Review: The Last of Us - Season One
20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed, Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal heartbreaking journey as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.
Pedro Pascal & Bella Ramsey.
The Last of Us is the adaptation of renowned masterpiece game of the same title. My expectation were expectedly high due to being produced by one of the best series studios in the last 20 years. Along with an incredible cast & being developed by Craig Mazin who shocked the entire world with his brilliant work on ‘Chernobyl’.
Season one is outstanding. It’s important to note that all critics received unfinished cuts of most the season, so, this review won’t be as in depth as initially anticipated. However, to address first is the entire cast’s phenomenal performances in every single episode. Especially Pedro Pascal who portrays Joel’s anger, trauma and heartbreak wonderfully. Along with Bella Ramsey who couldn’t have been even better than she already was. Delivering an incredibly witty and heartbreaking performance in the second half of the season. Complimented extremely well by its entire supporting and guest starring cast. One in particular being Nick Offerman who might deliver my favourite performance of the entire first season. An extremely complex character & performance that drove me to many tears, with his co-star Murray Bartlett.
The series achieves what the game successfully accomplished in its emotional core & beats. The Last of Us is a beautiful and heartbreaking story & it’s no different here. Portraying some of the darkest moments in the most gorgeous and heart wrenching way that is certain to send audiences into a fit of tears & shock. Craig takes the show into different directions with a lot of original material, often being scenes that I believe to be some of the best of the season. More specifically in episode 3 which was the clear standout in the series.
The production design is outstanding & the directing is tight. However, I can see audiences being conflicted with the cinematography and colour grading. It’s not over the top in visual flair and for some, this could be a downfall. The series is ultimately extremely grounded and the cinematography compliments how grounded it is. It’s not oversaturated with gorgeous shots, but rather real in its approach. Resulting in moments to be more shocking & devastating due to its grit.
Unfortunately, while difficult to conclude, there are moments that I hope are much improved in the Final Cut. Particularly moments in which they recreate scenes from the games, that I thought weren’t as effective. I felt as though each scene was missing a certain ingredient that can be easily solved, so, I’m holding out hope that this ingredient is in the final product.
Overall, Season One of The Last of Us is outstanding. While in the end, it might end up not being as perfect I hoped. I, along with you, will be holding out for hope that some moments are as perfect as we imagined. It’s beautiful. It’s heartbreaking. It’s dark. It’s heartwarming. It’s what the world needs.