HBO’s The Last of Us is Here


The main cover photo for The Last of Us, a mirror of the original cover art for the game franchise.

HBO’s heavily anticipated show The Last of Us starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey is creating turmoil with its riveting plot and incredible casting. The show has gained the likes of many viewers– Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, and IGN all rate the show above 90% and their general audience is moved with every new episode. It has quickly become a must-see for anybody who enjoys apocalyptic media, but this is not the first time people have heard the name The Last of Us. This title is synonymous with a video game released originally in 2013, which surpassed expectations in every way when it was initially released. The show follows the same plot line as the game does, as it is a TV-adaptation of such. The franchise released a sequel in 2020 which was confronted with mixed opinions, but pulled at the same heartstrings the first game did. Around only 66.7% of Becton members were previously familiar with the show being linked to a game. With only three episodes aired so far, why does the show have such ratings so early in its release? How memorable of an adaptation is it exactly?


The show takes place in an apocalyptic wasteland, where what is remaining of the military is repetitively trying to dictate who is not infected. Alongside this, however, there will always be an opposing side. The Fireflies, whose slogan is “When you’re lost in the darkness, look for the light,” is run by a woman named Marlene, and they diligently work to find cures and get rid of FEDRA, the main military community in the show. We closely follow Joel and Tess, two of the main characters who are under FEDRA’s regulations, as they look for Joel’s brother, Tommy. To do this, they need transportation, which is where we start to understand where the plot is taking us. In a trade-off deal with Marlene, Joel and Tess agree to smuggle a 14-year-old girl named Ellie to Fireflies outside of the city in exchange for a car battery. The plan quickly goes awry when the pair discover the reason why Marlene needed Ellie transported– the young girl is infected, but has not turned. Ellie claims that Marlene told her that what had happened to her, was “the key to finding a vaccine.” Joel does not buy it, but when sudden events leave his partner Tess dead, he finds that he needs to fight for Ellie if nothing else. 

The Last of Us takes place during an apocalypse, but it is not the average zombie show. In actuality, the virus displayed is a real fungus called Cordyceps, but do not worry– it only has the capability to overtake ants. Since this is a fiction show it can stretch the truth a bit, but that does not take away from the fact that it becomes a horrific thought. Essentially, the fungus grows around and inside of human bodies when they are infected with a bite mark. It resembles something of a hard shell surrounding the person’s head, and only gets larger depending on how long the person is infected. What makes this show and environment frightening is the fact that despite the fungi’s inability to infect humans in the real world, the fungus still exists and perhaps in the future, this could happen. There is violence and real fear instilled within you when watching– the special FX and auditory detail done in this show is incredible. 

Members of the Becton community seem to take a liking to how everything is being portrayed, within the characters, environment, progression, etc. Dr. DeSousa, one of our English teachers here, was already a previous fan of The Last of Us games and still is impressed with how the show is being carried out. “The TV show captures the gritty nature of the setting. Joel is spot on and Ellie is pretty close to how she behaves in the game. They do a good job of leaving a hook at the end of the episodes so you want to know what happens.” It is not just DeSousa who thinks this– all of our Becton responses say that they are enjoying the show and excited for another episode each week. Freshman Tristan Ramirez, similar to many viewers, is excited to see “The Cordyceps and spores from the game in live action.” Even completely new viewers, such as our school counselor Ms. Cozza, are hooked on this show, despite her saying that it is a bit “scary and gross at times.” 

The cover art for The Last of Us game from 2013.

Viewers predict that the show will follow the overarching plotline of the first game, with some added content that we never got to experience back in 2013. This is why, when done correctly, show adaptations are so exciting to experience. There is always something missing, or blanks left to fill, that the original piece of work simply did not cover. A great example of this in the show is how, within the first few minutes of the first episode, there is already an amount of coverage on what exactly the Cordyceps fungus is, whereas the first game did not cover nearly as much as that. In fact, there is a glaring lack of context for where it originated from in the games. Neil Druckmann, the original mastermind behind The Last of Us is working behind the scenes of the show as well. We can trust that all information about the virus that was lacking within the games is completely true within the show. Daniel Salgado, a freshman here at Becton, predicts something a little bit different than the norm. “I think that it will end differently than how the game did. Maybe even allowing the show to have more content than both of The Last of Us games.” We cannot be sure just yet, but the show will come together little by little when each episode airs every Sunday.