‘The Last of Us’: These Are the Top 5 Moments Fans Are Looking Forward to in HBO’s New Series
HBO and Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin are adapting the hit award-winning video game, The Last of Us into a television series and fans of the game are ecstatic, eager to see their favorite moments from the game once again. The Last of Us follows a man named Joel, a survivor of a pandemic that has turned the United States into an apocalyptic nightmare. He has been hired to smuggle a 14-year-old girl named Ellie across the country because her immunity to the pandemic may be the key to a cure.
The Last of Us is known for being one of the most emotionally evocative video games of the decade and fans are eager to relive the journey. Here are the top five moments from The Last of Us that fans are looking forward to seeing in HBO’s upcoming series:
5. The Outbreak begins
The opening sequence of The Last of Us throws players right into the middle of a horrific fungal outbreak turned violent as it unfolds in the streets of Austin, Texas. A mutant fungus has turned humans into monsters forcing Joel to flee with his brother, Tommy, and teenage daughter, Sarah. From there, the player is tossed directly into the chaos of the streets where dozens of infected people run around attacking other people and causing destruction. In a heartbreaking twist of fate, Joel and Sarah are forced to run on foot where they are stopped by a soldier… who is given orders to shoot and kill them both. Tommy is able to return just in time to save Joel, but Sarah, mortally wounded, dies in Joel’s arms. Sarah’s tragic demise changes Joel irrevocably, turning him cold and hateful to the brutal new world that took his daughter away from him.
The beginning of The Last of Us is considered by many to be one of the best video game openings of all time among video game fans and critics with its suspenseful buildup and intense action sequences, not to mention breaking the hearts of players within the first half hour of gameplay with such a harrowing character death to start the story. Videos span far and wide across the web that show YouTube stars, celebrities, and video game lovers alike as they react genuinely to the video game’s tragic opening twist. As you may have guessed, it usually ends in tears. “If the The Last of Us series follows the game’s story, I am not ready for Sarah dying again,” a Twitter user posted. Many fans share similar sentiments, as eager to see the action unfold onscreen in HBO’s adaptation as they are dreading reliving Sarah’s death all over again.
4. Ellie’s showdown with David
When Ellie and Joel are temporarily separated, Ellie is captured by a group of cannibals who previously earned her trust by pretending to be nomads scavenging for food. Their leader, David, intends to force Ellie to join their ranks. When she refuses David’s offer, Ellie is forced to fight her way out, leading to a terrifying climactic battle against him inside a burning restaurant. Throughout the cutscene, David continually berates Ellie as she tries to sneak around him. Eventually, David gets the upper hand of the chase and attacks Ellie before she is able to fight him off and kill him. Joel finds Ellie as she breaks down from the entire experience and comforts her. The moment is made especially powerful when Joel calls Ellie “baby girl” for the first time, revealing that the pair have finally dropped their defenses and started to truly trust one another.
The moment is a pivotal scene of character development for Ellie, who becomes much less hesitant to use violence after this experience. While fans are looking forward to seeing the showdown between Ellie and David, particularly David’s bloody end, the cathartic crux of the sequence is Ellie’s reunion with Joel — and the fans know it.
3. Joel and Ellie bond over the course of their journey
Joel, a middle-aged, gruff smuggler seasoned by the apocalypse, and Ellie, a 14-year-old pandemic survivor, are quite the unlikely duo when it comes to survival scenarios. In exchange for a cache of weapons, Joel is hired by a rebel militia, known as The Fireflies, to escort Ellie across the country because she could be the cure to the pandemic that nearly destroyed humanity.
With his grief from the death of his daughter still in tow, Joel is initially very cold and distrusting toward Ellie, a sentiment she matches. As the pair are continually forced to rely on each other for survival, they gradually begin to let their walls down and trust one another. The bond that develops between the pair throughout the game is the emotional core of the story, making The Last of Us one of the greatest video game stories of all time.
2. The Giraffe
In one of the rare peaceful moments of the game, Ellie excitedly leads Joel to a rooftop where a single giraffe is eating from the foliage blooming from the building. Ellie, the survivor who had been hardened and turned cold from her experience with David’s group melts away into Ellie, a young girl with childlike innocence and awe as she watches the magnificent creature up close. Joel and Ellie take turns petting the giraffe before it lumbers away to rejoin its herd. The player is left to admire the view with the characters and revel in the moment for as long as they choose.
In the midst of all the horrors inflicted by The Infected and non-infected alike, the giraffe scene is like a breath of fresh, clean air. In a halcyon moment that brought many fans to tears, the story breaks away from the darkness and terror of the pandemic to admire something beautiful. “I cried six times my first playthrough [of The Last of Us]. Even the giraffe made me cry. It was beautiful and I need more,” wrote one Twitter user. Even in a brutal and bleak apocalyptic world, life, as a whole, still finds a way to flourish.
After a long, life-threatening journey, Joel learns that the Fireflies didn’t exactly have the heroic intentions that he and Ellie originally thought. Once Joel and Ellie make it to their destination, Joel learns that in order to produce a vaccine for the infection, the Fireflies will have to remove a part of Ellie’s brain, killing her in the process. Unwilling to lose Ellie for what he views as a meaningless sacrifice, Joel fights his way through the Fireflies and escapes with her.
Upon regaining consciousness, Ellie demands to know what happened. Joel lies, explaining that the Fireflies were unable to create a cure and have stopped trying. Ellie breaks down and expresses survivor’s guilt for all of those who died during the pandemic while she continues to live. Joel tries to comfort her by insisting that she continues to find something to fight for. At her insistence, Joel swears that his story about the Fireflies was true. After a moment of deliberation, Ellie responds with a single, unwavering, “Okay” before the scene cuts to black and the game ends.
In a poignant way, both Joel and Ellie have come full circle. Joel allowed Ellie into his heart, so much so that he risked his life, defied orders, and became a father figure to her. Meanwhile, Ellie, a girl who knows nothing but violence and death from being raised in the apocalyptic world of the game, has learned to trust and rely on someone other than herself. With that, Ellie’s final resounding “Okay” highlights the arc both characters traveled over the course of their journey and also raises questions for what might be ahead for both of them in The Last of Us Part II.
Either way, after the conclusion of such an emotionally powerful story, fans can breathe a sigh of relief for now. What started as an impossible journey between an improbable duo ended as a beautiful union between two broken individuals made whole together, and soon that union will be recreated for the screen for players and non-players alike to relive or experience for the very first time.