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The Last of Us: A Zombie Show where the Zombies aren’t the Scariest Thing

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

In these last nine weeks, every Sunday, I have been tuning into “The Last of Us,” HBO’s newest show based on the video game of the same name.

I’ll be honest. When I first started this show, I was not expecting to be as awestruck as I am now. I mainly started the show because one of my favorite actors was casted as one of the main leads. Moreover, I expected this show to match the vibes of many of my other favorite shows with scary zombies, like The Walking Dead, World War Z, and a lot of others.

However, what I personally think makes “The Last of Us” stand out from many other beloved zombie movies and shows is the fact that the zombies are the least scary thing in the whole story: rather, it is the humans and the decisions that they can make in life-or-death situations that are the greatest thing to fear.

For some context to my previous statement, “The Last of Us” takes place in an alternate version of our present where the cordyceps fungi has gained the ability to take over human minds and turn them into dangerous, man-eating zombies.

In the show, we follow two main characters: Joel (Pedro Pascal), a character who has already lost a lot and maintains a hard exterior to keep himself from hurting even more and Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a young girl who has an unique immunity to the cordyceps infections and has seen much death and destruction in her life. The two’s paths end up crossing when Joel is asked to transport Ellie to a lab where scientists are waiting to see if they can use her abilities to create a vaccine to protect others from the cordyceps. 

Along the way, however, Joel and Ellie run into many different people with many different hopes and agendas. 

For me, one of the greatest strengths of this show was its ability to get you deep into your feelings. More specifically, each episode did a great job of getting you attached to even the minorest of characters. When something bad happens to literally anyone, you feel like your heart is getting pulled into a thousand different pieces. On the other hand, when something so gut wrenchingly horrifying is happening on screen, you can feel your tummy turn as you are watching. 

Another strength of this show was the acting. Both the two leads, Bella and Pedro, were absolutely amazing, and they deserve all of the awards this next cycle of TV awards. Additionally, thanks to how this show was structured, we get so many amazing guest appearances. I especially loved the performances of Nico Parker (she plays Sarah, Joel’s daughter) and Lamar Johnson (Henry, a character who Ellie and Joel meet in Episode 5). Even with their short appearances, they were still able to leave a lasting impression on me as a viewer.

One small criticism I have was that the season felt too short! There were some arcs that I wish got to last a lot longer. I especially felt that the final episode was simply too short, there was a lot of material yet not enough time to really let certain plot points marinate. I hope that the next season has more episodes within it so that certain points can be explored in greater depth.

Regardless, I really enjoyed watching the Last of Us every single week and I cannot wait to see what happens next. 

Brinda Kalita

UC Riverside '24

4th year history major with opinions on anything and everything