shots, he killed him and the truck drove into a house and exploded. 

The rest of the group and the leader of the renegades met in the middle of the street. Right as the leader was about to pull the trigger, they heard a groaning sound. They look behind them to see the truck that crashed in the house and on fire lurching forward into the ground. 

The group buried the dead and went on their way to Wyoming.

— Editor Drew McCarthy

Seconds passed as everyone’s eyes were on the space the truck had been. At that moment, a massive horde of infected rushed out of the hole. Panic set in as everyone started shooting into the swarm.

Chaos ensued as everyone scattered attempting to escape brutal deaths. The group managed to meet up and escape to a motel a mile or so away. The gang decided to sleep but it is there that we learn Sam got bit during the scuffle and is infected.

After a short night, Sam fully turns and Henry has to shoot him so he does not kill Ellie. Henry has been risking his life for years to keep Sam alive and healthy so when Sam dies, Henry realizes he has nothing left to live for. Henry then shoots himself. 

The group buried the dead and went on their way to Wyoming. 

This episode has been the most gruesome yet. It is interesting to see how the directors add characters to the plot only to take them away in a heartbeat. 

This aspect really adds suspense to the show. Any character could die at any time. 

Episode 6: Kin

Episode six starts off following an older hunter in the wilderness on his way to return home when he encounters Joel in a comedic scene. The old man helps Joel and Ellie learn where they are and helps them navigate west, although the old man warns them about the “River of Death,” where he has seen a lot of corpses, both infected and normal. 

[T]he duo is suddenly surrounded by a group of armed men on horses.

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

In response to the warning, Joel suffers from a panic attack before heading out with Ellie to the river. When they reach the river, they hesitate to cross it, and Joel fires a shot from his gun to see if anything responds. After no clear reaction, they decide to cross at a nearby bridge with no problems, although the characters are on edge. 

After crossing the river, they continue to travel until they happen upon another river, which they walk to the side of. Ellie then ponders if this new river is actually the River of Death, at which point the characters start to panic. Joel gets his map out to see where they are, but before he is able to, the duo is suddenly surrounded by a group of armed men on horses. 

The leader of the group gives Joel and Ellie commands and starts asking them questions, before bringing out a dog that has been trained to detect someone who has been infected. Joel starts to suffer from another panic attack when he realizes the dog might detect the virus in Ellie, but fortunately the dog does not detect anything. 

The group then asks Joel and Ellie why they are out there, and Joel says he is looking for his brother. A member from the group then recognizes Joel and they take them to their secret settlement where Joel encounters his brother, Tommy. 

They attempt to sneak past, but one of the thugs sees and charges.

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

Ellie and Joel then spend the rest of the episode with Tommy and his newly married wife, Maria, who is the one who recognized Joel. Ellie and Maria get to know each other while Tommy and Joel catch up. Joel and Tommy get into an argument about how their lives have changed from when the two of them were close in the past.

After some hesitation, Tommy agrees to take Ellie to the Fireflies lab in Salt Lake City because Joel feels like he is growing weaker as he ages. Joel thanks him before walking to the house Maria has put them in for the night. Ellie had eavesdropped on the conversation and became angry at Joel, before Joel yells at Ellie and leaves. 

As Tommy and Ellie prepare to leave in the morning, Joel surprises Ellie and offers her a choice between going with him or with Tommy, and Ellie immediately chooses Joel. They gather supplies from the town and leave for Salt Lake City. 

After a time skip, Joel and Ellie reach the Fireflies laboratory in Salt Lake City, where they find the place abandoned. They find a few monkeys, and more dangerous, some thugs. They attempt to sneak past, but one of the thugs sees and charges. Joel fights him off, but not before he is impaled with a wooden spike and starts to lose consciousness. 

The episode ends with Ellie escaping from the thugs with Joel on a horse before Joel, suffering from heavy blood loss, collapses off the horse.

Episode 7: Left Behind

Episode seven is another background-filler episode detailing Ellie’s life in the QZ. The episode introduces her life in a FEDRA school, where she is training to become a high-ranking FEDRA agent. 

[L]ittle did [Ellie] know, she would be waking up to a nice surprise.

— Editor Drew McCarthy

There, Ellie seems to have many enemies, as the beginning scenes consist of her getting in a fight and being reprimanded. Ellie went to bed that night upset, but little did she know, she would be waking up to a nice surprise.

This is where we are introduced to Riley, Ellie’s best friend and love interest. At two o’clock in the morning, she snuck into Ellie’s bedroom and woke her up. Unbeknownst to the audience, she actually went missing three weeks ago, which explains Ellie’s surprise. 

In a Peter Pan-like scenario, Riley invited Ellie to come sneak out with her for a surprise and the “best night of her life.” Ellie accepted and they crept out the window. As the two of them made their way around the city, they caught up, taking swigs from a bottle of alcohol they found.

