The Last Of Us Episode 1 Review - 9 Ups & 1 Down

"When you're lost in the darkness..."

the last of us hbo
HBO

The live action debut of HBO's take on The Last of Us - the most devastating video game story ever conceived - is an unadulterated triumph.

When You're Lost In The Darkness is a wholly epic 81 minute initial dive into Ellie and Joel's post-apocalyptic world, carried by sublime performances, a hauntingly melancholic atmosphere and loving callbacks to the original source material.

*SPOILERS follow for Episode 1*

The Last of Us' first episode brings a pair of the video game's most seminal sequences to life. The narrative begins with the harrowing death of Joel's daughter Sarah as the world descends into chaos, before his introduction to Ellie 20 years later - a foul mouthed, resourceful young girl who may just be the key to curing the cordyceps pandemic.

The pressure resting on the shoulders of showrunners Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin was almost indescribable, and the effortless aplomb with which they have delivered, quite frankly, beggars belief.

Even the wildest dreams of the most die-hard fans couldn't have envisioned such an exemplary debut. It is already clear that this show is a masterpiece in the making, effortlessly breaking the "curse" associated with live-action adaptations.

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey appear primed to take viewers on an unforgettable journey of loss, redemption and sacrifice - the likes of which are rarely seen before in the context of a video game.

10. Up - The Infected Child

the last of us hbo
HBO

One of the episode's most melancholic sequences perfectly set the scene for a desolating state of affairs, following a 20 year time jump in the aftermath of Sarah's death. Even the most optimistic viewers had grasped things probably weren't going to totally hunky-dory following an extinction-level pandemic, but the extent to which the world had gone to sh*t was yet to be unveiled.

New fans are introduced to totalitarian oppressors FEDRA - the last surviving remnants of government - in abjectly horrifying circumstances. In a morbidly inspired piece of poetic license, FEDRA are duly revealed to be euthanising infected survivors, ramping the levels of evil associated with the first game's overarching antagonists up to eleven from the get go.

The first depicted victim of FEDRA's abhorrent prerogative is none other than a young boy, who appears alone outside the quarantine zone with nothing but the shoes on his feet.

Heartbreakingly empty promises of food and toys are made as a test reveals his infection, but the final gut punch is delivered when the next scene reveals the boy's corpse with a sack over his head. Indistinguishable but for his distinctive trainers.

The visual of Joel emotionlessly tipping the child's remains into the billowing flames of a bonfire is indescribably haunting - swiftly establishing FEDRA as an mercilessly sinister antagonistic force, while highlighting Joel's evolution from loving father to hardened survivor in the most brutal clarity imaginable.

Contributor

Law graduate with a newly rediscovered passion for writing, mad about film, television, gaming and mixed martial arts. Can usually be found having some delightful manner of violence being inflicted upon him at Team Phoenix Martial Arts or playing with his golden retriever.