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· Well-Known Raconteur
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
[Note: I'm starting a season thread. If it ends up needing, or anyone wants, episode threads, please start them.]

wiki
The Last of Us is an American post-apocalyptic drama television series created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for HBO. Based on the 2013 video game developed by Naughty Dog, the series follows Joel (Pedro Pascal), a smuggler tasked with escorting the teenage Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across a post-apocalyptic United States. The supporting cast features Gabriel Luna as Joel's younger brother Tommy, Merle Dandridge as resistance leader Marlene, and Anna Torv as Joel's smuggler partner Tess.

I thought it was a good start. I got confused a couple times, but by the end of E1, I think my head was on straight. Gotta give Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) credit, he knows how to tell a story. Both the leads--Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay--did a knock-up job. As did a couple of others (not sure if they'll remain leads or not; in "post-apocalyptic" stories, no one is safe). Looking forward to where this goes.

I'm not familiar with the game at all. Didn't matter.

My wife, who can't stand zombies or post-apoc stories, watched this with me. Mainly because she likes HBO's Sunday night series, plus Bella Ramsay. She was hooked.
 

· Well-Known Raconteur
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
There was a pre-release discussion thread, link here if anyone wants to go back and peruse it...

 

· Cat God
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I enjoyed episode 1. It looked great and Pacscal does a great job as Joel.

I played the game when it came out around 10 years ago, so I’m a bit fuzzy on the plot specifics, but from what I remember a lot from episode 1 was more or less directly from the game from the whole opening scene (which was well presented) to the shot of the skyscrapers at the end. Marlene is even played by the same person who voiced her in the game.

Just a note, that while some are shorter, many of these episodes are feature length film length like this one was.
 

· Registered
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I watched episode 1 last night on a lark, after the Bengals/Ravens game was over. I feel like the whole post-apocalyptic thing is getting worn out, and while this was pretty well done, at the end it just felt like a Walking Dead knockoff with strong Invasion of the Body Snatchers overtones. The fungus villain approach was effective, especially the 1968 TV interview, but it feels more like horror than science fiction. I'll probably watch at least a couple more to see if anything truly interesting happens to make it more engaging, but not holding my breath.

Sent from my SM-P610 using Tapatalk
 

· Cat God
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I read a change they made from the game is that the fungus no longer produces spores, which removes one of the major ways the infection occurred in the game. While it made sense from a game mechanic apparently they didn’t want all their stars frequently having to wear gas masks.

I was wondering why they weren’t infected when they came across the body in the subway and now I know why. The change does bring into question how it spread so fast initially, but I guess they are just going to hand waive that part.

If the only way to spread infection is biting, that does effectively make this into a “zombie” series. There are other aspects of the game’s story that I hope they keep though.

On a side note, I watched the little after episode short and didn’t realize many of the actors are British.
 

· Registered
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I played both games. The first game I actually quit and didn't come back to it until a few years later. Hard for me to remember all the details of the 1st game but it seems to be much of what I remembered. My wife usually doesn't like video game movies (ok series) but so far is on board with this one.
 

· Hinky
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We liked the first episode. Hubby played about 5 minutes of the game - so we were both going in blind.

I found it interesting that Ellie has a similar look to a young Ashley Johnson, who voiced the character in the game.
 

· Nice to see you
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On a side note, I watched the little after episode short and didn’t realize many of the actors are British.
Nico Parker, who played Sarah, is the daughter of Thandiwe Newton of "Westworld" -- so she's currently on HBO Max and her mother isn't.

I thought it was interesting that both this series and "Station Eleven" used the same thing as a "quick bit of special effects to show that things have suddenly gotten really bad": a commercial airliner crashing in the middle of a city. (I assume the one in "The Last of Us" is something that came straight from the game.)

The camera that was briefly visible in the 1968 talk show should have had the "color" version of the ABC logo -- like this (although isn't the same type of camera that was used on the show).

 

· Give 'em Hell, Devils
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No familiarity with the game at all. Didn't even realize there was such a game until the last couple weeks when I started hearing buzz about this show. I enjoyed the episode quite a bit. The 2003 segment was especially well done and really drew me in. Devastating to see how that turned out, but excellent filmmaking to use the young daughter as the focus character, only to have her then die.

The present-day stuff in Boston was good but not quite as compelling for me. I get that there's some kind of government called FEDRA, and a resistance called Fireflies. I wasn't totally clear on why Pedro Pascal and Anna Torv's characters were negotiating for a car battery, since that was before they got tasked to shepherd Ellie. Did it have to do with the drug smuggling that Pedro was involved in? I was also a little unclear on the radio operator guy who was listening for info from Pedro's brother. Is he supposed to be involved in smuggling? If so, that huge line of people waiting to get in to see him would make me question how well they can all keep secrets.

They showed Pedro doing grunt work and being paid with some pieces of paper. And then he asked for more work and said he'd take the one that paid more, even though it was in the sewer. So that's supposed to tell us that he's barely scraping by, yet then we see he's a drug smuggler and money is never an issue again after that. Kind of an odd choise.