Finally, they arrived at the surprise Riley had planned, which was a mall. The QZ had recently been expanded to include a mall although it was said that there were infected inside and needed to be removed. Riley brought up how she became a Firefly during the three weeks she was missing.

Unfortunately, [Riley] had a terrible aim.

— Editor Drew McCarthy

It turns out the mall was underground, so when Riley and Ellie turned the power on, their presence there remained unknown. They had the whole place to themselves. They spent their time in the mall playing at the arcade, riding the merry-go-round, and dancing to some music. 

When they were dancing, they heard a noise in the room next to them. A zombie rushed out of the room after hearing the noise caused by Ellie and Riley, and attempted to attack them. Fortunately, the Fireflies had given Riley a handgun. Unfortunately, she had a terrible aim. 

Riley shot several times, but the zombie was completely unfazed. The girls then attempted to run away but the zombie easily caught up. After a big tussle, Ellie grabbed a knife and killed the zombie. 

It was then they looked at themselves and realized that both of them had been bitten. They both started crying. 

The scene cuts back to the current day, where Ellie was treating Joel after an attack by some bandits in Colorado. The episode finished with Ellie sewing Joel’s wound shut.

Episode 8 – When We Are in Need

As the end of “The Last of Us” approaches, the group faces tougher and tougher challenges. In this episode they face off against a preacher and his group of cannibals. Yes, you read that correctly.

Ellie is still caring for Joel, who is bedridden at the beginning of the episode and is having trouble because she is way in over her head. At some point she realizes that they are short on food and decides to go hunting.

Yes, you read that correctly.

— Editor Drew McCarthy

Some amazing luck allowed Ellie to find a decently sized buck and shoot it with her rifle. It ran away with serious injuries, and Ellie followed after it. 

The deer traveled some way before it finally collapsed. Two other hunters appear, and not knowing that Ellie was on the buck’s trail, they decide to take it back to their camp.  Before they can, though, Ellie came up behind them and threatened to shoot them.

Out of fear for their lives, the hunters, named David and James, attempt to negotiate with Ellie by offering up resources from their camp. Realizing her opportunity, Ellie asked for medicine for infections so she could use it on Joel. The hunters agree, and David tells James to go grab the medication from their camp.

Ellie holds David at gunpoint and makes him drag the deer to a little hut they found.  David constructs a fire, and as the two talk, Ellie realizes that the guy who stabbed and was killed by Joel in an earlier episode was a part of David and James’ group.

James comes back with the medicine and Ellie leaves without the deer, frightened by her conversation with David. She applies the medicine to Joel when she gets back to the house where she and Joel are temporarily living. 

Ellie realizes she probably has to leave because she does not want David or his company finding her. She scouts the outside area to see if it is safe, and discovers it is not. She saw a group of men roaming around their residential neighborhood, so she sprinted back into the house.

When she wakes up, she is in a cage with David in front of her.

— Editor Drew McCarthy

Ellie gives Joel a knife and jumps on the horse to lure the group of men away from Joel. She gets their attention by shooting her handgun at them, then riding her horse away. One individual shot her horse while it was sprinting and Ellie flew off. 

Ellie must have suffered a head injury when she came off her horse, because when she opens her eyes, it is super blurry and she faints. When she wakes up, she is in a cage with David in front of her. There is some dialogue and apparently David wants to induct her into their camp as a friend. 

The scene cuts to the other men that were still in the neighborhood looking for Joel, who they called “the crazy man.” One of the men ended up finding Joel, but Joel’s knife found him first. Joel put the man in the front of the house as bait and waited nearby for the others.

The deadman’s friend saw the body, but Joel was quick to attack and knocked him out. The scene cuts and goes back to Ellie in her cage. David tries to feed her but as Ellie looks at the plate of food, she notices something underneath a conspicuous looking table, and realizes it was a human ear. 

Ellie freaks out and kicks the plate of food. David tries to reason with her and Ellie puts on a wonderful act by trying to sugar up to David so she can grab his keys. It is here we find out David is not only  a cannibal, but also a pedophile. 

David puts his hand on Ellie’s and tells her he wants to start a “future” with her. Ellie used that opportunity to break David’s finger and grab his keys, but David was quicker and got away, leaving Ellie in her cell. As he left, he threatened to cut up Ellie and eat her.

The next scene shows Joel who has obtained two prisoners from the group of men roaming the neighborhood, and is torturing them to find out where Ellie is. He kills them and heads to where they pointed on his map. When he arrives, he finds the storage area of the cannibals’ future victims, which makes Joel leave immediately. 

Ellie tells him she is infected, so he cannot eat her.

