You seriously need to start watching ‘The Last Of Us’ on HBO

I don’t think I’ve ever watched a TV show like “The Last of Us,” which is currently airing its first season on HBO.

Sure, there are plenty of movies and TV shows about pandemics, and there are more than enough in the zombie genre, but I don’t know if I’ve ever watched something that involves a fungal pandemic that turns infected humans into mushroom zombies.

The show is an adaptation of a 2013 video game of the same name. I’m not a gamer at all, so I was completely unaware of this video game, but after speaking to a few friends who have played it, all I heard was that it is one, if not the best, video game of all time.

I was still pretty skeptical of the show before it aired still. Video games are not my thing, I don’t usually gravitate towards the sci-fi/horror genre and after living in a pandemic, why would I want to revisit any of those feelings, especially one that is beyond worse than the COVID-19 pandemic?

Honestly, the only reason I even entertained the idea of watching this show was because it stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, both “Game of Thrones” alums who played Oberyn Martell and Lyanna Mormont, respectively.

Pascal and Ramsey play Joel and Ellie as they leave the Boston “Quarantine Zone” and travel to the west coast, all the while fighting off monstrous infected people. It sounds pretty straight forward for a video game, but the bond between 50-something Joel and teenager Ellie is what is at the heart of this story.

We are currently three episodes in, and I can confidently say it is one of the best first seasons of a TV show I have ever watched, and trust me, I watch a lot of TV.

“The Last of Us” is tragic, terrifying, sad, anxiety-inducing and flat out scary, but at the same time shows you what resilience, tenacity and the power of love can do. It’s truly a roller coaster of emotions.

Joel is tasked with escorting Ellie on this dangerous trip, and while we’re only three episodes in still, you can already tell there will be a father/daughter bond that both of them have been searching for is about to start. Video game players already know this, but the writers of the show are doing an amazing job planting the seeds for it already.

Episode three, which aired Sunday night, might be one of the best episodes of TV I’ve ever seen. People all over the internet have been praising the episode, and it really deserves every compliment.

Without giving too much away, the episode shifts focus from Joel and Ellie to two minor characters from the video game, and explores their story and how they are surviving in a apocalyptic world. The show is slowly telling us that even in the darkest and scariest of times, there is love that can be found. That is, if we’re lucky enough.

It was an unexpected episode, and a nice break from the absolute terror and shock of the first two. I’m sure things will swing right back to it’s normal themes in the next episode, but it was great to slow down, and just watch an epic love story unfold during the most difficult of times.

Now is a great time to get caught up before next Sunday’s episode. Now that episode three is over, it feels like the adventure is finally starting. I’m sure the rest will be just as heartbreaking as every episode has been, but with more action to look forward to, I’m excited to see what is to come.

HBO just has a way of making ridiculously good TV, and “The Last of Us” is no exception.