What Makes the Prologue from ‘The Last of Us’ So Effective

Exploring what makes the grim prologue of The Last of Us season 1 so effective.
Last Of Us News Interview John Hannah

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that explores the terrifying prologue HBO’s The Last of Us.

I don’t know if y’all have heard, but this The Last of Us show is getting some prrrrretty good reviews. So much for that whole “live-action video game adaptation curse,” huh?

Like Naughty Dog’s 2013 video game of the same name, the TV show follows Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they make their way through the United States, now an overgrown wasteland in the wake of a fungal infection that has turned much of humanity into violent husks of their former selves, piloted by fungal hosts.

One of the aspects of the HBO show that folks have latched onto is its grim cold open. Rather than launching us into the tragic 2003 outbreak, which is seared into the minds of fans of the game, the show takes us back to a talk show in the 1960s. There, a panel of scientists responds to the possibility of a viral pandemic. One of their number (John Hannah) clarifies that his real fear is the possibility of a fungal pandemic that wouldn’t just lay out humanity but alter what it means to be human.

For a closer look at what makes the cold open in The Last of Us so good, sneak a peek at the video essay below.

Watch “THE LAST OF US: The Scariest Scene Isn’t The One You Think”

Who made this?

This video essay on why the scariest scene in HBO’s “The Last of Us” is by Adam Tinius, who runs the YouTube channel Entertain the Elk. They are based in Pasadena, California. You can follow them on YouTube here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields: Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.