Apocalyptic fondness for “The Last of Us”



The final episode of “The Last of Us” premieres Sunday, March 12. Since fans exceeded the creators’ expectations by passing their predicted view count, they announced season two January 27. Fans hope that the second season will add to the original story of the video game franchise, along with further exploring the relationships between the characters on the show.

Valentina Gonzalez, Reporter

Spoiler Alert

Based on the original game created in 2013, HBO’s The Last of Ussurpassed expectations by gaining 4.7 million views on its premiere night, January 15. The video game, created by Naughty Dog developers, became such a phenomenon that over 17 million copies left stores and into the hands of eager players. So far, reviews of the show report all of its success and accomplishments within the time of its release.

The show and video game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in 2023, 20 years into a pandemic caused by a mass fungal infection that created zombie-like creatures known as clickers in their common stage. The show tells the story of Joel and Ellie— played by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey— after Joel meets Ellie on his way to find his brother who he recently lost contact, breaking all the rules of their now fascist military government, Federal Disaster Response Agency(FEDRA).

At the beginning of the show and game, viewers see Joel’s daughter, Sarah, played by Nico Parker. The backstory of Joel’s family and life takes place in 2003 before the pandemic occurs. Sadly, Sarah soon passes away shortly after the zombie outbreak occurs, due to a fatal interaction with a police officer who receives an order to execute anyone he comes across during the spreading of the infection.

“I love the backstory of Joel and his life. I think it perfectly captures how close he was to his daughter and how much sadness and trauma he must be hiding behind the tough mask he wears in front of everyone. The show so far has been doing an amazing job showing Joel open up his emotions more and more to Ellie, and showing his newfound love for someone who could call his daughter,” sophomore Zoe Williams said.

Now, 20 years later and traumatized, Joel works for FEDRA against his will while secretly and constantly trying to find a way to take a car out of the state and find his now lost brother. Along his way, he meets up with Marlene, a member of the “Fireflies”, a highly skilled group against FEDRA and what they stand for. 

Marlene asks Joel and his smuggling partner Tess to take Ellie with them to the fireflies, in exchange for guns that someone stole from them. Viewers then see the relationship between Ellie and Joel start to develop, with their witty comments and immediate banter given the distinct age difference one might see in a father and daughter. 

In a later episode, Joel connects with Ellie and comforts her while she breaks down in his arms, almost triggering emotions and memories within him from Sarah.

This character development remains extremely important to fans who strived for this connection in the show, after loving Joel and Ellie’s relationship in the video game. From similar-looking characters to exactly revised scenes, the directing, writing and casting of the show does an amazing job at capturing the exact essence of the video game. The viewers and fans of both the show and the game, remain impressed by the number of similarities between the two.

“Episode 8 is by far my favorite episode. Bella Ramsey’s acting is phenomenal in this, as she really encaptures the fear of a vulnerable girl surrounded by creepy adults. I also love how we see a moment of relief in the characters of Joel and Ellie when we see them reunite,” sophomore David Achamaja said.

With this ending of episode 8, viewers now see how close Joel and Ellie truly became throughout their rough journey with each other. Fans wish for the same level of incredible cinematography within the next season, along with the new characters that come into the second part of the video game. Viewers also hope to see an open version of Joel continue to express his love for Ellie, who he may now see as a loving daughter figure in the final episode of the series.