Why You Should Watch HBO’s The Last of Us


Penny (Grey) Kilpatrick, Senior Layout Editor, Staff Writer

Zombies in the media is not a new topic. You may have seen shows or movies such as The Walking Dead, or more comical ones like Disney’s Zombies, but either way, these creatures are often seen in today’s programs. However, even though some might think zombies are overdone, HBO’s The Last of Us comes up with a new, innovative, and realistic way to portray what a zombie apocalypse would look like. The tv show is an adaptation of the video game of the same name, which even won the “Game of the Year” award in 2014. Most apocalyptic movies featuring zombies focus on, well, the zombies, but The Last of Us focuses more on the characters, their hardships, connections, and what they’re willing to do to survive. This show features a talented cast, a beautiful yet sad story, and is very faithful to the original game, even including some well thought out easter eggs that many gamers will appreciate.

The two main stars of the show who portray Joel and Ellie are Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. They have both been in various other successful movies and t.v. shows such as Game of Thrones, The Mandalorian, Wonder Woman 1984, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and many more. In the past, Ramsey has won awards from BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards) for “Best Breakthrough Talent” and “Best Young Performer”, and Pedro Pascal has won awards such as “The Garland Award”, “Los Angeles Critics Circle Award”, and has even been nominated for an Oscar. Born in Santiago, Chile, Pascal was raised in Texas and later California when he began his acting career at 24 when he appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ramsey, who is of course much younger, was born in Nottingham, UK, and began her acting career at age 4 where she was enrolled in Loughborough branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts school. This is where she learned to act for 7 years. The budget for The Last of Us is between 10-15 million dollars per episode, and Pascal and Ramsey reportedly make $650k and $750k per episode respectively. This duo’s dynamic in the show is so fun to watch as it evolves and grows, made possible by their amazing talent and dedication.

The show follows Joel, single father to Sarah, on his birthday in the year of 2003. We see the normal events of their everyday lives unfold with Joel working as a contractor and Sarah going to school as well as going over to help her elderly neighbors. The day seems to end with everything being normal, until Joel gets a call from his brother, Tommy, who needs Joel to bail him out of jail. Joel agrees, and leaves Sarah home alone, asleep. While Joel is gone, Sarah wakes up to strange noises coming from outside the house. As she goes to investigate, she finds her neighbor infected with a fungal virus that, in typical zombie fashion, spreads through bites. She runs away and bumps into Joel and Tommy on their way to get her as everyone starts becoming infected and panic amongst the people sets in. From here, we watch as they fight through the dangers of the military, infected, and other people. To avoid spoilers, I won’t mention what happens next, but you should watch to find out! The show then flashes forwards to 20 years later, in the year 2023, and Joel is now mostly by himself, when he meets a girl named Ellie, who is immune to the virus. A rebellion group called The Fireflies hire Joel to take Ellie to a doctor across the country so they can use her to reverse engineer a cure for the fungus. We watch their adventure as Joel, who is now cold and distant to most things, starts to warm up to Ellie, and their bond grows. We see their losses, the people they meet along the way, and their backstories as they trek across the country to try and save humanity, since Ellie is the last hope for a cure. This show is beautiful, sad, heartwarming, and sure to make you cry.

Both the show and the game follow the same general plot, with only a few slight discrepancies made to make the show more realistic. For those of you who have played the game, you might appreciate some of the subtle easter eggs hidden throughout the show. An easter egg in media is a hidden message, item, or image hidden in the show or movie to make it feel more thought-out, and it’s always fun to try and find them when they appear. The show pays special attention to make sure to include as much detail as possible, and keep it as close to the game as they can. There are lines and scenes from the show that are direct, word-for-word comparisons to the game, and its really fun to see how the actors go about recreating them in a way that feels refreshed, yet still true to the original source material. 

In conclusion, HBO’s The Last of Us is a truly incredible show that I can only describe as a work of art, and I encourage everyone who reads this article to watch the show. It is one of my personal favorites, and I know I will definitely be tuning in to see season two, estimated to be released in late 2024. If you do watch the show, be sure to let me know what you think by doing this poll.