The super-sized HBO series premiere witnessed Joel (Pedro Pascal) deal with trauma and discover new purpose with Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as well as some video-game callsbacks
The process of adapting a story that is beloved across different media to the next is an arduous task. Certain elements must be altered. Things that are good in a novel might not work in a film or television show. Retelling a game beat-forbeat in a TV show isn’t making a lot of sense. Even if it’s a game which is as epic as The Last of Us.
In part because of some of the various ways it goes the adaptation by HBO to the game of 2013 is off to a great beginning. The crew and cast did a great job in the initial episode, according to my own book. They hit the beats they had to, while allowing enough variation to surprise those who love the game. And at the very least, in some areas, make the narrative more effective in a different medium.
The opening sequence is an episode that was a part of a talk show in the 1960s which immediately takes on an original twist. A scientist performed by the great John Hannah, sets things nicely by describing the things that the cordyceps fungal disease could accomplish (take control of the host’s mind as well as bodily processes) in addition to how it can ultimately be affecting humans. It would not be able to be a problem without global warming, so great humans!
We jump to 2003, 10 years prior to the start of the game. We we get to see a wonderful scene featuring Joel (Pedro Pascal) and His brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna) and Sarah. We see a glimpse of the day-to-day life that Sarah is like during the time prior to the outbreak. It’s an effective way to understand her world and is worth the 15-20 minutes before the raging chaos begins.
It’s not a good idea to overdo it however, the show does hit the most important plot aspects. The most significant scene in the series is exactly as it was in the game, and a few other instances are shot-for shot however, up to the point of this episode, there are a lot of variations.