HBO’s adaption of The Last Of Us is finally here! And being the total (dosser) nerd I am, I couldn’t wait until tonight to watch it. So with reckless abandon, I watched it this morning whilst my Monday morning emails and calls racked up. I am out of control.

So, the big question is, was it any good? Damn yeah, it was! It was literally like watching the game come to life on screen. It’s early days I know, but the attention to detail, the acting and sets, and the overall look and feel are near perfect.

Naturally, fans and critics are clamoring over themselves saying this is the best video game adaptation ever, but hold your horses there geeks, we are only 85 minutes into a very long story arc. Oh, who am I kidding, yeah, it’s going to be the best video game adaptation ever!

Warning: There are going to be spoilers ahead for those unfamiliar with the source material.

The Story And Changes

For those of you who haven’t played The Last Of Us (parts 1 and 2), they are arguably two of the greatest video games of all time. There are some slight changes to the series but nothing (yet) that ruins the original story.

Set in 2013 (2003 for the TV series), normal everyday life is suddenly turned into a hellscape after an outbreak of a mutant Cordyceps fungus. The fungus basically transforms its human hosts into aggressive creatures known as the Infected, or Clickers.

Joel Last Of Us

The opening 20 minutes or so of the game and the series would best be described as something similar to Zack Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead when everyday life quickly turns to shit. 

In the suburbs of Austin, Texas, Joel (played by Pedo Pascal) flees the chaos with his brother Tommy and daughter Sarah. As they flee, Sarah is shot by a soldier and dies in Joel’s arms.

Joel and daughter

Time Jump

We’re reunited with Joel twenty years later at the Boston Quarantine Zone, casting the corpse of an infected child onto an open bonfire, we meet Anna Torv’s Tess, who has been beaten by the goons of a dude called Robert. He’s just double-crossed Joel and Tess on a deal to sell them a car battery that Joel and Tess wanted in order to travel across the country to find Joel’s brother Tommy.

A car bomb explodes enabling Tess to escape and lose Robert. She returns to Joel and they set up a plan to track him down and recover the battery. They eventually find Robert but he’s been killed in a shootout with a group called the Fireflies, to who Robert was selling the battery.

In the game, Robert is a black-market dealer, who has stolen Joel and Tess’ weapons cache and they are hunting him down to recover it. Before Tess kills him, which she doesn’t do in the show, Robert reveals that he traded the cache with the Fireflies.

Last Of us
No masks eh, what about the spores? This seems like a big change.

The Fireflies

The Fireflies, a rebel militia opposing the quarantine zone authorities. They revolted against military oppression and intended to restore government control.

The Fireflies are also searching for a vaccine for the Cordyceps brain infection and will do whatever it takes to accomplish it. Their group has spread throughout the country, but their final main headquarters was located at St. Mary’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Fireflies

Ellie

Ellie is the main character of the story. She’s a young girl who seems to be immune to Cordyceps. Although at this early stage of the story, Joel thinks she’s just the daughter of some powerful parents who want her back at all costs.

After Joel and Tess discover Robert’s body, they are confronted by Marlene (Merle Dandridge) who has been injured. Out of nowhere, Ellie (Bella Ramsey) tries to ambush Joel only for it to fail miserably. Thankfully we are not subjected to any wimmin power here. 

Marlene promises to double their cache in return for smuggling Ellie to the Fireflies hiding outside the quarantine zone. An offer too good to turn down, they agree on the principle that if the cache isn’t handed over to them, they’ll kill Ellie without hesitation.

Last Of Us 3
Ellie and Tess escape the quarantine zone.

Later that night, under the cover of the dark, Joel, Tess, and Ellie attempt to escape the quarantine zone but are caught by an armed guard. Using a handheld device that can test if people are infected, Ellie panics and stabs the guard in the leg.

An ensuing fight breaks out and Joel beats the guard to death. This is where Tess discovers that Ellie tested positive but is bewildered she’s not showing signs of infection. Ellie explains that she’s immune and could be a cure to save mankind and we are left with all three walking off to reveal the iconic tumbled skyscrapers in the background.

Skyscrapers

So Far So Good

The end of episode one is actually the beginning of this terrifying adventure and my only criticism so far is that this opening episode needed another 30 minutes! If they had just given us a taster of the Clickers and the dangers they pose, then I think those who are not familiar with the source material would be blown away.

But the first episode was a slow burn and I’m grateful I know what’s to come. For those who haven’t seen it but are interested, I promise you this could be something very special. You will soon cross paths with Clickers, rival gangs, and all sorts of vile nastiness you can imagine in a world gone completely tits up.

And for The Last Of Us fans who have played the game, what are your thoughts so far? Let me know in the comments section.

Joel

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