“The Last of Us” show perfectly adapts the energy from the game while also making the story its own

 In 2013, a game called “The Last of Us” (later changed and referred to as “The Last of Us: Part I”) was released exclusively on PlayStation, with a sequel titled “The Last of Us: Part II” released for the platform in 2020. HBO announced their show adaptation in November 2020, and released the first season’s episodes between January 15-March 12, 2023.

the last of us poster
The TV show poster for “The Last of Us.” (HBO Max)

The adaptation of the game to a show was perfect.

The story focuses on the main character, Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a girl whose immune to the infection that turns anyone who gets it into an “infected” (similar to a zombie), who gets escorted across the United States by Joel (Pedro Pascal) for a rebel group called the Fireflies, who claim they can use Ellie to find a cure. Ramsey and Pascal do perfect jobs of adapting the characters while also making them their own, with Joel feeling more human and vulnerable and Ellie feeling more strong-hearted and goofy. The two also manage to set up the character development for the characters in the second game (the show was greenlit for a second season less than two weeks after the premiere), which was noticeable and appreciated by all fans of the game who were nervous for the show adaptation. 

The game tells a story of post-apocalyptic humanity and how no one is inherently good or bad, just human. The show adapted this well, even going as far as expanding on the stories of characters who don’t get a lot of time in the game (like Bill and Frank get a full love story, while in game their relationship is only implied) and making every character less cold and feel more human (like Sam, who is way more tender and kind in the show compared to in the game). This was a fantastic choice because it focuses less on the apocalypse and more on the humanity, developing the message of the game even farther. Season 2 is going to be awesome in this department due to the morals being tested of every character in the second game.

I have a hard time deciding a favorite episode, but I loved Episode 7. The episode adapts the DLC of the game, “The Last of Us: Left Behind” which explores the backstory of Ellie and her best friend/first love Riley, where they got bitten by infected together but only Riley turned due to Ellie’s immunity. The showrunners managed to adapt the DLC perfectly, down to several of the lines being re-said in the show and the kiss scene between the two girls being almost identical. I cried watching it (and the entire show).

The adaptation of the game was done incredibly well, and, seeing as I like the second game more, I am very excited to see where they go creatively for the second season.