Review: ‘The Last of Us’ proves itself again


Sophia 'Gummy' Sunbury

‘The Last of Us’ explores the dynamic between Joel and Ellie, and what happens when a close, but cautious bond is pushed to its limits.

(This article contains spoilers) 

Time and time again, “The Last of Us” continues to prove itself to be the shining pearl that is, and with good reason. In my last review, I praised the show for its commitment to adapting the game faithfully to the screen while not being afraid to stand out. Now that all the episodes are out, my previous opinion still reigns true; this is undoubtedly one of the best shows this year.

Most of the show’s second half takes place during the winter, with the locations having a beautiful, haunting quality to each of them; you never know if something will pop out and threaten our leading duo. The settlement in Jackson is also impressive, with its rustic feel making the place seem friendly and safe as opposed to the ruined cities of Boston and Kansas City, as seen previously in the show. The town itself in-game is a concrete-based settlement, but the change was made for the show because of how the real-life Jackson had evolved

It was not just the set pieces that stood out; characters in these episodes are portrayed immaculately, especially Ellie, played by Bella Ramsey. While they initially received harsh criticism online for being cast for the role, their portrayal of the character is one of the rawest performances I’ve ever seen. Their performance in episode eight was a highlight for me. Ellie’s rage and violence towards David, the cannibalistic cult leader who later attempts to assault her, is incredibly realistic given the circumstances and, in some ways, cathartic to watch. 

It isn’t just Ramsey’s acting that stands out. The relationship between Ellie and Joel, played by Pedro Pascal, evolves as the show progresses. We start to see the dynamic shift in Jackson when Joel vents to his brother, Tommy, about how he fears he won’t be able to protect Ellie in a time of need, and we also see Ellie’s protectiveness of Joel as well. This, and other events during the show, all lead to the hospital scene in the finale, in which Joel murders numerous members of the Fireflies to escape with Ellie. With its fast pacing compared to the slower-paced sequence from the game, it’s hard not to feel like you’re getting whiplash watching it. 

In short, “The Last of Us” is not about monsters. Rather, it is a story dedicated to regular people who are either dedicated to themselves or others and what they do when pushed to their limits. In a world already pushed to the brink, clickers aren’t the only monsters people have to fear. 

If you have not already, I cannot highly recommend this show enough. If you enjoy stories with complex plots and hints of action and horror, this is the right show for you!