The Last of Us Series Review

A very interesting yet shocking series, The Last of Us brings to life Naughty Dog's game with the same name.

The Last of Us Series Review
Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us. Source: HBO Max.
This post may contain spoilers.

Naughty Dog's popular game, The Last of Us, has been adapted into a TV series by the same name. The Last of Us is a grim view of a post-apocalyptic America infested by a fungus that turns the living into the living dead. It has lived as a video game but is now a TV series. Here's our review of the first two episodes of The Last of Us.

The Last of Us Series Review


Joel, played by Pedro Pascal, is a family man and construction worker. He lives with his daughter, Sarah, and brother, Tommy, and has a normal life. One day he goes to work only to bring back the apocalypse with him.


Joel's daughter Sarah, played by Nico Parker, is a normal teenage girl who goes to school and occasionally visits their neighbor whose wife is elderly and sick. She and her dad are one day watching a movie and he gets a call to go bail out her uncle Tommy, played by Gabriel Luna. He heads off only for the two to come back in a mad rush to get Sarah.


Fungus normally can't infect humans but one mutation of a genus called Cordyceps seeps through. It turns its host into a puppet with the fungus acting as the marionette and controlling the host's behavior. The world is infected and everything goes to hell.

The Animals Within

When the fungus infects someone, through a bite, they turn into blood-thirsty monsters and zombies whose common and only goal is to infect as many people as possible. Sarah's neighbor's wife who is sick and elderly turns into one of these monsters and attacks her family and caretaker. Sarah is shocked on seeing this and she quickly heads out of their house when the monster nearly attacks her. She meets her dad and Tommy outside, and in a panic, they tell her to quickly jump into the vehicle.


The trio heads out to town in pursuit of getting to the highway so as to flee the town. They are, however, met with apocalyptic scenes of planes falling from the sky and groups of zombie monsters biting people. Their truck is hit by the debris of a crashed plane and the two end up trying to escape on foot. Joel carries Anna whose ankle has been injured, only to nearly get shot by a soldier who's instructed to do so via comms. Tommy, however, comes to the rescue and in the struggle, they realize that Sarah has been shot. Sarah quickly loses her breath and dies.  


Episode two kicks off in Jakarta, Indonesia where a professor of Mycology is called on to help find a vaccine or cure for a new fungal infection. She inspects an infected cadaver, only to find live fungi on the cadaver that are growing inside it. She quickly goes out of the room and later reveals that there is no cure for the condition. In her words, the only solution would be a "bomb" and to "bomb the whole city and everyone in it".


In Episode two, we are then taken to the quarantine zone, QZ, where the last surviving humans are contained. The QZ is controlled by FEDRA, which is a governmental agency that runs whatever is remaining of society. FEDRA is, however, fiercely opposed by the Fireflies which is a revolutionary rebel group seeking to unseat FEDRA. Joel gets by in the QZ through conducting illegal smuggling where he gets drugs, and supplies into the QZ. The world as he previously knew it is gone.

The Battery

Joel has a partner, Tess, played by Anna Torv, who is also caught up in their shady dealings. The two are in search of a truck battery that they plan to use on a truck to get out of the city. They are, however, double-crossed by a local dealer who sells the car battery to the Fireflies' leader Marlene, played by Merle Dandridge. In pursuit, they find Marlene and the dealers had a gunfight with only Marlene and her assistant surviving but injured.


Marlene begs Joel and Tess to take Ellie and transport her to the State House in the west, outside the QZ, to a Fireflies outpost where there are doctors who are researching a cure. In exchange, they would be given a working truck. Joel and Tess reluctantly accept and proceed on the journey. Ellie later reveals that Marlene believes she could be the key to a vaccine and possibly a cure as she'd been bitten by the zombies and didn't get infected. On escaping, they meet a soldier who tests them and discovers that indeed Ellie is positive.

Outside the QZ

Outside the QZ, the three try to navigate away from the zombies but get caught up in a museum. They fight and escape blind zombies known as 'clickers', only to later realize that Tess had unfortunately been bitten and was thus infected. The three also get to the state house and discover that the Fireflies members there are all dead. The zombies are fast approaching, however, and Tess opts to stay behind and bomb the building as a way to slow the zombies down and give Joel and Ellie a chance to escape.

A clicker zombie from The Last of Us
A clicker zombie from The Last of Us. Source: HBO Max.

The Last of Us Episode Three Review

Ellie's One-on-One with a Clicker

Episode 3 of The Last of Us kicks off with Ellie and Joel going into a petrol station where Joel had stashed a few supplies. He has, however, forgotten the exact place, and while he finds it Ellie sneaks into the basement. There she finds a clicker who's been buried under rubble and rock but is still 'alive'. Ellie takes out her knife, cuts it across the forehead, and later stabs it. Joel doesn't notice and the two proceed with their journey.

