The Last of Us S1 E1

SPOILERS

“When You’re Lost in Darkness”

So this is gonna be one of those kind of shows, huh?

HBO’s new original series, The Last of Us, which is based on a popular video game, debuted its first episode on the streamer service Sunday night to some powerful shocks and some emotional moments.

I suppose those people who are more familiar with the actual game may have been more prepared for what the show brought, but, since I had no knowledge of anything going in, the start of this episode ripped my heart out. It starts by introducing us to Joel, as played by Pedro Pascal, and his daughter Sarah, played by Nico Parker. It is Joel’s birthday and his daughter wants to spend time with him, but he has to work. After her school, she gets his watch fixed as a gift and waits for him to get home.

Meanwhile, all Hell breaks loose and the military is cracking down. Sarah tried to return her neighbor’s runaway dog to them only to find them being devoured by the old lady that lived there.

Her father and his brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna) returned then and they went on the run. With cars crashing and planes falling out of the sky, it was clear that people had started becoming sick and were turning into these monstrous bloodthirsty creatures. During their flight, they ran into an army man who received orders to shoot them. Tommy go the drop on the soldier but not before he had shot Sarah and she died in Joel’s arms.

I was crushed.

I had really liked Sarah. In the short time that we had seen her, I could see her as the lead protagonist of this series. She was such a lovely young lady and there is no doubt that Nico Parker is a star in the making. She had a definite charisma about her. Then, she was dead and the show was flashing forward 20 years. I had the same feeling when Avengers: Endgame flashed ahead 5 years after Thor killed Thanos. I didn’t know what was next in the show.

I did have some trouble getting back into the story after the time jump, but the show gave us another horrible image of a little boy arriving and being told that he was ‘safe.’ The next thing we see is a little boy’s hooded body being dumped in a fire pit with other dead, presumably infected, people.

Joel was still here, clearly going through the motions, still haunted by that horrific night. We are then introduced to a bunch of new characters, but these were much more difficult to connect with because they were now in a dystopian future with a military presence in the streets and a rebellion alive and well. The setting made it more challenging to connect with these new characters who were hardened from their exposure to this world.

We meet another young girl, named Elle, played by Bella Ramsey, who has some significance. We find out that she registers as infected, but seemingly does not exhibit the same symptoms as others who are infected. She and Joel wind up together on a mission to drop her off and for Joel to find his missing brother.

As I had said, I really loved the beginning of this show, and then felt like I was kicked in the gut. Sarah’s death was totally unexpected for me and was a serious blow. The stuff set in 2023 was more difficult to engage with, but it was still intriguing. Pedro Pascal is awesome and it is nice to be able to see his face all the time (unlike his role on The Mandalorian). Elle is an engaging character and mysterious with her showing to be infected. I expect to connect with her more as the series progresses.

This episode was really great and it looks like HBO has another excellent series.

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