The Last of Us
The Last of Us
A clicker or bloater.

The Last of Us: Don’t call them zombies!

Riley Riley

Big fan of The Walking Dead, but I’ve still got a couple of seasons to watch and it’s been that way for a while.

I guess I just don’t want to find out who lives and who dies. Whether Rick makes it across the finish line — if indeed there is a finish line.

While pondering these possibilities, I decided to take time out to catch HBO’s new The Last of Usyet another offering from the same post apocalyptic genre.

My take. It’s good but different. More you’re thinking man’s zombie challenge, compared to TWD which sees protagonists confront more zombies and more often.

More time is spent developing and exploring the characters and their feelings, about how they see the world and what is happening to them — which is kind of ironic given that the series is based on a computer game.

Released in 2013, the series is set in 2023, 20 years into a pandemic, in this case caused by a mass fungal infection which causes hosts to become mindless, zombie-like creatures that turn on the uninfected.

The infection spreads quickly and with no cure in sight, society quickly collapses.

Scattered pockets of resistance are left, desperate for food, weapons and medical supplies — in their continual fight for survival.

It’s not a question of if, but when you become infected, one character says.


The series centres on Joel (Pedro Pascal), a special services operative turned smuggler who has been tasked with escorting teenage Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across a post-apocalyptic United States.

Having been born at the moment her mother was bitten by an infected person, Ellie is somehow immune to the Cordyceps infection and Joel’s goal is to get her from Boston quarantine zone to St Mary’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah where doctors are waiting to use her blood to create a vaccine. 

And, just like TWD, they encounter zombies and violent, immoral power groups along the way.

However, the producers are quick to point out The Sum of Us is not another zombie fest.

The infected are sometimes referred to as “clickers” or “bloaters” and may appear zombie-like — but zombies they are definitely not . . . Whatever.

Chilean born Pedro Pascal is best known for his roles as Oberyn Martell in the fourth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones (2011), Javier Peña in the Netflix series Narcos (2015) and the title character in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian (2019).

Bella Ramsey made her professional acting debut as fierce young noblewoman Lyanna Mormont in Season 6 of Game of Thrones.

She’s also known for Mildred Hubble in the newest adaptation of The Worst Witch.

Written by and , who also shared some of the directing, the first season was shot in Calgary, Canada.

Mazin is known for The Hangover Part II (2011), Identity Thief (2013) and Chernobyl (2019). Druckmann wrote and co-directed the video game.

The show will move to Vancouver and British Columbia for the second season.

The Last of Us has attracted criticism from some circles for depicting gay and lesbian couples, but interaction is tasteful and occurs naturally as part of the action.

In Episode 3 we meet a gay couple Bill and Frank, survivalists who live in a fortified compound, while Ellie later shares a kiss with bestie Riley who is leaving for Atlanta in Episode 7.

With a strong narrative and equally strong characterisation, the show adopts a thoughtful approach to a subject highlighted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Could it ever come to this? Watch and find out.

You can catch The Last of Us on Binge. 


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Time out score

Final thoughts . . .

Looking forward to the next season.


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