Monday, February 19, 2024

‘The Last of Us episode 1: spectacular start of a dystopian action series

'The Last of Us episode 1

‘The Last of Us episode 1: spectacular start of a dystopian action series

It’s here. After almost two years of waiting, what will undoubtedly be one of its star series of this 2023 arrives on the HBO Max platform. 

The Last of Us, the fiction based on the video game franchise by Neil Druckmann, who created himself. and by Craig Mazin, who was behind the successful Chornobyl.

'The Last of Us episode 1

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, who share Game of Thrones in the curriculum but were in different seasons, get into the skin of the two protagonists of the story.

Joel and Ellie must travel through the post-apocalyptic United States where a virus that turns people into zombies has wiped out all of humanity.

It all started in 2003

Everything has an origin, and this is demonstrated by the first chapter of The Last of Us which takes us back to 2003 when we see a world like the one we know now.

Specifically the modern civilization of the United States. There, Joel Miller and his daughter Sarah (Nico Parker) lead a simple but pleasant life in Austin, Texas.

It is through the eyes of the teenager, sweetly played by Parker, that we discover that something is happening, something that seems increasingly dangerous, and that is finally confirmed with the raid on the neighbor’s house.

It is admirable how The Last of Us builds that moment of suspense and terror in which everything changes and will never be the same again. 

The script and the rhythm go in a crescendo until culminating with the sequence in which Joel, Sarah, and their uncle Tommy (Gabriel Luna) escape by car, crossing the city full of explosions, dead and infected, and which ends with the collapse of the plane. Awesome.

A rhythm and interest that do not decrease

Despite the tragedy and sadness that Sarah’s death at the hands of a soldier leaves us (quite a bad thing for those who did not know the video game). 

The truth is that The Last of Us does not leave time for extensive reactions, because we immediately jump 20 years in time to enter the quarantined Boston of 2023.

What will have transpired during those 20 years?

Due to the rapid introduction of fresh people and events with rhythm and appeal, we may learn that at a later period or in a different production:

In this post-apocalyptic era, Joel is a renowned smuggler with his new partner, Tess (Anna Torv), and hasn’t heard from his brother Tommy for several weeks.

That leads him to make a pact with the leader of the Fireflies rebel group, Marlene (Merle Dandridge), who will give him a car with gasoline in exchange for taking a girl from the quarantine zone to one of her groups on the outskirts of the city.

'The Last of Us episode 1

But who is this girl, Ellie?

The character that Bella Ramsey plays with such fierceness, rebellion, and, at the same time, a sense of humor, wants to be protected at all costs by the rebel leader.

The fact that she is connected to the virus and that the last few sentences of the chapter demonstrate her infection are both obvious.

What is to come

The first episode of The Last of Us ends with an impressive general image in which Joel, Tess, and Ellie, already out of the quarantine zone, Run through the pitch-black streets of a wild, deserted, and overgrown Boston to enter between the buildings. 

Be careful with the production design and visual effects that the series offers us from its first chapter.

3-week period. Since the bite on Ellie’s arm had already completely healed, that is when she contracted the infection.

Why hasn’t she mutated into an aggressive zombie like the other infected? Is she perhaps immune? Could her DNA mean a cure for the virus?

We will discover this in the following eight chapters. Which fiction will surely continue to surprise and keep the viewer clinging to her seat?

Although Joel and Ellie have not started their relationship on the right foot, they must rely on each other to survive in this post-apocalyptic world in which they have already told us, they will find dangers even greater than the infected themselves.

Along the way, they will meet new characters like those played by Jeffrey Pierce, Murray Bartlett, or Nick Offerman.

What is clear is that the presentation chapter of The Last of Us is quite a declaration of intent, since it places the quality of the series at the highest level for the rest of the first season.

80 minutes of pure adrenaline, sustained tension, emotion, action, and good performances.

The HBO Max series is already conquering the public, critics, and even fans of Naughty Dog’s popular video game of the same name, something that does not always happen with this type of adaptation.

It’s worth a go even if you’re not a lover of post-apocalyptic literature.

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