— Editor Drew McCarthy

In another part of the camp, David comes back to Ellie’s cell with James. With a lot of struggle, they grab Ellie and put her on the table next to her cage. Before David is able to finish her with his butcher knife, Ellie tells him she is infected, so he cannot eat her. As proof she shows them her scarred arm. 

Ellie also points out how she scratched David’s hand, so he will be infected anyway. This puts both David and James in a state of panic and confusion. Ellie uses this chance to grab the butcher knife, kill James, and escape. 

Ellie goes into a relatively large adjacent room to hide from David, and arms herself with a knife she finds there. David comes into the room and after a little bit of cat and mouse, Ellie tries to stab David in the back, but once again David has quicker reactions and knocks Ellie to the ground, and she drops her knife.

David pins Ellie to the ground and attempts to take advantage of her, but Ellie is able to grab her knife again and stab him. She then runs out of the building and is greeted by Joel.

The episode ends with Joel and Ellie running away from the camp. 

If the show follows the video game, the next episode will be a lot calmer than the last. Most likely Ellie and Joel will find the Fireflies and succeed in the several month long journey.

Episode 9 – Look for the Light

The finale of “The Last of Us” starts with a flashback. It follows a panicked, pregnant mother who is being chased by an infected while going into labor. The mother breaks into a seemingly abandoned Fireflies compound but is eventually overwhelmed by the infected as she gives birth. The baby is revealed to be Ellie. 

While the game never explains how Ellie is immune to the virus, the television series explains why Ellie is so special and why she would later be immune. Marlene, the leader of the Fireflies, then finds the mother and daughter, taking on the role of Ellie’s guardian, and she is forced to kill the soon-to-be-fully-infected mother. 

Joel and Ellie eventually make it to the Fireflies, successful in their mission. 

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

The episode then cuts back to the present, when Joel and Ellie arrive at Salt Lake City. They end up spotting some giraffes that have escaped from the zoo and enjoy looking at the animals. Joel and Ellie have both finally opened up to one another, and it shows in the way they converse with each other. Joel and Ellie eventually make it to the Fireflies, successful in their mission. 

Marlene separates them, as tests are being conducted on Ellie. Marlene later talks to Joel, but the way she responds to his questions about Ellie is not to his liking and he starts demanding to see her. Marlene then reveals that they need to do an extremely high-risk operation on Ellie to get a vaccination for the uninfected. 

Marlene attempts to have Joel escorted out of the building, but Joel is enraged and kills the escort before rampaging through the building to free Ellie. He reaches the operating room and kills the doctor before encountering Marlene one last time and killing her as well. Joel saves Ellie and drives them away in a truck. 

Joel decides to keep the truth hidden and does not tell her what he did in the hospital.

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

Ellie asks what happened in the hospital because she has some doubts about the events that took place. Joel decides to keep the truth hidden and does not tell her what he did in the hospital. The series ends on this note.

While the television series made choices with how it deviated from its source material, some changes were overall beneficial to the franchise, while others will be forgotten. Changes like additional information or hyped-up horror elements increased the quality of the show and made it more enjoyable to watch, but other changes tarnished the series through sidetracking the story or adding pointless character traits.

While some episodes of the series could be completely skipped out of irrelevance to the overall plot and source material, such as episodes 3 and 7, the episodes that do attempt to follow the game’s basic plotline are worth watching, notably episodes 2 and 8. 

The best episodes were the ones that followed the game’s story closely, with the more experimental episodes amounting to nothing more than being filler.

This mix of episodes, some following the game intensely while others ignored the source material, sometimes followed right after each other, giving the impression that this show was managed by two separate directors, which it was. 

The show fell short of the game’s greatness.

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

The overall lack of zombies in this show, which is supposed to be about zombies, occurred in the experimental episodes, and killed any tension or fear one might have when watching. For example, when a main character is allowed to spend an entire episode making reckless decisions, such as sneaking out, underage drinking, and turning an entire mall’s lights and electricity on during the night in the middle of an apocalyptic zombie-infested city right next to a fascist military base, and only a single zombie shows up throughout the entire episode, the plot needs to be changed.

Some of the episodes jump at every opportunity to follow any irrelevant side characters for entire episodes instead of focusing on the relationship and survival of the main two characters. This is contrary to the game, and repels emotional investment into Joel and Ellie. 

When the show does end up showing the two main characters conflicting with each other, instead of resolving the conflict in normal human ways, a character will just change fundamental beliefs at a whim, almost magically, in an effort to rush the plot forward and give the illusion of character growth. An example of this is when Joel arbitrarily decides to stay with Ellie after telling her a scene prior that he was not going to for her own sake in Episode 6.

The show could have been far better if it had just followed the video game it is based on more closely. All the creators had to do was pay actors to act the cutscenes out and follow what the player does in the game. The show fell short of the game’s greatness.

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