Jami Morain

HBO Max turned a post-apocalyptic video game, released in 2013, into a TV show and I like it. It‘s not the best thing I have ever watched, it wasn’t life changing, but I like it. 

The show features Joel and Ellie trying to survive in the scary new world. This is a new kind of zombie outbreak that consists of fungus called cordyceps instead of a virus like in the movie “Quarantine” or bacteria like in “Contracted.”

The first episode has two scientists discussing why they fear different spreads of illness on a talk show. One scientist is arguing that viruses and bacteria are scarier because of how fast and wide they spread. An example he uses is that a Madagascar virus can be in Chicago in a few days. 

The other scientist disagrees saying fungi are scarier because they don’t kill. They literally take over the mind, bending it to its will. No one can make a cure for fungus either. 

I love this scene. I mean it is awesome. The way it is shot is just like a video game introduction. I can see myself hitting the start button and having that exact scene play as I learn about the world I am about to enter with a controller in my hand.

The director did a fantastic job at making the first episode feel like I was really watching the game. I am able to rationalize what might be an objective in the game and what parts would be where you aren’t playing its just storyline progression.

However, at a certain point I feel like the show loses its video game touch and becomes just a show. It's still entertaining, just not as cool. Halfway through the second episode I felt as though the show was painfully slow. I almost tapped out because I was so bored, but I just kept pushing through because my sister loves it. 

Episode three is known on TikTok for being devastating. What happens in this episode is not in the game. Bill is one of Joel’s friends who helps him with Ellie. He finds his friend, Frank dead in the game, but they never go into depth about their relationship.

Now you watch Bill and Frank meet, fall in love, and have a life together. I heard so many people talk about how they cried during this episode, but I see no reason to. The episode was good and had a welcomed change of pace, but I just don’t think it’s worth shedding a tear. Not because I am heartless, but because I see a happy ending. 

On to episode four we watch as Joel and Ellie form a bond. They are driving in a truck listening to music, sharing a few laughs. It’s honestly really cute. She pulls jokes from a book to tell Joel and I think this is where you see him start to let his guard down.  

In one scene, they are camping and Joel says the woods are safe from the infected, but not people. This is unique because in shows like “The Walking Dead” you really want to avoid the woods because of how many zombies are out there. 

As Joel and Ellie move on to Wyoming they run into a group of people that violently attack them. The pair survives and has to escape. Just when they think they have made it to safety, they are discovered. 

The episodes really just consist of Joel trying to get Ellie to a lab because they believe she could have the cure to this fungal takeover. 

Overall, I would say it’s an enjoyable show. However, I can’t deny how slow it feels compared to other zombie films such as “World War Z” or even “The Walking Dead.” I am chalking this up to development as the show continues to release.

The Last of Us is on HBO Max where new episodes are released every Sunday.

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