The failure of The Last of Us show. (Fan Creations)

by cheapLEY @, Sunday, March 05, 2023, 19:39 (416 days ago) @ Cody Miller

It’s hyperbolic, but only sort of of. The show is fine. But it has failed in perhaps the most important way.

I don’t buy Joel and Ellie’s relationship. When he calls her baby girl at the end of tonight’s episode, I just don’t believe it. In the game (which I played through the week the show started), that line lands and solidifies the relationship we knew existed. The show has not given us enough for me to buy into the relationship all the way yet. They’ve hit all the big events and moments, and I even think most of those individual moments are done better in the show. But it hasn’t quite been enough. It’s not a fair comparison, but I think it highlights the strength of video games that the relationship is stronger there. Because it’s not only the big character shaping moments, it’s all the little ones. The ice cream trucks and the movie posters and every little conversation and one liner that makes me believe the building of that relationship.

I was struck a bit by the ending of the episode in Jackson with Tommy. Joel changing his mind and his line, “you deserve a choice,” was probably the change I like the least. I think that moment was much stronger in the game. It feels much more like Joel coming to an independent and very deliberate choice in the game. And also the show has been very heavy handed in the lead up to what Joel will eventually do. I honestly wonder if they know that some people aren’t going to quite buy in and needed to really reinforce that with Bill’s letter and what’s her name’s monologue to Sam and Henry.

I’m really eager to see the final episode and how it ultimately lands. This is pretty clearly the best video game adaptation that’s been done, and I still think it’s excellent overall. But I do think it’s weaker than I expected, too. The individual elements of the show are great. The actors are excellent, and I like these versions of Joel and Ellie maybe even more than the game versions, but the show (and especially Joel and Ellie’s relationship) doesn’t quite capture the game. I do think some of that could be fixed with more focus on Joel and Ellie, but I’m not sure anything could have made it match the game in that regard. The small moments that fill the game wouldn’t make sense in a tv show, no matter how much time you had to include it.

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