A FLESH new watch: Staffers review HBO’s show “The Last of Us”
The dystopian zombie show, based on a video game by the same name, follows Joel (Pedro Pascal) as he tries to protect Ellie (Bella Ramsey) while they cross the U.S. The show explores the depths of humanity with hard-hitting scripts and acting; the viewer is left with tears streaming down their face, wondering if they are living the way they should be.
The actors bring a sense of depth into the show that may not have been there otherwise—how Joel and Ellie walk closer together as the show progresses and the smaller interactions that build the relationship between characters. With such a heart-wrenching show, it can be emotionally draining to keep watching, but each performer brings a unique personality to each character and keeps the audience coming back every Sunday.
An especially interesting character is Joel, a detached personality, that Pascal naturally begins to open up to Ellie and the audience. Even side characters leave a lasting impact on the story. Sarah (Nico Parker) who is only shown in one episode, is an exceedingly lovable character that was able to clearly communicate a realistic father-daughter relationship with Joel in less than one episode.
Going through and rewatching episodes to decipher small details makes the series infinitely more enjoyable. For example, in the first episode Joel and Sarah discreetly avoid eating anything with flour—there is no more pancake mix, they turn down the neighbor’s biscuits and Joel forgets his own birthday cake. At the beginning of episode two, it is revealed that workers in a flour factory have been attacking each other—a more subtle callback to the first episode, and an exciting puzzle that those with a keen eye can stay engaged.
The use of angles and color palettes catch the watcher’s eye and contrast the hope before the outbreak and the bleakness of life has afterwards. The first episode, a telling of the first day of the outbreak, is entirely shot with handheld cameras, seamlessly bringing the viewer to the hauntingly beautiful world the directors have built.