I also was a little confused when they were escaping under the wall and they came out of the hole and Ellie starts yelling. How would she not know that they're still in an area being patrolled by soldiers and that they need to be quiet?

Overall, I'm definitely going to continue watching, but I hope they clean up some of the world building to make it a little more clear what's going on.
 

· Ancient Astronaut Theorist
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· Give 'em Hell, Devils
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One thing about the beginning that made me want to know more, was how the fungus seemed to appear suddenly and already be so prevalent. We hear Joel and Sarah listening to the radio, and there's mention of unrest in Jakarta. And then in the afternoon the shop owner's wife is clearly freaked out by something as a few police cars drove past. And by that evening the whole metro area is trying to evacuate, the city is like a war zone, law enforcement is blocking off roads, planes are falling out of the sky[1], and military is being told to shoot healthy, unarmed civilians. That's a pretty massive escalation in less than 24 hours. Makes you wonder how anyone could have survived if it could spread that quickly and effectively.

Just given the pandemic that we recently went through, we were hearing stories about a virus in China for weeks, then there was a case or two confirmed in the US, then tons of people started dying in Italy, then it started to kill people in NYC, etc. It had a progression. How did this cordyceps fungus go from everyone thinking things were normal in the morning to all hell had broken loose by that night?

[1] When they were first driving into that part of town, there was a plane that flew in low overhead, then a wider shot showing another plane also flying low nearby. Were they close to a runway? Why so many planes flying low in that one area? And why didn't we see explosions from the first two if they also crashed?
 

· Cat God
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I wasn't totally clear on why Pedro Pascal and Anna Torv's characters were negotiating for a car battery, since that was before they got tasked to shepherd Ellie. Did it have to do with the drug smuggling that Pedro was involved in? I was also a little unclear on the radio operator guy who was listening for info from Pedro's brother. Is he supposed to be involved in smuggling? If so, that huge line of people waiting to get in to see him would make me question how well they can all keep secrets.
The reason was given it a bunch of short info chunks over the course of the episode. Joel planned to buy a car from the guy he sold drugs to, but was told it had no battery which is why Tess was trying to buy the car battery. The reason he wanted a car was that he hadn’t heard from his brother in weeks, so he wanted to go look for him in Wyoming (I believe that’s where the radio guy said the tower was). His brother was recruited by the Fireflies. They are currently near Chicago Boston, so to get to Wyoming he needs to drive.
 

· Registered Snoozer
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One thing about the beginning that made me want to know more, was how the fungus seemed to appear suddenly and already be so prevalent. [...]
I don't remember that being explained all that well in the game, either. It's, well, a game, after all. One thing in the game that's related, and I'm wondering if it will come into play in this series, is that the game's fungus was spread via spores and people wore full face respirators whenever they entered buildings that weren't known to be clear of spores. Rooms sometimes had a haze floating about because of all the spores. I wouldn't doubt, though, that they change this in the TV series, so that actors' faces don't have to be covered by masks.
 

· Cat God
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How did this cordyceps fungus go from everyone thinking things were normal in the morning to all hell had broken loose by that night?
There was a sign later on that said the infection ran its full course in anywhere from 15 minutes (head) to 24 hours (foot) depending on where bitten. As all the “zombies” were biting the neck, it’s not surprising that things would go downhill very quickly.

As I mentioned a big difference between the show and the game is that the cordyceps fungus could infect via spores in the game, which is how it does in real life. For whatever reason that was removed from the show, but that would also have explained why it spread so fast.
 

· Registered
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The present-day stuff in Boston was good but not quite as compelling for me. I get that there's some kind of government called FEDRA, and a resistance called Fireflies. I wasn't totally clear on why Pedro Pascal and Anna Torv's characters were negotiating for a car battery, since that was before they got tasked to shepherd Ellie. Did it have to do with the drug smuggling that Pedro was involved in? I was also a little unclear on the radio operator guy who was listening for info from Pedro's brother. Is he supposed to be involved in smuggling? If so, that huge line of people waiting to get in to see him would make me question how well they can all keep secrets.
He is a bit estranged from his brother. But hasn't heard from him in 3 weeks or so. He wanted to go find / help him. I don't think it had much if anything to do with the drugs aspect.
 

· Give 'em Hell, Devils
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The reason was given it a bunch of short info chunks over the course of the episode. Joel planned to buy a car from the guy he sold drugs to, but was told it had no battery which is why Tess was trying to buy the car battery. The reason he wanted a car was that he hadn’t heard from his brother in weeks, so he wanted to go look for him in Wyoming (I believe that’s where the radio guy said the tower was). His brother was recruited by the Fireflies. They are currently near Chicago, so to get to Wyoming he needs to drive.
Thanks. Yes, they did say the brother's last transmission was from a tower in Cody, Wyoming. But Joel and Tess were in Boston, not near Chicago. So that's a long way to go in open country with a hostile government and random infected people.
Sounds like when going into the city for her medical appointments. That is what they lead us to believe anyway. They thought it started in the cities and spread out to more rural areas.
That would make more sense, but only if it spread over the course of days or weeks. For it to destroy society within 24 hours, it would have to be a lot more transmissible than just people who happened to go into the downtown area get it.
 
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