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The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

“The Last of Us” is a Stellar Video Game Adaptation

The show relies on emotional performances and visual effects to recreate a virtual world.
Photo Courtesy / YouTube HBOMax

With the conclusion of HBO’s “The Last of Us’” first season, viewers are left reeling after an ultimate cliffhanger. The show has left an indelible mark on television and paves the way for a new era of video game adaptations. 

“The Last of Us” is a nine-episode series that explores a powerful journey through post-apocalyptic America. The show follows Joel (Pedro Pascal), a smuggler tasked with escorting Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a young girl who holds the key to a cure for a deadly virus that has decimated the world. 

Pascal delivers a poignant performance as a grieving father tasked with a life-or-death task. His chemistry with Ramsey is apparent, and the two share emotional scenes that bring a heartwarming aspect to a dark series. Newcomer Ramsey cements herself as a leading woman and shows promise for upcoming installments. The show’s supporting cast adds intensity to the story, including Gabriel Luna as Joel’s brother Tommy and Merle Dandridge as the leader of the Fireflies.

The show’s writing almost mirrors that of the game and expands on the world written by Neil Druckman and Craig Mazin, who also served as writers for the show. The show carries themes such as loss, love and survival. The third episode, “Long, Long Time,” takes a break from Joel and Ellie’s story and highlights supporting characters Bill and Frank, played by Nick Offerman and “The White Lotus” Murray Bartlett. The episode dives deep into the relationship between the two and helps keep the pace of the larger story. 

Pedro Pascal stars as Joel in “The Last of Us.”
Photo Courtesy / YouTube HBOMax

The show’s design and visual effects are a television wonder. HBO gives viewers a hyper-realistic perspective of a post-apocalyptic America with abandoned buildings and picturesque west coast views. 

“The Last of Us” does not lack in the action aspect. The show features gruesome zombies and convincingly taps into the violence and brutality of the game. The action scenes leave viewers anticipating what comes next and are well-placed in the episodes. 

The series has garnered widespread critical praise. The Daily Beast’s Nick Schager writes, “As heartbreakingly faithful as it is riveting and suspenseful, The Last of Us is a triumph that ends any further debate about the all-time best video game adaptation.” 

“The Last of Us” isn’t the first video game adaptation to reach the big screen, but it surely tops any list. “Tomb Raider,” “Resident Evil” and “Uncharted” are just a few of the adaptations that have been bested by “The Last of Us.” 

The show has already surpassed HBO’s Game of Thrones spinoff “House of the Dragon” in full-season viewership, marking a new high for the streaming service facing “lackluster subscriptions.” The service is reportedly merging with Discovery+ this spring to become “MAX.” 

The show has been renewed for a second season, which will be based on the game’s second part. No details have yet been released. 

Stream the entire season of “The Last of Us” on HBOMax.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Seaman, Managing Editor
Olivia is a junior journalism student serving her second year as Managing Editor. Outside of The Torch, she is a student ambassador and an Undergraduate Writing Consultant at the University Writing Center. You can find her with a matcha latte in hand, listening to SZA and watching St. John's basketball. Olivia can be reached at [email protected]

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