[Review] ‘The Last of Us’ boasts jaw dropping visuals that leaves fans and critics speechless


Tribune News Service

Pedro Pascal stars in “The Last of Us,” the HBO drama adapted from the video game of the same name. Photo permission from Liane Hentscher/HBO/TNS.

Liliana Griffis, Reporter

‘The Last of Us,’ a new television series, released its first episode Jan. 15, 2023 which already has fans on the edge of their seats. Available for streaming on HBO Max and Hulu, ‘The Last of Us’ hit the ground running, with a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. With its gorgeous scenery, interesting character arcs and fun storytelling, that rating is well deserved.

In the first episode, we meet the main characters, Joel and Ellie, played by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey respectively. What follows is a relentless journey filled with merciless characters along the way. Like the video game upon which the show is based, the characters are fighting a battle caused by a zombie-type outbreak. Unlike the video game, and many other zombie plot lines generally, the show provides the viewer with a much deserved outbreak origin story. We learn that fungi have adapted to survive in the human body, controlling those who become infected like evil puppets. Adding to the complexity, keeping Ellie alive becomes Joel’s top priority.

As the show progresses, it becomes clear that, like fungi, the infected all become somewhat connected. When a fungus is disturbed in one part of town, it can awaken a horde of zombies miles away. One can not help but see this as an allegory for how social malevolence has a way of spreading rapidly, leaving a wake of destruction. For storytelling purposes, having this background knowledge also leaves the viewer with fewer questions that the story has to create answers to later on.

Not only is the storytelling great, but the show also represents LGBTQ+ characters in a non-stereotypical environment. In the third episode, the viewer is introduced to Bill and Frank, played by Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, as an older gay couple who have created a self-sustaining sanctuary away from the hordes of undead. By making reference to the fact that these characters are gay, while simultaneously making that fact a complete non-issue, we finally see the sort of non-stereotypical representation that promotes true equality.

Above all else, the show is about death and life. That is to say, in a storyline full of hordes of zombie-like creatures, we know a vast amount of death is imminent. Especially with a show called ‘The Last of Us.’ At the same time, another underlying theme is the spreading and the sophistication of the fungi plants responsible for the fall of mankind. The show presents us with the undeniable reality that humans and plants may not always live in harmony, and that without swift intervention, that is a war they may not be able to win.

‘The Last of Us’ turned out to be a phenomenal television show and is continuing to air new episodes every week. The next episode of the show will air Sunday Feb. 12, at 9 pm EST. This show could not have chosen any better actors or artists. The show’s pacing is extremely well done and the production team exceeded my expectations.

Not only is the storytelling amazing, but the makeup artists have also done a stunning job. There are multiple stages where an infected person goes through various illnesses and the artists do an outstanding job of capturing each detail. I was thoroughly impressed by the prosthetics used in the show. ‘The Last of Us’ definitely deserves a watch.