I didn’t know about the Last of Us until my husband told me about it, and of course from the intense hype from critics and viewers alike. I haven’t played the video game, but watching the first season definitely has me intrigued.
I usually don’t focus on TV series in my blogs or in the practice of film therapy in general, but I thought I would focus on a particular episode of Season 1- Episode 3.
As with most episodes, it was deeply poignant and stirring, and elicits a multitude of emotions across all scenes. As viewers, we are becoming invested in the main characters, Joel and Ellie, but this episode does not focus on them. Rather, it concentrates on two contrasting men. This unique episode shows us what is possible to transpire during a chaotic and uncertain time in the world for all types of relationships- families, friendships, loves, and even acquaintances.
We witness the unfolding of a romantic relationship and intimate partnership; an honest portrayal of two humans finding each other amidst tragedy. Bill, played by Nick Offerman, is a complex character who, from the arrival of Frank (played by Australian actor Murray Bartlett), opens himself up to vulnerability. He takes the courageous risk by being vulnerable with another person he was not expecting to meet. It reminds me of the quote I love from a book that had a big impact on my life, ‘The Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ – “The peaceful warrior's way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability — to the world, to life, and to the Presence you felt.’’ During a scene involving a piano, there is a palpable ‘Presence’ that both Bill and Frank experience in each other’s company. They each discover what was dormant in each other. They are two very different characters with seemingly very different lives until they meet each other in the unique social circumstances they find themselves in.
I don’t think anyone can review this ep without mentioning the dinner scene. I will, but I also do not want to give away spoilers. All I want to say it how tragic and wholesomely human this scene is, amongst any scene I’ve seen in any series or film. It demonstrates in however many minutes the scene goes for, the genuine love, affection & respect the two characters have for each other and the relationship they have created. It reflects the simple scenes we watch prior to this one, which really capture the essence the loneliness, depth, truth, and passion we observe in the leading up to this.
One of the following scenes where Joel and Ellie return to their home is also powerful, resonant and evocative of the beauty we witness in previous scenes. I felt such a variety of emotions watching this episode, as with many of the eps in this series so far. This one stands out to me as such a masterfully filmed and acted piece of storytelling and filmmaking.
Another element I want to praise this series on is that in every episode, it seems like an entire story within it, which can even be viewed apart from others in a way, as we consistently meet relevant characters within their own individualised and constructed world, and who try their utmost within a fraught society where all humans can do is still find each other and survive.