“The Last of Us” Episode Three: It’s More Than Just Survival


Graphic by Onnika Moore

Honestly, this episode is not for everyone. There is a stark contrast from the previous few episodes in the slow pace and emotional mood. So this episode is skippable for those who live for the action but still worth it for the story alone.
After the beautiful acoustic opening, there was a sudden change of location with fewer trees and more plains, so, as a Nebraskan, it felt like home. With environments so vivid, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a possible nominee for production design next year.
Joel’s cold air started breaking as Ellie explored the forest with him. While they walked across the barren, lush landscape, the plane that crashed in the first episode appeared in a field. Little details like that make the dystopia feel less fictional and the characters more real than ever. The cinematography also plays a large part in making the environment feel alive and the characters natural. Seeing Ellie and Joel joking around and poking at one another was so entertaining that I would love an episode of them simply talking. Additionally, the parent-like relationship established between the two is delightful but might cause conflict if Joel treats Ellie similarly to Sarah.
Introducing characters is a difficult job to do in limited 90-minute episodes, but by a simple five-minute montage, the audience knows everything about Bill. Plus, I am a sucker for montages and kooky characters. Seeing a paranoid conspiracy theorist break his cold shell with a kind man stuck in a homemade booby trap was a fun dynamic. However, their relationship felt rushed, and the flashbacks seemed excessive. Despite my gripes, this episode was enjoyable, and I adored the second half. Seeing Bill and Frank waltzing through their last day on earth was oddly heartwarming. In a series where undead creatures roam the land looking for victims, watching two characters dying satisfied because they cared for each other was beautiful. This example shows how TV adaptations can succeed and create new storylines with minor characters. Hopefully, this trend continues because it was a blast.
It was lovely watching the characters stroll through a domestic, homey setting, having time to breathe despite the dire circumstances. Showing the humanity in them, not just their survival instincts which let the audience relate and grow with the characters even more. This episode added a nice twist of kindness in the dark apocalyptic setting, and I cannot wait to see what comes next.