Created by Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic drama series produced by HBO. The series is based on the successful 2013 video game of the same name and follows Joel (Pedro Pascal), a smuggler tasked with escorting Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across the post-apocalyptic United States.
Last Sunday, the 15th of January, The Last of Us made its debut and marked the second-biggest launch in HBO’s history after House of the Dragon. After just one episode, the acting, script, production, design, and rating score were all acclaimed by critics. Many hyped it as the best live-action adaptation of a video game ever created. Enough teasing; let us tell you why you should immediately watch The Last of Us!
An Opening Sequence Not to Skip
Most of HBO’s famous series have iconic opening credits with a music score like no other. The entire title sequence is only around a minute long. Yet despite its brevity, it provides insight into the series' central themes, notably nature and humanity’s conflicting roles. After decades of forced exploration, neglect, and eventual fatigue, nature finally overpowers and subdues humankind owing to the cordyceps pandemic.
Those who have played the video game “The Last of Us” may have a sense of déjà vu while watching the series’ title sequence because it is like Game of Thrones and its recent prequel. The video game contains a cinematic-style opening scene that lists the game’s contributors before the user starts playing. We think it’s an impeccable adaptation with great attention to detail!
A Heartbreaking Father and Daughter Story
In the first lengthy episode, we see how the apocalyptic fungi pandemic broke out and the chaos that followed. Before, we witness Joel’s extraordinary relationship with his daughter, which lasts for less than half the episode but gets to our hearts. And while Joel is trying to find a haven for himself and his teenage daughter amidst the riots, he sadly loses her to a single gunshot. Be prepared to tear up as you observe Joel’s heart-wrenching cries as he fails to come to terms with the loss of his daughter.
While watchers of the series who have played the game can expect the death of Joel’s daughter, Sarah (Nico Parker), the show creatively makes it more emotional by highlighting their sweet father-daughter relationship before the outbreak of the pandemic. How could you not get attached after watching the young kid go out of her way to buy a birthday present for her dad?
Heading Towards a Brutal and Ruthless Trek, or Are We?
The story travels 20 years to 2023 after the tragic incident, where Joel is surviving but heartbroken on a military base. While the father-daughter relationship is briefer in the game, it is still profound in aiding Joel’s character development, who is later meant to escort teenage Ellie across the post-apocalyptic version of the US. In the process, he is also looking for his little brother Tommy whom he hasn’t heard from for a while.
While little is revealed about Ellie in the premiere, we know that she serves a greater mystical purpose and will have a significant relationship with Joel, which may be a remembrance of his relationship with his lost daughter. We don’t know what’s to come, but we hope to see Ellie bring the caring side of Joel back and see him reunite with Tommy! However, we highly doubt that will come any time soon, as the episode ended with a song from the 1980s playing on the radio. Thanks to Ellie connivingly realising that the radio sends signals to the military base dependent on which period the songs played are from, we know that according to the code, the 1980s means that trouble is to come.