I have not played The Last of Us. I’ve had plenty of opportunity to do so, and as the horror aficionado that I claim to be, it feels blasphemous that I haven’t yet checked out the games. However, I have commitment issues and a poor attention span, and despite my flatmate’s endless attempts at convincing me to sit down and play it, I’ve instead continually shied away from the game.
HBO’s The Last of Us has since rolled around, and like most others who also haven’t played the game, I was immediately eager to see what it was about the story that has so many fans raving about it to no end. Needless to say, I finished off the first episode of HBO’s The Last of Us feeling equal parts weepy and thrilled – but, most importantly, desperate for more.
What exactly am I desperate for more of, though? The show itself, for sure. However, to say that would do a severe injustice as to what made the first episode so enjoyable for me, and that’s Bella Ramsay. Frankly, all that’s echoing in my mind right now is: “Are you my fucking mom or something?”
Look, we all knew that Pedro Pascal would blow us all away. You just need to look back at Game of Thrones or The Mandalorian to know that. Bella Ramsay, however, was an actor I hadn’t actually seen on screen before (yes, this means I’ve also never really watched Game of Thrones. I tried, but whatever). Bella Ramsay takes on the iconic role of Ellie, and while I can’t directly compare their performance to the games, I can say that this is a character I’m rooting for.
Ellie is brave and witty. She can decipher codes, stick up for herself, and fire off a quip when necessary. Despite the serious outbreak at hand, Ellie provides comic relief during the first episode – and this is not at the detriment of the importance or seriousness of her character. Underneath her hostile yet courageous demeanour is a terrified young girl; we catch glimpses of this side of her here and there, but overall, the character of Ellie constantly withholds her fear and remains valiant. Sometimes, she’s daring; this is a character who knows how to survive. And Ramsey catches all this with aplomb.
This is certainly a testament to the character of Ellie, and yes, this single episode has stirred something up within me that might finally see me playing the games. I’ve an idea of where HBO’s The Last of Us is going, given that I haven’t been able to ignore the plot points detailed on social media over the years, and I’m excited to see the relationship between Joel and Ellie develop.
Primarily, though, my endearment to the characters and the way I’ve been hooked from the off is due to the performances of both Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay. Something as simple as their facial expressions, a lengthy exhalation, or even the way they’re sat can tell you so much about the mood of that particular scenario. Take into account exceptional blocking and editing, pair it with these outstanding actors, and HBO’s The Last of Us becomes the most hair-rising ride – even 79 minutes into its nine episode life.
As much as you might think you know what’s going to happen next, you’re never quite prepared for it. On that note, I don’t think I’m at all prepared for how this show is going to emotionally destroy me, but I know that I’ll derive great joy from seeing Bella Ramsay get the positive attention that they deserve for such a powerful performance.