5 Things To Know Before Watching The Last of Us

It’s finally time for binge-watchers to pile into the critical darling of a TV show that is The Last of Us. Based on the smash-hit video game duology on PlayStation, the HBO show has won over droves of gamers as well as general entertainment seekers through its nine-episode run – which ended on 12 March.

However, as the story is set in a post-pandemic setting and does deviate from some parts of the source materials, it’s good to know a few things about it before deciding if you’ll be committing to a The Last of Us binge session.

1) The Different Types Of Infected

We’ve become accustomed to TV shows referring to what we’d usually call “zombies” as something else. We’ve had “walkers” in The Walking Dead, “deadites” in Ash vs Evil Dead, and in The Last of Us, they’re referred to as “infected.” There are several different kinds of infections in the setting, with each having different abilities.

ExpressVPN shows the stages of becoming a zombie from the point of getting the fungal infection. The time taken to become fully infected ranges from five to 15 minutes when the wound is above the shoulders, and anywhere else can take up to 24 hours. In any case, within a few weeks, the infected become a Runner.

Over the next year, the fungus grows further, turning them into Stalkers, and then Clickers – which use echo locations due to the loss of sight. Clickers then become Bloaters, then Shamblers, and then the ultimate stage of infected humans. Rather than merely being zombies, infected in The Last of Us demonstrate a far grislier fate.

2) Superb Cast That’s Wowed Audiences

There are plenty of big-name stars in this HBO show, with the leading name being the man-of-the-moment, Pedro Pascal. Playing the much-loved Joel Miller, he’s tasked with protecting Bella Ramsey’s Ellie. Ramsey got her big break in Game of Thrones and then featured for a couple of episodes in His Dark Materials.

Needless to say, she’s building quite an eye-catching résumé. Along with Ramsay and Pascal, you’ll also spot Merle Dandridge (Sons of Anarchy) as Marlene, Storm Reid (Euphoria) as Riley, and a superb performance from Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) as Bill.

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3) Critics Have Mostly Praised The Show

It’s quite difficult for a TV show to unanimously win over critics these days, what with the US landscape being so divided these days. Still, The Last of Us certainly sheds light on some themes that many would take a strong stance on, and yet, it has finished its first season with a decent average review score.

On Metacritic, the show’s score lands as a solid 84 out of 100. According to the scores on the review aggregator, the first and second episodes were its peak at 8.6 and 8.5, while episodes three and seven hit average lows of 5.2 and 5.3 in the eyes of the users.

4) There Are Some Major Changes To The Game

For a start, as listed by the Cosmopolitan episode-by-episode breakdown, the show has shifted the bracket of time back ten years, from 2033 in the game to 2023 in the show. As far as the first season is confirmed, the Spores don’t exist, so Ellie needs to discover her immunity through other means.

Without going any further, so that spoilers are avoided, it’s fair to say that there are a fair few tweaks and small world changes made to help it as a tight TV adaptation. It’s still very much The Last of Us, and the characters remain quite true to the source material, but elements have been altered to fit the new medium and audience.

5) Season 1 Isn’t The End

Just as there are two games in The Last of Us series, there will be at least two seasons of the show. After a mere two episodes of the nine-part run of Season 1, HBO confirmed that a second season had been ordered. Given the way that Episode 9 ends, fans of the show will be glad that it’ll return.

The Last of Us has wowed critics, deploys a novel form of zombie, and deviates just enough from the source material to keep it true to the games as well as fitting for TV. Now that you know this, all that’s left to do is get the first episode queued up.

Image: HBO.