Everyone loves lists, so here is another one. Here are my favorite episodes of season one of The Last Of Us descending from least to most favorite. I should note that The Last Of Us was fucking excellent, and even the lesser episodes are better than almost anything else. Craig Mazin now has HBO by the balls even more than he already did. After the success of Chernobyl (which may still be my favorite piece of HBO content ever), he somehow matched it, and arguably topped it with The Last Of Us. Part of the success has to go to his friendship with Neil Druckmann, the maker of the game. These two combined seemed to get the perfect tone when it came to the changes they made for each medium. Nothing is taken away from the experience. Things are only added on.

No. 9
Episode 6: “Kin”

I am putting Kin as my least favorite episode, but with that being said, Kin is still some top notch television. I took away two main things from this episode. First of all, building that town and the production design involved is crazy impressive. Secondly, this was the first humanizing moment of Joel with his brother.

Kin shows us what an Eden could look like in an apocalypse. It is sandwiched between two disaster societies between the city of Kansas City without Fedra and then David’s cannabalistic habitat.

Rutina Wesley is awesome in this episode playing Maria, and I think her conversation with Ellie when she accidents tells the story of Sarah is arguably a more powerful scene than the much anticipated Joel and Ellie scuffle.

No. 8
Episode 7: “Left Behind”

This is a tough episode just in terms of timing. The last time we see Joel before this episode, he is dying and Ellie was freaking out. We open up this episode with Ellie trying to nurse Joel to health, before delving back into a flashbak.

What makes Ellie be Ellie? This night has a large part of it. Ellie and Riley had a world wind young teen romance. It was a lot of “does she feel the same way that I feel about her?” Even when the answer becomes yes, heartbreak still follows. You can not have anything good in this world.

What I loved most about the end of this episode was the different reactions of Ellie and Riley after being bit. Ellie was furious, but Riley was despondent. Was a perfect encapsulation of what we love about Eliie and how she doesn’t give a shit when someone says its over. It is over when she says it is over.

No. 7
Episode 4: “Please Hold My Hand”

You may want freedom, but you have to know what you are going to do with it when you get it. Kathleen is a newly founded but terrible leader of a group of violent militia in Kansas City. When Joel and Ellie defend themselves and kill some of her men, she sets out on a path of vengeance.

We have our first father-daughter moment with the gun being handed off. Ellie saving Joel’s life is traumatic, but more so because the kill was not instantaneous. Paralyzing someone and seeing them in pain may be more traumatic then just putting a bullet in the head. Who am I kidding though, I don’t know apocalypse stuff.

The best part of Please Hold My Hand is the introduction of Kathleen. This is a brand new character to the universe and she feels like she fits right in

No. 6
Episode 2: “Infected”

CLICKERS!! We get out first real true glimpse at the clickers, and we get to see them close and personal. They are chomping at the bit get a piece of Ellie, Joel and Tess, and them batting at a .333 clip is pretty good. Sorry Tess.

Joel is still a cocksucker in this episode, but he slowly has to come to the grips that he is about to embark on this crazy quest to save someone he barely knows for a cause he isn’t sure he believes in. The only moment he knows his quest is worth a damn is when he sees Tess’s infection compared to Ellie’s.

Also, for a second straight episode, a fucking banger of a cold open. We saw the talk of what fungi can do, and now we are seeing that this catastrophic pandemic event is indeed world wide. We learn that flour was the main cause for Cordyceps, and this is where it clicks that Ellie and Joel barely missed eating it in the premiere.

No. 5
Episode 9: “Look For The Light”

He lied. He lied straight to his adopted daughter’s face. And the worst part? She knows it.

The ending to The Last Of Us is still debated, and I love discussing it once again with my fiancée when she got to experience it for the first time.

The finale of the show tackles the ending of the video and it was erotic to see that it did not change a god damn thing. They enhanced the thoughts and the themes of Ellie and Joel’s relationship.

If I can have ONE tid bit of a bad thought

No. 4
Episode 1: “When You’re Lost In The Darkness”

Let’s not forget how good this premiere was. Let’s not forget how absolutely riveting the first 25 minutes were. Remember when we fell in love with Sarah before she was taken from us? Remember the opening cold open with Dr. Neuman educating the audience that fungi are far more dangerous than bacteria?

When You’re Lost In The Darkness introduces us to Joel in the apocalypse in a heartbreaking way with him tossing dead children around like they are toy beanie babies. He is dead inside. Him being this low at the standard makes the ending of the show even more heartbreaking because it forces us ask if his new depravity at the end of the shows matches or is worse than where he started.

This pilot was fucking incredible. Didn’t know a video game adaption could be this powerful right off the jump. If you don’t watch all of The Last Of Us after watching this pilot then you don’t have a viewing soul.

No. 3
Episode 5: “Endure And Survive”

Does Endure And Survive have the most rewatchable scene in all of season one? I think it does.

When the Bloater comes up from the ground, the earth trembles wherever you are watching that scene. The swarm buzzing around like bees circling along honey has you cheering for them even as they are taking down Kathleen’s militia.

I was bummed, but also so happy when Kathleen got eaten alive by a child clicker. She was the first example of how humanity can become evil when trying to do the right thing. I thought that Melanie Lynskey was awesome bringing this character to life.

Then there is the ending. Shocking, heartbreaking, and gut-wrenching. The instant reaction of Henry Burrell to kill his son and then the terrible realizing of how instinctual it was to kill something he used to love. The world is a cruel place, and The Last Of Us isn’t afraid to show us that.

No. 2
Episode 3: “Long, Long Time”

Tears. Fucking tears. God damit man, I was a puddle.

Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett would get Emmy nominations if it was up to me. Their love story told within on episode of television had me gripping my pillow and blowing up tissues. I haven’t cried so much since watching Encanto (2021) or CODA (2021).

And when Bill said “I was never afraid before you showed up” while sitting in bed of strawberries, I mean come on here.

Long, Long Time is a complete stand-alone episode and it works so god damn well. Bill and Joel are the same person, and the letter at the end of the episode literally spells it out for him.

Just such a beautiful episode. Beautiful.

No. 1
Episode 8: “When We Are In Need”

Episode eight brought to life my favorite part of the Last Of Us video game. David, the creepy ass religion spilling cannibal cult leader, is brought to life in beautiful, graphic, horrendous fashion by Scott Stepherd.

I love When We Are In Need because this showing because it shows the breaking for for Ellie. We see her somewhat composed throughout the show. There are little flare ups here in and there, but the her personal hose of emotions always manages to unfurl before bursting at the seems. David is able to twist the knife in Ellie’s psyche more than any other one else, and fuck does he pay the price.

This episode of The Last Of Us brought to life the best example of humanity being the worst villain of them all. This show is so great because it is not a zombie show, rather it is a human show with zombies in it. The depravity that man slips to when we get a grip of power and have to feast on desperation knows no bounds.


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