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The Last of Us Episode 1: Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey bring alive the game-accurate post-apocalyptic drama

Created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us game is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar

Saikat Chakraborty Calcutta Published 19.01.23, 12:44 PM
A still from The Last of Us.

A still from The Last of Us. Twitter

HBO’s new post-apocalyptic drama series The Last of Us, adapted from a popular video game of the same name by Naughty Dod, features Game of Thrones actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in lead roles alongside Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandridge and Anna Torv. Here’s why the first episode of the show, which landed on Disney+ Hotstar on January 16, is a must watch.

Game-accurate series adaptation


The Last of Us Episode 1 has mostly remained loyal to the video game, although the makers hinted at some new narrative elements for future episodes. Some of the camera angles and specific phrases have been adapted directly from the video game. Even the attire for some of the characters in the series are the same as their video game counterparts.

As in the video game, The Last of Us begins with a global pandemic triggered by a fungal infection that turns its victims into bloodthirsty attackers. Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) tries to flee the neighbourhood with his daughter, Sarah (Nico Parker), to avoid the infection but the girl is killed by a soldier. Cut to 20 years into the future — Joel, who now lives in the Boston quarantine zone, is tormented by the loss of her daughter and has become a black-market smuggler with a tough exterior to hide his pain. He has been tasked with transporting Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a 14-year-old orphan, across the zombie-infested land to the headquarters of a militant revolutionary faction.

Cold opening adds a sense of relatability

The cold opening begins with a talk show set in 1968 and takes us directly to the origin of the fungus infection. It shows an overenthusiastic talk-show host interviewing two epidemiologists with opposing views about the impending pandemic. This scene smoothly sets the stage for newcomers, giving an all-too-relatable pandemic context of The Last of Us world and also providing something new for gamers.

The series premiere effectively sets up a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies and cannibalistic creatures. It showcases a struggle between the military dictatorship, who run the quarantine zones, and the uninfected people inside those zones as they are forced into hard labour. This bleak atmosphere exudes the eerie feel of an alternate universe resembling the post-pandemic world we inhabit.

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey are the soul of the show

After his portrayal of Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones Season 4, which established him as the blue-eyed boy of television, Pascal scores again in The Last of Us Episode 1. He captures Joel’s inner torment and grief at the loss of his only daughter. Even when Pedro plays tough as a black market smuggler, his subterranean flow of empathy for Ellie is on point. Bella Ramsey, who played Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones, fits the bill as Ellie, who is immune to the infection and may be the key to creating a vaccine. Bella effortlessly blends the teenage angst of Ellie and her vulnerability.

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