The Last Of Us is not just about a father-daughter relationship, it’s a love letter to humanity



The Last of Us takes place in a post-apocalyptic world following two travelers, Joel and Ellie. With beautiful cinematography and superlative acting, The Last of Us totally hit the mark. “I think a lot of times when people make games into shows, the changes aren’t good…but I think [The Last of Us] did a really good job,” sophomore Arabella Fracisco said about changes the show made as an adaptation.

Alice Conry, Staff Writer

HBO’s new hit show The Last of Us gained massive popularity within its 10 episode run and has already been picked up for a second season. The show was based off of the video game The Last of Us which was released in 2013 and was an instant hit. It has since been remade and released on both the PS5 and Windows systems. Not only is the plot of The Last of Us compelling and entertaining, but it’s storytelling’s respect for humanity is exactly what the world has been needing.

The Last of Us takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where a pandemic has infected the mass population with cordyceps, a type of fungus that turns people into zombie-like beings. The story follows Joel, a hardened and cynical smuggler who gets hired to transport  a young girl, Ellie, across state lines to a revolutionary militia called the Fireflies. We follow the two of them on a journey across the country, meeting new people and learning about the post-apocalyptic world along the way.  

With beautiful cinematography and superlative acting, The Last of Us totally hit the mark. For both people who have played the game before, and people who are new to the story, the show delivered an impressive and attentive watching experience. The Last of Us video game was well loved by players for its engaging story and iconic game mechanics. The show honored the beloved game with almost shot for shot remakes of certain scenes, references to the gameplay, and recognizable dialog. It also added multiple facets that made the story more accessible for tv viewers and expanded the breadth of the work. The Last of Us was made so that anyone could watch the show and take away something different but equally valuable. The story is ultimately a story of love in many different perspectives. Arguably the strongest part of the show was how it managed to humanize and grow the story even further than the game did.

In video games, players will often engage in mindless violence. For many games, the objective of them is centered towards defeating an enemy, and doing whatever you need to do in order to move to the next level. The Last of Us is no exception. The show made the choice to humanize the people in the story instead of indulging in scenes upon scenes of violence. When a character’s life was taken, or someone was injured, the show didn’t glorify it but instead let you see how complicated and permanent acts of violence can be. Arabella Fracisco, a sophomore at South says “Violence wise, the game is a lot more violent from the show. The show can be pretty violent but the game shows a lot more”. The jarring choice to make watchers feel like they were viewing the harm of a real person instead of a brainless enemy made the show more thought provoking and complex.  

As we follow the journey Joel and Ellie go on in the game, we get to meet other survivors who help the two travelers get across the map and the player through different levels of the game. In the show we get to see even more survivors. Bill and Frank, a couple who met after the outbreak and live in an abandoned town. Henry, a young man who is taking care of his deaf younger brother whilst on the run from an uprising group in Kansas City. An Indigenous couple thriving on a remote farm. Joel’s younger brother and the commune he helps run with his wife. These characters and the experience they bring, deepen the story beyond our two leads. The show chooses to show the humanity in the world despite the grim circumstances. Not only does this captivate viewers through emotional resonance, but it stands as a reminder to viewers that even in an apocalypse, there are always good people out there. “It shows that as long as there’s a will, there’s a way,” Fracisco says “There’s a [man] taking care of his little brother who is [disabled], and they can still survive, or like the native couple, like they’re old! And they’re still alive and [happy and having fun]…[the show is saying] it doesn’t matter who you are, [you can still thrive].”

This kind of message in the media means a lot to viewers. It can relay a message of hope and also make people feel seen in the very human parts of the story. Fracisco attests to how The Last of Us affected her “I love seeing [good] native representation in the media. Even that short clip of that native couple made me excited. They could have added any couple, they could have added a white couple, but the fact that they [decided to have] an old native couple living [there], I really liked that…they thought about us.” they add, “I also really liked that Sam was deaf. I think that was really interesting [and] it adds more to his character. [I liked the] representation for the deaf community.”

The Last of Us is a powerful, bittersweet, and morally complex story that’s transition from video game to hit tv show has been wildly successful. Not only has the show reached and been enjoyed by thousands but it has managed to take the original story and refine it to include an even deeper appreciation and respect for humanity.