The Last of Us ‘When You’re Lost in the Darkness’ Photo-Recap: Won’t You Take Me To Fungi Town

Exterior of a house, inside we hear screams. A woman bursts out the front door, tripping and landing with a skidding thud onto the grass. She turns, her hands raised in terror as a man stumbles out of the house. He looks, for lack of a better word, like a freaking zombie. He slowly trudges towards her as she ineffectually tries to inch away. His hands are outstretched, ready to grab her…

“Why are you running away? I’m a fun guy!”

Long pause. She stares at him. Blinks. Sirens blare in the distance.

“Get it? Fun-guy? Fungi. Cause of the… never mind.”

He eats her.

If you’re new here, I’m… sorry? For what you’re about to experience? Stick around? If you’re returning, you know the above is not the last, nor the worst pun you will encounter here. Welcome back, and I am also sorry.

Before I begin, I need you all to know that I have no sweet clue what this show is about. I mean… I do now because I watched the first episode, but prior to that, all I knew was that it boasted a knock-your-socks-off cast, and was based on a video game. 

The last time I played a video game there were spinning turtles involved (I was at a disco at the aquarium) (OMG and there were ALSO spinning turtles in the game!) (heh). What I’m saying is, I have zero reference for this show. Well, there was one time my friend called me sobbing because of the game, and I consoled her to make up for that time I called her sobbing because a fictional dog died (I do not wish to discuss it). 

But let me tell you, twenty minutes into this pilot, I was ENTHRALLED. This show is sure to crush the hearts and souls of video game fans and newbs alike. WHO’S PUMPED?

The episode opened on a fun science talk show from the past that broke down the Very Real Sounding possibility of fungus turning us all into zombies. I have never in my life seen a better PSA for the climate crisis than John Hannah telling us if the Earth warms up then FUNGUS WILL USE US AS MEAT PUPPETS. Like, effing hell, fine, I’ll unplug my microwave!

Ah, the happy domestic period of any horror / disaster / post-apocalyptic tale that shows us exactly what the character will be losing. Meet Joel, his brother Tommy, and his daughter Sarah. Don’t worry, guys, I knew what was coming, so I didn’t fall in love with this sassy, thoughtful teen with awesome hair. I’m sure none of you did either, it’s totally fine. 

After some adorable birthday bonding with her dear ol’ dad (it’s totally fine), Sarah awoke to the everyday sounds of apocalypse and went to her neighbour’s house to investigate. 

Welp! Invalid Gramma Neighbour is not doing great, and she was real keen on spreading her gross germs to any and all around her, including our sassy young angel (I’m NOT attached!). Luckily her dad and Fun Uncle Tommy showed up to murder a grandma, do a few donuts in the cul de sac, and speed off in a puff of exhaust. (The neighbour yelling “What the hell, Joel??” was a great touch – have fun dying, dumb dumb!)

This truck escape was wildly brilliant. Even someone with adjacent knowledge of video games can see how masterfully this was produced to mimic them. The dialogue, the point of view, everything going nuts around them, it was outstanding and VERY STRESSFUL.

Then a plane crashed behind them and flipped their truck, but don’t worry, the only injury was a sprained ankle. No one would suspect someone was infected because of a sprained ankle!

Big yikes.

The soldier was ordered to shoot them, resulting in a lil’ tumble down a hill. Just before the soldier was going to kill Joel for goodsies, Tommy showed up to murder him (fair enough!). But it was too late for Sarah, which is FINE because we didn’t get attached, right? None of us wept over her death because we KNEW it was coming, so it didn’t tear our hearts out, no big deal. I said NO BIG DEAL, OKAY.

I figured there’d be a time jump, but damn! 

Now that he’s a brooding sad-sack silver fox, our hero does odd jobs like sanitation, throwing bodies into a fire, some light drug dealing, that sort of thing. Oh, and he also has a girlfriend! 

My crush on Anna Torv is truly out of control. Like, it’s a problem. I have missed this woman on my screen so much. 

Tess was screwed over by these fellows, then got beat up for good measure. She was about to negotiate her way to safety when a bomb went off, allowing her to skedaddle out of the pot, right into the frying pan. She was arrested on suspicion being a “firefly”, which is a group of people petitioning TV executives to bring back a space cowboy show. They also want democracy back, I think? Anyway, they’re real big on nightlights, votive candles, and kidnapping teens.

This cute lil’ Count Von Count is named Veronica Ellie, and she’s being held by the Fireflies for myseeeeeerious reasons.

This foxy minx is Marlene, and she is very concerned with getting Ellie to safety for REASONS. 

Okay, so Fun Uncle Tommy was traversing beyond the gated community, and he hadn’t sent a postcard with any hugs or kisses for over three weeks. This naturally had Joel itchin’ for an adventure. But in order to go on said adventure, they had to hunt down the truck battery they were cheated out of.

