It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before, and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.

For the curious, here are links to 20082009 (a bad year), 201020112012 (when we left the blog behind), 20132014201520162017201820192020, 2021 and 2022.


Here there be spoilers!

Okay, this is more like it. Although the idea that we’re just skipping THREE FUCKING MONTHS of story and development to get to a point where we see that NOTHING HAS ACTUALLY DEVELOPED, is ridiculous. With every episode that passes, I’m more and more convinced that this should have been structured like a traditional series with more than nine episodes. I haven’t played a hundred hours of this video game. I haven’t spent months of my life working these characters through stressful, dangerous situations and building up some sort of connection and discovering back story through things I find.

I’ve watched six-ish hours of a show that seems to expect me to give a shit about these people who are the least interesting characters in each episode.

When Graham Greene and Elaine Miles from Northern Exposure showed up, I said out loud that if anything happened to them, I was done with this. And without a doubt, they were the best part of the episode. I almost feel like the creators just let them riff, instead of sticking to any sort of script. Because the rest of the who is nowhere near as entertaining as they are.

Anyway…

Not only did they make us watch Henry (Lamar Johnson) commit suicide AGAIN to open the episode, we then get the aforementioned three-month time jump, where apparently nothing has happened. Hell, Ellie (Bella Ramsey) waited three months to mention to Joel (Pedro Pascal) that she tried to save Sam (Keivonn Woodard) by rubbing her blood into his wound?

Three months? There is literally no sense of time passing. Everything is tell, rather than show.

Then, Joel and Ellie find Tommy (Gabriel Luna) at the first place they encounter. This is after going past the “River of Death” where Greene and Miles told them nobody comes back from and where they find enough bodies to decide that they never want to go West of the river. This is a five-day walk, where Joel and Ellie encounter NO DANGER WHATSOEVER.

After three months of walking travel WITH NO DANGER WHATSOEVER.

And the riders on horseback who bring Joel and Ellie into their gated community, just happen to have brought two extra horses along that our heroes can ride.

Sigh.

I’ve been reading a lot of Stephen King since the beginning of the year, and I’ve noticed what it is he does to invest readers in his characters and make his plots so difficult to put down. It also makes endings harder, which explains a lot, too. But nothing is ever easy in a Stephen King story. There are no straight lines from Point A to Point B. There is always a complication that pushes the protagonists off the straight line; and then there are usually more complications at every point where they get back to the line. That builds tension and helps to allow the characters to develop and create relationships.

The Last of Us has none of that.

There are no complications until they reach their goals, and then the complications are obvious and moved past quickly.

I don’t know if this is because they’re beholden to the structure of the video game’s narrative, or if they’re limited by the number of episodes they have and they want to get to the end of the game in one season. Both reasons are garbage, so it doesn’t really matter. This story needs time to breathe and build.

Anyway, like I said, the first people they come across just happen to be the people that have taken Tommy in and now he’s married to Maria (Rutina Wesley) with a baby on the way. He tells Joel where the Fireflies should be and then, after a fake-out disguised as a character moment, where Joel tries to quit because he’s “too old” and is having panic attacks, he and Ellie ride off on another trip that is described and extremely dangerous and filled with raiders and infected monsters.

Again, there are no raiders or infected on the multiple day ride.

They get to the Firefly base and discover that – surprise! – the Fireflies are again gone or dead and only then do four raiders actually show up but only one confronts them and Joel gets stabbed before killing him. Then they ride off on horseback and nobody follows them, because of course they don’t, and the episode ends with Joel passing out from blood loss, falling off their horse, and Ellie panicking because she thinks he’s going to die.

But then HBO pops up a picture of the next episode and it’s an Ellie flashback episode, so we’re gonna tease this Joel-possibly-dying thing out over an extra episode. Now that’s DEFINITELY something they learned from The Walking Dead.

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