The Best Memes About ‘The Last of Us’ Episode 1

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us Episode 1. He's looking at the ground sadly.

It’s been a long time coming, but HBO’s “The Last of Us” finally premiered last night, and what a premiere it was! The first episode played it pretty close to the game, recreating certain moments scene for scene, while adding a lot of backstory for characters like Sarah and Tess that the game didn’t simply have time for. Like the game, the show started from Sarah’s point of view, but unlike the game, the episode focused on her for a long time. Cue everyone who’s played the game sweating, because they know the character’s tragic fate…

The majority of the 90-minute first episode was about the events on Outbreak Day, but with a few key changes. The cold open is a flashback to a ’60s talk show where scientists discuss the potential danger of a widespread fungal infection — not that a large-scale fungal infection is likely to ever happen in humans, one says, so we can all relax. It does a great job setting the stakes, basically revealing that if something like the cordyceps fungus ever evolved to affect humans, it would take over our brains, turn us into mindless revenants, and make us obsessed with spreading the infection to as many other humans as possible.

After the opening credits — which use the theme song from the game — we’re introduced to Pedro Pascal’s Joel and his daughter Sarah. It’s the morning of Joel’s birthday, and Sarah makes him breakfast before swiping his broken watch, so she can get it fixed as a present. The game begins that night, with Sarah giving Joel his newly repaired watch and the pair watching one of their favourite movies together until hell breaks loose. But the episode follows Sarah all day long, including when she visits her neighbours after school and has her back turned when their elderly mother starts twitching ominously.

Not long after, that poor mother has been fully infected and attacks the rest of the household with preternatural strength. Sarah, who’s bringing the neighbour’s runaway dog back, is chased out of the house and saved by Joel and Tommy. In a thrilling scene that’s pretty much shot for shot with the game, they hit the road to escape the city, but their run is cut short when a soldier shoots at Joel and Sarah, injuring him and fatally wounding her. This scene is heartbreaking in the game and even more so in the show. But it also sets up what’s to come for when the show jumps 20 years into the future. Now, Joel is haunted with survivors guilt and unable to let go of the past — or his watch, which was broken again during the shooting.

Joel soon finds himself tasked with smuggling 14-year-old Ellie out of the quarantine zone, the main story arc of “The Last of Us”, but I’m glad the show spent so long in pre-apocalypse times. Learning more about Sarah and seeing Joel’s everyday life gives his current situation more weight. He keeps Ellie at a distance because she reminds him of Sarah, and he can’t bear the thought of losing his daughter again. But fans of the game know their relationship will grow much closer during their journey, which the show has already done a lot of the groundwork for.

The first episode of “The Last of Us” was full of Easter eggs to the game and heart shattering moments that ruined viewers — so much so that they made a lot of memes to process their emotions!

The Best Memes About “The Last of Us” Episode 1

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