The Cordyceps Origin Theory

Ellie asks Joel how the pandemic started and if someone gets it by being bit, "who bit the first person?" Joel explains that the fungus may have mutated into the food supply chain. Joel says that back then in 2003 when the world went to hell, there were foods that were being sold all over and cordyceps probably got into the food supply through common and popular foods such as the pancake mix. When people ate such foods, they slowly caught the infection until a day or two later when the biting started. By the 26th of September 2003, the infection had blown out and the world went bonkers.

The Government's Infection Mitigation Approaches

Joel and Ellie go on to a point where Joel tells Ellie that they should detour and find another way as there's something ahead he doesn't want her to see. Ellie insists and on getting there, they find dozens of skulls, including that of a child. Joel tells Ellie that when the pandemic broke, the government killed innocent people in the guise of transporting them to a QZ. According to Joel, this was part of the government's infection mitigation approaches as they concluded: "dead people can't be infected".

Bill and Frank

Episode 3 then takes us to a street in Lincoln where a survivalist by the name of Bill hides in his bunker when the military comes to evacuate people. Bill, played by Nick Offerman, is well-planned for the end times and had a wall of guns and numerous supplies to last him years. When the pandemic breaks out and everyone is evacuated, he remains and on realizing that it's safe, comes out. He then discovers that he's alone and builds a fence around his street. The fence is electric and Bill also puts booby traps and trip wires around the street to wade off any invaders.


One day Bill discovers someone in one of his booby traps. He heads out cautiously only to find a man who says he's not infected. Bill tests him and when the man asks, he cautiously agrees to provide him with a meal. The two get to know each other and fall in love, while Bill plays Linda Ronstadt's 'Long Long Time'. Bill lets Frank, played by Murray Bartlett, stay and the two start living together.

Frank and Bill in their kitchen garden in The Last of Us Episode 3
Frank and Bill in their kitchen garden in The Last of Us Episode 3. Source: HBO.

New Friends

Despite Bill's resistance, Frank makes friends and is acquainted with a woman over the radio. Frank invites her over and she comes over with her partner. As it turns out, the woman is Tess, Joel's partner and they come over to Lincoln to visit Frank and Bill. Bill is super cautious and has a gun pointed at Joel at the table, the whole time, as they eat.

Bill and Frank's Poetry of Death

Bill and Frank grow old together and Frank develops a degenerative disease that restricts him to a wheelchair as he can't walk. Bill takes care of him but it reaches a point Frank cannot take the suffering anymore. He convinces Bill to crush a number of pills and put them in his wine the next day.

"Love Me Like I Want"

Frank says that he wants them to go to the boutique, wear outfits, get married, have dinner, and then for Bill to crush the pills and put them in his drink, as he wants to die on his own terms. Bill resists but Frank asks him to "love me like I want".

"Incredibly Romantic"

The day comes and they get married, have a wonderful day and have dinner. Bill comes in with a glass of wine and takes out the bag of crushed pills. He puts them in Frank's glass and stirs. Frank drinks it while Bill also drinks wine from his glass. Frank realizes that Bill had also put some of the pills in his drink and the two decide to die in an "incredibly romantic" poetry of death.

Ellie and Joel Get to Lincoln

When Ellie and Joel finally get to Lincoln a few years after the death of Bill and Frank (which Joel doesn't know about), they find Bill's street is unkempt, unlike how it normally is. The two go into the house and when Joel goes searching for Bill, Ellie finds a note addressed to "Whomever but probably Joel". Ellie reads out the letter to Joel. It's a letter from Bill telling Joel that he and Frank are dead in the bedroom and that they opened the window so the house doesn't smell. Bill, in the letter, warns Joel not to go in as "it may be a sight".

Truck at Last

Bill leaves Joel his truck and tells him to take anything he wants. Bill in the letter says that although he didn't like Joel, they were like friends. The key to the truck is placed on the letter and Joel finally gets the truck that he wanted. He finds a way to charge its battery and the two take some supplies from Bill's bunker and head out. Joel and Ellie ride out into the sunset listening to 'Long Long Time' by Linda Ronstadt.

Joel and Ellie in Bill's Truck
Joel and Ellie in Bill's Truck. Source: BNE, HBO.

Our Rating

A very interesting yet shocking series, The Last of Us brings to life Naughty Dog's game with the same name. It represents a fresh new cinematic way to experience the story, with unexpected twists and turns. Only a few episodes are out at this time but we can confidently rate the series a 7.5/10. Be sure to watch it.


How Many Episodes are There in The Last of Us Season 1?

There are 9 episodes in Season 1 of The Last of Us.

Will there be a Season Two of The Last of Us?

Yes. There will be a Season 2 of The Last of Us. It was recently commissioned and will begin shooting soon.