They went on a fun frolic through interesting and wondrous sites, leading them to this fascinating specimen who was just trying to enjoy the cool comfort of the wall. Like, don’t gawk, you look like tourists. Anyway, after a fun misunderstanding where Ellie thought Joel was yet another attacker, she burst out of a room and tried to stab him. 

Since Marlene was shot and her compatriot missing an ear (this show has its laughs!), it was decided Joel and Tess would take Ellie to a tower where she will spend her days growing out her hair and dreaming of a prince who can climb it, or something. A deal was struck to help Joel find Fun Uncle Tommy, and off they went. 

Bahahahaha, I love her so much. Never let your guard down around teenage girls, Joel! She tricked him into revealing his smuggling code: 60s music – don’t bother, 70s music – soup’s on, 80s music: just go to bed because trouble’s brewing. 

But there was no time to hang around and bee-bop to a radio when there was post-apocalyptic adventuring to do! They sneaky-snuck out of an underground tunnel and tip-toed around until they come upon a soldier – the very same soldier Joel sells drugs to! How serendipitous! He naturally tried to extort them while testing them for the fungi-flu, but Ellie stabbed him in the leg before he could test her.

Whoooooooooboy, did Joel ever go off on this soldier. He’s dead, right? I sure hope so! Otherwise he’ll tell everyone what they’re up to. I feel like *almost* murdering someone in this kind of show is always a bad idea. If you’re gonna do it, do it right, you know?

Anyway, Tess saw the result of the test, revealing that Ellie is infected (gasp?) but doesn’t have any zombie symptoms, so maybe she’s the cure. That’s fun! 

As they scampered off in search of adventure (and perhaps… themselves) the radio came to life. Did I have to shazam the song? Yes. Did I have to google what year it came out? Yes, yes I did. Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” came out in 1987. Trouble! 

Well pals, what did you guys think of the first episode? I was intrigued even before Twitter told me to watch it (thanks guys), but I do admit I wasn’t fully on the trolly until about twenty minutes in. I grow weary of grim-dark, hopeless shows. I gave up on The Walking Dead, was enraged by Game of Thrones, and well, we all know what happened with The 100

But this seems different. There’s a little girl possibly carrying around a cure inside her DNA. There’s a grumpy, sad silver fox ready to become her friend-dad. There are a whole gaggle of women ready to save the dang day. Also, the fact that it’s based on a video game with an established ending (?) gives me hope that this show won’t jump the shark. 

So, in short, I’m in. You got me, The Last of Us. You got me good.

SOME STUFF

  • The opening credits are creepy as all heck, are they not???
  • All the performances are amazing, but can we talk about the soldier’s progression of “yes sir”. With that last one, we knew. That boy gave this performance his all and we never got to see his face, poor kid!
  • Hey remember that time a child wandered in from the woods and was promised ice cream and a round of Disney Charades, and then was promptly murdered? What a romp this show is! 
  • Don’t act like you didn’t see Sarah pull a face when Friendly Neighbour offered her a raisin cookie. I will never understand why raisins in cookies get so much disdain. Give me a warm oatmeal raisin any damn day. Add a little cinnamon? Divine. 
  • Who’s Riley? Why did Marlene drop Elle off at the soldier orphanage? Intrigue!
  • I already talked about the videogame truck sequence, but can we talk about how masterfully creepy it was when Sarah’s back was turned and Invalid Grandma Neighbour started tweaking out behind her?? The direction / writing on this show, my goodness!
  • I’m a bit confused about the fungus. Joel and Tess found that former person in the basement, with the fungus growing on the wall. Wouldn’t breathing that in infect them, or do people have to be bitten by another person? If so, how did the first person get infected? Am I thinking too much? 
  • Genuine question about the video game (or games in general): is there a storyline that everyone follows? Like, does everyone end up at the same spot, with the same outcome? Or is it like choose-your-own-adventure, where everyone who plays the game goes through a different story based on your playing choices?
  • Have you ever called a friend sobbing because of the death of a fictional character? Was it a human or a dog? Was it this video game, or perhaps A Dog’s Purpose? (I said I do NOT wish to DISCUSS IT)
  • I wanted so badly for this show to Rickroll us. 
  • EXCUSE ME BUT:

In this house we stan a reluctant mom figure, too. 

  • On a scale of one to PLAY AN 80s SONG BECAUSE MY HEART IS IN TROUBLE, how all-in are you?

THANKS FOR POPPING IN SEE YOU NEXT WEEK STAY SAFE OUT THERE!

4 thoughts on “The Last of Us ‘When You’re Lost in the Darkness’ Photo-Recap: Won’t You Take Me To Fungi Town

  1. Welcome back! Love your recaps. I could not believe A Dog’s Purpose…I was devastated too! I cry at any and all dog deaths in movies and television shows and I also cry at the deaths of fictional characters I’m attached to in all mediums!

    Like

    1. I do NOT wish to DISCUSS IT. (But seriously, that book destroyed me, and then I went back for more punishment with the movie).

      Did you read or watch Chaos Walking? Because…. *sniff*

      Like

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