Like any self-respecting sci-fi fan and Pedro Pascal appreciator, I've been tuning in week after week to have my heart shattered by The Last of Us. It's become a tradition at this point, and one I'll miss.


We knew the HBO series was was going to be good, not least because of the artful storytelling in the games, but it was difficult to predict that every aspect of the show would be so flawless - from the casting, the writing, and the direction, to how the story diverted from the games in the most important ways (including to expand on Bill and Frank's story) while still honouring the source material, especially by featuring so many of the incredible voice cast.

That's without mentioning the career-defining performances from Pascal, who was the perfect choice for Joel, and Bella Ramsey, who brought Ellie to life in a way that has surely proven every single critic wrong.

It's exceeded every expectation. I've loved The Last of Us in a way that I've not loved many TV shows. But I'm also praying to everything that is holy that we only get another nine or 10 episodes.

Listen, I couldn't be more excited for season 2. In the excruciating gap between seasons, I'll be playing the games, reading up on fan theories, considering who will be best placed to star as new characters Dina and Abby, and blasting Gustavo Santaolalla's soundtrack to make working from home all the more dramatic (give it a try).

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us.
Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us. HBO

But my love for this show does not overpower the importance of a good ending. We've seen time and time again how an ending can make or break a show - how many of us remember where we were when we watched the pretty shocking ending to Lost? And HBO, you're on very thin ice after the ending to Game of Thrones, which for me partly tarnished the show's entire legacy. How a series ends has the potential to define how it's remembered for years to come.

But The Last of Us has so much potential to do what so many shows have failed in - provide a spectacular ending and stick to it.

Crucially, the ending is already there. Thanks to Neil Druckmann, the story for the finale episode in season 1 was already written and the same goes for season 2, which is expected to follow The Last of Us Part II pretty closely.

Although an adaptation of The Last of Us took a long time, with ideas being thrown about for years, it's undeniably a good thing that the writers know exactly where the story will end up. I'm sure there are parts of season 1 that will massively pay off in season 2 because the writers know where this story was going.

And, without spoiling anything, where that story ends up is a good place to leave things. I can already picture how some of those scenes are set to go down in the series, with Ramsey and Pascal once again leading the charge, and I can't wait.

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Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us episode 4.
Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us episode 4. SEAC

It's widely accepted that some US TV networks have a nasty habit of drawing out popular shows to death. HBO isn't a major culprit of this, and it's promising that the network has decided to end Succession after four seasons despite there probably being an audience for more than that if they wanted to drag it out.

But the hardcore popularity of The Last of Us, and the incredible world that's been built make me concerned about where it's going to go in future. Personally, I don't need a season 3 that could tarnish the show's legacy.

As much as I love Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, and even though they've said they'd be up for it, I don't need to see a spin-off of Bill and Frank's story. Their romance was beautifully encapsulated in episode 3 and, in my view, it works perfectly as a vignette alongside Joel and Ellie's journey.

What I need is two perfect seasons, something that is so incredibly rare in TV - but something that is absolutely in reach for The Last of Us. The conditions are just right - the showrunners, one of which created the game, know exactly where the story's going, the actors have proven that they were the ideal casting for the series, popularity for the show will be at an all time high and, most importantly, the ending is already there. They just have to run with it.

Maybe I'm being overly cautious - of course, there are exceptions to the rule. After Breaking Bad ended, I never would have expected just how good spin-off Better Call Saul would be, with some fans arguing that it's surpassed the original series. But I could count the examples of this happening on one hand. Maybe The Last of Us Part III will be released at some point and continue the story in a way that makes total sense, and should also be adapted.

But, so far, The Last of Us has been pitch perfect in pretty much every way and I have every confidence that season 2 will follow suit. And when we reach those heights in TV, sometimes the best thing we can possibly do is to just leave it alone.

The Last of Us is available on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW.

Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on this week.


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