The Last of Us Series Finale Review

Logan Stanley, Staff Reporter

The final episode of The Last of Us Season 1 has aired on HBO Max on March 12th, 2023, to acclaim from critics and fans alike. The series so far has delivered in a big way to both new fans of the show and older fans of the games.

Starring Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller and Bella Ramsey as Ellie, the show also has an impressive supporting cast. Nick Offerman portrays the character of Bill, while Murray Bartlett takes on the role of Frank. Lamar Johnson and Kevionn Woodward play the characters of brothers Henry and Sam respectively, Gabriel Luna takes on the role of Tommy Miller and Storm Reid plays Ellie’s best friend Riley. The show has also managed to incorporate several of the original games actors into new roles, including Troy Baker who originally played Joel in the games taking on a different role as James, Jeffrey Pierce who originally played Tommy as Perry, Merle Dandridge reprising her role from the games as Marlene, and Ashley Johnson who plays Ellie in the games returns as Ellie’s mother Anna.

As a fan of the original game, I was impressed with the attention to detail in the TV adaptation. The show manages to make changes and tweaks to the story without altering its overall tone, there are added scenes and new challenges for the characters face added to the show, keeping it fresh and suspenseful for fans who have already have already played the game without taking away from the already brilliant storytelling, if anything I think it adds new depth that manages to impress fans new and old. ┬áHaving Neil Druckmann, one of the original game’s directors, involved in the creative process and co-directing the first two episodes with Craig Mazin, the showrunner of Chernobyl, adds to the show’s uniqueness.

Also adding to the feel of the show, the original composer Gustavo Santaolalla who made the music for the games returns to compose new music for the TV series, adding an important element to the story and storytelling

The show also manages to effectively represent multiple diverse groups, such as the LGBTQ+ community, characters with disabilities, and those with mental health challenges. The 5th episode features Kevionn Woodward, who is deaf in real life, playing the character Sam who is also deaf. The 3rd episode explores the relationship and life of Bill and Frank, while the 7th episode delves into the dynamic between Ellie and her best friend Riley. The show also depicts Joel as struggling with his mental health and coming to terms with the loss of his daughter Sarah at the beginning of the outbreak. As the series progresses, he slowly opens up to Ellie and begins to see her as a surrogate daughter. There is added depth to Joel through some added scenes between him and other characters that help some of the themes get more explored than in the games, adding depth to the show and helping to humanize the characters a little more, making their journey more engaging.

In my opinion, the show has been phenomenal so far and I’m excited to see what’s next for the series. The renewal of the show for a second season has been confirmed alongside rumors of multiple more that will be covering the events of the events of the sequel game, The Last of Us Part II, with Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey reprising their roles as Joel and Ellie.