The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 1

I had only known Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Sarah (Nico Parker) for about half an hour. I didn’t expect to start crying for them, but I did. That’s apparently how The Last of Us affects me. A masterpiece that is brilliantly acted, beautifully directed, and painstakingly true to the source material, despite its rough age.

I knew Sarah would die because I had played the Naughty Dog game that this series is based on. Outbreak Day, the day in 2003 when the Cordyceps fungus epidemic reached critical mass, is the tragic climax of the tragedy. Her death, oddly at the hands of a military man and not through a bite from someone infected, is the catalyst for everything that happens between Joel and Ellie throughout the game and the season. (Here’s a full synopsis of the premiere, and here are Parker’s recollections of filming the scene with Pascal.)

The events of The Last of Us occur twenty years after the collapse of contemporary society. Hardened survivor Joel is contracted to help get Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of a suffocating quarantine zone. A seemingly simple job turns into a long, harrowing trip. As they are forced to travel the United States together and rely on one other for their survival.

In the roles of Joel and Ellie, the talented Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian, Wonder Woman 1984) and Bella Ramsey (HBO’s His Dark Materials, Game of Thrones) shine. Merle Dandridge (The Last of Us video games, The Flight Attendant) as resistance commander Marlene, Anna Torv (Fringe) as Tess (a smuggler and another hardened survivor), and Gabriel Luna (True Detective) as Joel’s younger brother and former soldier, Tommy.

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Review of Episode 1 of The Last of Us

Review of episode 1 The Last of Us

Hardened survivor Joel is contracted to help get Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of a suffocating quarantine zone. A seemingly simple job turns into a long, harrowing trip. As they are forced to travel the United States together and rely on one other for their survival.

In the roles of Joel and Ellie, the talented Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian, Wonder Woman 1984) and Bella Ramsey (HBO’s His Dark Materials, Game of Thrones) shine. Merle Dandridge (The Last of Us video games, The Flight Attendant) as resistance commander Marlene, Anna Torv (Fringe) as Tess (a smuggler and another hardened survivor), and Gabriel Luna (True Detective) as Joel’s younger brother and former soldier, Tommy.

Many have hailed The Last of Us as the “greatest videogame adaptation of all time,”. Therefore it must live up to some high expectations when compared to other videogame movies like Arcane, and Castlevania. While not perfect, the pilot episode does a good job of translating the source material. And expanding upon elements that weren’t fully developed in video games.

The disclosure of Ellie is the only real problem. Since Ellie is the cargo Joel needs to take and she is immune to infection (which is effectively revealed at the end anyway). The sequence in which Marlene tells her that she is “important”. And then hard-cuts off-screen feel considerably less impactful compared to the way it is conveyed in the game.

Beyond that, though, this chapter has a great flow, and it’s easy to see why the original 10 episodes were trimmed down to 9. The first half of the episode serves as a prologue with Sarah, and the second half introduces Joel, and Ellie. And the rest of the major cast we’ll be following throughout the runtime.

Release Date of The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 1

Release date of The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 1

It was formerly announced that the show will premiere in 2022. But on February of that year, HBO and HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys disproved of that report. He stated instead that the premiere would take place in 2023.

First footage of Luna, Dandridge, Torv, and Reid was shown in a teaser trailer for The Last of Us Day on September 26, 2022. The 2023 release window and Lynskey’s casting were also confirmed. The teaser’s music, “Alone and Forsaken” by Hank Williams, was featured in the game. They used it in one of its trailers. More than 17 million people saw the teaser on Twitter and YouTube in under 24 hours, according to the creators. 

HBO announced the series’ U.S. premiere date of January 15, 2023. And issued the first official poster on November 2, following leaks from Sky and HBO Max.

Premiering on a red carpet in Westwood, California on January 9. The episode then played in theatres in Budapest and Sydney on January 11 and New York City on January 12.

The show’s appearance at CCXP was teased with the publication of a 16-second teaser on November 16 showing Joel and Ellie hiding from a Clicker. On 30 November, posters featuring eleven different characters were made available. The first full trailer was presented on December 3, at a panel at CCXP where Dandridge, Druckmann, Luna, Mazin, Pascal, and Ramsey were present. This trailer featured the debuts of Baker, Ashley Johnson, and Shepherd. Baker, Ashley Johnson, Pascal, and Ramsey. All gave presentations at December 8’s The Game Awards 2022

Baker, along with series regulars Mazin and Druckmann, will host a companion podcast, HBO revealed in December. 

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Conclusion

Release date of The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 1

The Hollywood Reporter and Wired both put Pascal and Ramsey on their covers in January 2023. On January 6, HBO dropped the first making-of documentary. And the following month saw the publication of additional interviews with cast and crew members. Based on roundtable conversations held the month before. Ramsey made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! On January 9 and showed a clip from the show. After the premiere of the first episode on January 15, a trailer for the entire season was released. And a two-hour demo of The Last of Us Part I was made available to PlayStation Plus Premium users.

The fact that some of the scenes (like Sarah and Joel on the couch with the watch) match the rhythm of the games beat for beat is a wonderful touch while others (like Jess talking to Robert before being blown up) feel like they could have been cut out entirely to reduce unnecessary padding.

HBO’s adaptation is off to a good start, but it’s still much too early to tell how well it will turn out. The true test will be in the middle of the main plot, four or five episodes in, if the programme can maintain the same level of authenticity to the source material. Good news thus far, though!

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