My husband and I just started watching The Last of Us on HBO Max about a week ago. We are currently caught up, and consider ourselves officially hooked! But, I don’t know that I can say it’s really been an enjoyable experience so far, because it seems like I end each episode angry and in tears.
I guess it says a lot about the writing in a horror series when it can elicit such strong emotions from its viewers. I mean, I feel like every episode of The Last of Us rips the heart out of my chest, stomps on it a few times, then kicks it across the parking lot, where it is promptly run over by a Mack truck.
So, here is a short list of the times The Last of Us has already throat punched me emotionally. And, I know it’s going to happen again and again before the series is over. **Be warned, there are spoilers contained in this article, so proceed at your own risk.
Although only the first five episodes have aired as of this time, viewers have already been treated to multiple shocks and surprises, especially those of us who are unfamiliar with the video game. The series is popular enough that HBO Max has already announced that there will be another season in the show’s future.
Episode one of The Last of Us spends its first ten minutes or so introducing us to Joel and his daughter Sarah. Most of that time is spent on Sarah, as she exchanges some banter with Dad, swipes some cash out of his drawer, then spends said cash to have his watch repaired for his birthday. So sweet, mischievous and kind-hearted is Sarah (charmingly played by Nico Parker), you can’t help but fall in love with her.
When all the bad stuff starts to come down very quickly, Sarah, Joel and his brother Tommy are suddenly speeding down the road, and the resulting crash injures the girl’s ankle. That’s ok, because her dad picks her up and runs like the devil is after him…which it more or less is. When Joel comes face to face with a soldier who shoots at him, it is Sarah who is shot instead. And she dies. SHE DIES. I did not see that coming. Cue tears.
After we lost Sarah, The Last of Us continued to hurt us
Of course, the personal loss doesn’t end there. We lose Tess in episode two, after she is attacked by one of the infected. She does take a bunch of them down with her, though, so it was ultimately a hero’s death.
Episode three introduced us to Bill and Frank, who managed to conduct a sweet and fulfilling romance among the wreckage of the world. We were taken on a journey of their first meeting, the moment the spark between them was lit (partially due to Linda Ronstadt’s Long Long Time), Bill’s injury, Frank’s incurable illness, and finally, Frank imploring Bill to drug his wine so that he can die. Their last day today is tender and emotional, and when Frank downs his glass of wine, Bill drinks his own, which has also been drugged. He does not want to live without his purpose, which was Frank. I was not just in tears at that moment, I was full-on sobbing, and cursing this show, which is both wonderful and awful at the same time.
Now, let’s talk about episode five, in which we got to know (and love) Henry and little Sam. Henry will do anything to protect brother, and we are treated to some lovely scenes between the deaf boy and Ellie. Bella Ramsay is terrific as Ellie, the girl who might just save what’s left of the planet, she is playful and sarcastic at the same time.
The group hatches a pretty decent plan to get away, knowing they have to avoid the vengeful Kathleen at all costs. But, a sniper brings about an explosion, and hundreds of the frantic infected are unleashed. Our group escapes by the skin of their teeth, or so we think. Then Sam writes on his magic slate, handing it to Ellie. “If you turn into a monster, is it still you inside?” And that’s how we know he has been infected. Ellie tells him her blood is magic, cuts her hand, then presses some of her immune blood into his wound, and we wait.
The next morning brings the worst possible scenario, as the infected Sam attacks Ellie, only to end up being shot by Henry. Henry, despondent, then puts the gun to his own head and shoots himself. I believe I turned to my husband at that point and said, “I hate this show. I can’t wait until the next episode airs.”
Are you watching The Last of Us, despite that fact that the series repeatedly breaks your heart? Tell us how you feel about that in the comments section.