“Endure and Survive”
The Last of Us has consistently brought the quality to HBO Max every week. This week, the show arrived on a Friday night in order to avoid the scheduling conflict with the Super Bowl, which is airing during the shows normal release time frame. It was a very intelligent move and it brought something even more special for a Friday night.
This episode’s conclusion did not bring tears to my eyes. It was so far past that. I had an empty feeling, a hollow feeling in my gut. It was devastating.
Such an amazing roller coaster ride of emotions.
As I have mentioned before, I have not played The Last of Us video game so I am approaching this show without any prior knowledge of these characters and their eventual fates. So the introduction of Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam (Keivonn Woodard), brothers who were on the run from the crazy Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey) for a reason we did not know, at first, felt like the expansion of our group. Henry and Sam, the young boy Sam who was deaf and had to use ASL), seemed to fit beautifully with Joel and Ellie. Which only made it more heart-breaking when they met their fates.
That scene where Henry shoots the infected Sam, with the blood pooling upon the floor, and then, in shock, kills himself, was beyond much of anything I can remember. The last time I remember feeling that anguish in my gut over a TV show was when Negan killed Glenn on the Walking Dead.
These two actors who played Henry and Sam, Lamar Johnson and Keivonn Woodard, did an amazing job of making us care about their characters in a very short time. They had a natural charm about them and I know I was rooting for their continuation in the series. Alas, it was not to be.
But the horrible ending was not the only epic part of this episode. We also got an unbeleivable zombie reveal as a ton of the infected came running out of a sinkhole to attack and brutalize Kathleen’s forces just as she was about to kill Henry. The little girl clicker was unbelievably frightening and The Bloated was massive and dominant.
Oh and… damn Joel… who knew you were such a great shot with a sniper rifle? He was picking off infected mere steps away from Ellie. I would have to question every shot, afraid that I might accidentally shoot Ellie.
The show has done a sensational job of creating the tone of anxiousness and the feel that something is about to happen around every corner. It really does an excellent job of giving the audience an insight into what it would be like to live in this Hellscape world. However, we still are able to find those little moments of humanity and joy even in this world. For example, the laughs of Sam as Ellie showed him the stupid pun book from last episode. Even Henry commented about not hearing that laugh in a long time. Ellie’s very existence provides the show with something that was lacking with The Walking Dead, hope.
Every episode has been absolutely stunning so far and, in five scant episodes, has taken its place at the very top of the list of video game adaptations.