I’ve never played THE LAST OF US game, although I know the general idea of it. I know that Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) are survivors of a plague, and they’re on a quest, and that’s about it. And while I’ve heard rave reviews about the game and its sequel, I love that I have nothing to compare this show to. THE LAST OF US TV series exists on its own merit for me, and so far, it’s A+. 

I’ve quickly come to realize that THE LAST OF US is going to continually build us up with these very personal, beautiful moments and then tear us apart with heartbreak minutes later. Another world-ending show, THE WALKING DEAD, did this really well, especially during the early seasons. And while both shows feature a society-killing outbreak, the similarities don’t run much further. With LONG, LONG TIME, this show features how it keeps the overarching story on Joel & Ellie but delivers an incredibly emotional one-off story about supporting characters. 

Nick Offerman (PARKS AND RECREATION, DEVS) and Murray Bartlett (Armond from THE WHITE LOTUS S1) both give career-best performances in E3; this speaks to the overall strength of the show. Here are two obviously talented actors who have just shown up in the series, and 70 minutes later, I’m left wondering – how can it get any better than this? 

The phenomenal acting in E3 is just one part of this incredible episode. The first three episodes also have gorgeous set pieces brought to life by award-worthy cinematography. And then there’s the music. A lot of music cues in TV shows are famous because of the montage they cover. Think all the way back to The Fray’s “How To Save A Life” on GREY’S ANATOMY or Sia’s “Breathe Me” on the series finale of SIX FEET UNDER. More recently, Harry Nilson’s “Gotta Get Up” was featured in RUSSIAN DOLL, letting us know Nadia was back at square one of her original time loop. THE LAST OF US brings out a favorite from the 70s and 80s – we’ll let you discover it on your own if the episode title isn’t a giveaway. No montage is necessary as the song plays both the role of foreshadower and closing theme – like two bookends that are metaphors for the beginning of the plague in 2003 and the point in the road where Joel and Ellie are now in 2023. 

I never thought anything based on a video game could translate so well to the screen. THE LAST OF US airs every Sunday night on HBO Max. 

Jami Losurdo

When not writing film and tv reviews, Jami is expanding her collection of colorful sunglasses, lifting weights, and working her day job as a Digital Advertising Director. An alumnus of NYU Tisch for Film/TV, Jami made Los Angeles her home in the early 2000s and continues her quest to find the very BEST tacos of all time.

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