The Last of Us Brings Zombie Shows Back to Life

Released in 2013, the video game The Last of Us is known in the gaming community as the perfect apocalypse saga, incorporating aspects of shooting games into a well-developed storyline. Being a form of zombie media, it takes on its own narrative as to how these zombies function. The Last of Us excels at adding a creative aspect to a common trope with its well-developed lore.

Because of the game’s success, its producers planned to bring it to the big screen. In June 2020, Home Box Office (HBO) announced a television adaptation of the acclaimed game. Neil Druckmann, the co-president of the game’s home company, Naughty Dog, joined the show’s team as a creator and director.

Fans expected great performances when the leads were announced: Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie, and they did not disappoint. Season one has become a showpiece for HBO, and with a second season on the way, The Last of Us will certainly go down in television and gaming history.

The story starts in Texas in 2003 and follows the first days of the breakout of “Cordyceps,” a brain infection. Joel must take Ellie, who is immune to the virus, across the country to help produce an antidote, while warding off rebel groups and a dictatorship.

 The Last of Us television series tries to replicate the game’s scenes, particularly the outbreak scene, and the two turned out almost identical. The show makes these parallels time and time again, demonstrating how much thought went into its production.

The show, however, also contains some plot differences. Boston Latin School history teacher Mr. Andy Zou notes, “[It] deviates from the original source and fleshes out new perspectives.” Additionally, “[The episode ‘Long, Long Time’ was] a great example of building new narratives, so it’s not a rinse and repeat of the same story.”

Although most gamers appreciate the show, there has been criticism from parts of the fandom. Bella Ramsey’s acting is phenomenal, but she does not look like the original Ellie from the video game. Much like the game, the show sexualizes 14-year-old Ellie, furthering an issue that is sadly common in the world of media.

Even though Ramsey has faced this criticism, she still serves as a role model for all viewers. Having worked with Pedro Pascal on HBO’s Game of Thrones, she plays off of him skillfully and demonstrates true acting expertise, even at the young age of 19. 

Gabriel Feinberg (II), a fan of the two actors, comments, “They work so well together, and their performances in the show compared to Game of Thrones prove that they are amazing actors.”

Pascal has also gained a new reputation as a  heartthrob, and iconic edits of him have become a new fad on TikTok. He has also been invited onto Hot Ones and recently participated in a Saturday Night Live skit regarding the edits.

The show’s finale rounded out its plot beautifully. It followed the game closely, and Ramsey and Pascal provide an exceptional delivery of what these characters face in the game’s ending. While watching the finale, Lila Aylwin (II) expresses that their final interaction “sent shivers down [her] spine in the best way.”

All in all, the show has done an exceptional job of bringing this game to life. With its amazing cinematography and performances, it is able to bring a beautiful game to both a new medium and audience.