HBO’s “The Last of Us” Breaks Records, Setting High Bar for Video Game Adaptations


"The Last of Us™ Remastered_20140810072325" by Néstor Carvajal is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Last of Us began streaming on HBO Max on January 15th, and is based off of the award winning, best seller, Playstation exclusive video game that has lived on since it launched on the PS3 back in 2013.

Christian Movick, Multimedia Editor

The Last of Us was already an extremely popular video game before it hit the streaming platform in January, having sold a total of 37 million copies from its franchise and being one of the most-sold Playstation games of all time.

Since releasing on HBO Max, it has become even more popular as it has been able to reach out to the non-gaming community as well.
In its premiere of the series, the critically acclaimed show gained 4.7 million viewers and has since become the most-watched show on HBO Max. With the game being acclaimed by many PlayStation gamers as one of the best games of all time, it is no surprise that it has scored amazing reviews, with RottenTomatoes giving it a 96%.
The show begins the same day the game begins, with the main protagonist Joel Miller having a normal life with his daughter. Later that night, an outbreak of a fungus known as cordyceps, which is capable of taking control of insects, begins to infect humans. Joel then takes his daughter, along with his brother Tommy, and attempts to escape the city.

Before he can get out, however, he is stopped by someone in the army who has been given orders to open fire. While Tommy is able to save Joel from being killed by the soldier, his daughter dies in his arms from the wounds she suffered from the initial shots fired.
The show then fast forwards 20 years later, where Joel is there shortly after tasked with delivering a girl to a base belonging to a militia group revolting against the government’s oppressive military known as the Fireflies. Joel later finds out that the girl in question, Ellie Williams, is said to be immune to the cordyceps, and by bringing her to the Fireflies, they may be able to figure out a cure against the cordyceps.

After getting there and discovering that no one at the base was still alive, Joel reluctantly takes it upon himself to get Ellie to a Firefly hospital halfway across the country, per his friend and potential romantic partners’ dying wish.
The show primarily captures the experiences they go through to get to the hospital, with countless close calls. After finally arriving at the hospital, Joel is informed that they will have to kill Ellie in order to extract what they need to potentially create a cure. Ellie is not aware of anything that is occurring during her time in the hospital, as she is unconscious nearly the entire time.
From there, Joel tears through the entire hospital, killing all who stand in his way to rescue Ellie, who at this point has now become like a daughter to Joel.

Afterwards, Joel lies to Ellie to protect her, saying that the Fireflies had found others just like her, and that they didn’t need her for the cure.
The show ends with Joel and Ellie walking to where Tommy has essentially built a safe haven with a small civilization. As they get over the top of a small mountain, Ellie stops Joel and talks to him about survivor’s guilt before saying, “Swear to me. Swear to me that everything you said about the Fireflies is true.” The show then cuts to credits after Joel says “I swear,” and Ellie responds, “Okay.”
Sophomore Ven Jollif said that while she loved the game and the show, she thought the game was better.
“They kept a lot of elements that they had in the game when they made the show, but they also altered it a little bit which gave them the ability to expand more on [Bill and Frank’s] story… which I really appreciate, it’s really cute,” Jollif said.
She said that the show made her want to play the game again.
“My favorite part of the show is when Joel got Ellie from the hospital,” Jollif said.
Assistant Principal John Fitzgerald said that while he has not played the game yet, he plans to get a Playstation and play sometime soon.
“[The] show was great,” Fitzgerald said. “My wife and I looked forward to every Sunday night. I miss it now cause now it’s like I don’t have anything else to watch… whenever there’s a really good show like that I get really into it. I pretty much only watch great TV, and that was great TV.”
He said now that he has finished the show, he was especially looking forward to experiencing the game.
“Now I’m really looking forward to going back and playing both so that I have some kind of idea of it,” he said.
Fitzgerald said that his favorite episode was episode five.
“They were in Kansas City and it’s got the older brother and the younger brother, the younger brother being hearing impaired, and then they had the end where the [infected] hoard comes pouring out of the ground and that was just insanity,” he said.
As for the decision Joel made at the end to save Ellie, Fitzgerald said he “one hundred percent” agreed with it.
“I would’ve done exactly what Joel did… cause that’s basically like his daughter, so he did everything he could to protect her and then was very happy to also lie about it also to protect her,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald also said, “I thought that it was a very paternal decision, and it was very in line with what I would do. But I know a lot of people saw that as like a really grey moral area, which it was, but I get it.”
Fitzgerald also pointed out how Ellie had no choice in the decision.
“There would’ve been a thousand ways to have gone about it in a better way. So, 100%, Joel was right.”