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The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

The Last of Us: TV show versus video game

Photo+provided+by+Unsplash%2C+Denny+M%C3%BCller.+
Photo provided by Unsplash, Denny Müller.

By Madison Lira

The Last of Us, a survival horror game developed by Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 in 2013, has become a full-fledged HBO Max show. The TV show, which premiered on Jan. 13 of this year, was a nine-episode synopsis of the main storyline, which many gamers relived from the heartbreaking game that came out nearly a decade ago. Before diving into my personal review of the show and how it lived up to the game, I need to air out this fact. I did not play the game when it came out or even when the remastered edition for PlayStation 4 was released. Instead, I watched walkthroughs of the game on Youtube from people like Markiplier and TheRadBrad when they played the game. 

With that out of the way, I will say the TV show did a fantastic job on not only the scenery and the entire vibes that matched the game, but they created storylines that made me sob like a baby, even more than the game’s original story did. First, the beginning of the show of the scientist talking about the cordyceps and how it can be a very real possibility for humankind to experience freaked me out. Opening with something like that sets up the pain and suffering to be endured by the characters of the show/game.

Moving onto the actual storyline, I will say that even having watched previous walkthroughs of the game and knowing full well who would be dying, nothing could’ve prepared me for how the show would dive deep into these deaths. Seeing Sarah’s death (Nico Parker) and Joel holding her (Pedro Pascal) in real-time again and in the flesh made the scene even more heartbreaking. Tess’s death as well was heartbreaking to see in real-time but also creepy as one of the infected stuck his fungi tongue down her throat before she burned all of them (including herself) alive, which was a radical change from the firefight against the government that you have to endure in the game. 

However, nothing prepared me for the episodes surrounding Bill (Nick Offerman) and his partner Frank (Murray Bartlett). The game initially gave hints that Bill was gay but never outright said it; in the show, however, they dedicated an entire episode to their relationship. Seeing these two men find love in the ending times for humans was beautiful and sinisterly heartbreaking. The two dying in their bedroom after getting married had me broken down in tears, as these two had spent the rest of their lives in love during a time when every man and woman was fighting for themselves. 

Sam’s (Kievonn Montreal) and Henry’s (Lamar Johnson) storylines in the show made me bawl like a baby, especially at the end. They chose in the show to make Sam deaf and for him to carry aboard what he uses to communicate. They also made Ellie (Bella Ramsey) make herself bleed and rub her blood into Sam’s infected bite and tell him, “My blood is medicine.” From there, to have Henry himself shoot Sam instead of Joel shooting him and then having Henry so consumed with the guilt of what he’s done shoot himself made my heart ache. Then to add a full dagger to the heart moment, they closed the episode of Joel and Ellie burying them and Ellie writing on Sam’s board that she was sorry that she didn’t save him from becoming infected.  

Although I had some grievances against the show, mainly going really quickly through the plotline, I felt that nine episodes were too quick to get through everything from the first game. The show did a fantastic job portraying the game, and not many tv shows/movies based on video games do a wonderful job at creating not only the atmosphere but recreating the characters and their stories beautifully (looking at you, Super Mario Bros. Movie). I wish they had added many more fighting scenes against the infected in the show, including the part where Joel is dangling in one of Bill’s traps in a warehouse and has to shoot upside down while Ellie attempts to cut him loose. They also did not include an iconic piece of dialogue between Joel and his brother Tommy, “I reckon it’s got something to do with that girl. It’s got everything to do with that little girl.”

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