“The Last of Us” Episode 2 Review

Story posted January 26, 2023 in Arts & Entertainment by Will Anderson.

“The Last of Us” takes place 20 years after a deadly virus brought humanity to its knees. The series follows Joel (Pedro Pascal) as he escorts a young girl, Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across the country in hopes of finding a cure for the virus.

After an extended flashback, episode 2 begins with Ellie explaining her unique condition to Joel and Tess. After being bitten by one of the infected, Ellie’s wound healed and she failed to show side effects of the virus in the expected amount of time.

Marlene figured out that Ellie is immune, which is why she was holding her hostage in episode 1. Her plan was to take Ellie across the country to a firefly base where a group of scientists believe they can use her to create a cure for the virus.

Joel and Tess are hesitant to believe her story, however they ultimately decide to continue on their journey in order to get the supplies promised to them by Marlene.

The trio travels over bridges, through a hotel and across rooftops to avoid the massive hordes of infected on the ground. They eventually find themselves at an abandoned museum, this is where the main set piece of the episode takes place.

It’s not long after they enter the museum before they run into a unique form of infected called clickers. This variation of infected is unable to see, but has a superior sense of hearing.

Joel, Ellie and Tess do their best to sneak through the museum unnoticed, but are unable to do so and an extremely intense firefight against a group of clickers ensues.

Miraculously, everyone makes it out of the building alive. They continue their trek across the rooftop to the capitol building, where Joel and Tess hope to exchange Ellie with the fireflies for supplies.

Episode 2 of “The Last of Us” maintains the standard set by the phenomenal series premiere. The acting, music, production design and narrative meet the standard audiences have come to expect from an HBO production.

Pedro Pascal plays Joel perfectly, he’s able to capture the angry and tormented nature of the character while still giving a remarkably subtle performance.

Bella Ramsey didn’t get much screen time in last week’s episode, however in episode 2 she proves that she’s able to embody Ellie, who is the most integral character in the plot of the series.

She nails Ellie’s signature snarky comebacks and remarks, while maintaining the complexity fans familiar with the IP expect from the character.

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of “The Last of Us” (so far) is how the show is able to meet the expectations of those who’ve already experienced the story, while still being easy for new audiences to get into.

Several locations in episode 2 including the hotel, museum and rooftops are perfectly recreated from the game. Certain lines of dialogue are also delivered word for word as they are in the source material.

Multiple tracks (including the one used in the opening credits) are pulled directly from the game as well. All of this, combined with the outstanding performances from Pascal and Ramsey are sure to delight longtime fans of the IP.

Episode 2 also does a great job building tension, particularly during the museum scene. Unique camera angles and the chilling sound produced by the clickers made this part of the episode extremely suspenseful.

“The Last of Us” episode 2 is satisfying from beginning to end. With excellent performances, outstanding production value and a highly engaging narrative, the audience is sure to come back next week for episode 3.

Rating: 4/5

Will Anderson is a freshman majoring in communications. To contact him, email: wda5053@psu.edu