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The place a child is usually a child: Recapping episode 7 of HBO’s The Final of Us


Even the apocalypse can't stop the standard teen wall full of posters...
Enlarge / Even the apocalypse cannot cease the usual teen wall filled with posters…

New episodes of The Final of Us are premiering on HBO each Sunday night time, and Ars’ Kyle Orland (who’s performed the video games) and Andrew Cunningham (who hasn’t) shall be speaking about them right here each Monday morning. Whereas these recaps do not delve into each single plot level of the episode, there are clearly heavy spoilers contained inside, so go watch the episode first if you wish to go in contemporary.

Andrew: We’re again once more! FLASH-back, that’s!

This one is not as huge a departure from the motion as the Invoice episode was a couple of weeks again, but it surely does imply that final week’s cliffhanger goes principally unresolved. Ellie does take a crack at patching Joel up, although it appears to me that sticking a decades-old unsanitized needle into an open wound is simply as prone to kill him as save him…

Kyle: If the flashback right here appears a bit misplaced it is most likely as a result of this storyline was initially a part of the sport’s «Left Behind» DLC, which was written and launched nicely after the primary recreation got here out. I am not completely towards placing it right here within the present’s narrative—it is vital background that ought to go someplace—but it surely does step on one of many extra dramatic moments within the recreation (although perhaps that is nonetheless coming sooner or later?)

Given how we first met Ellie as a prisoner within the present, I positively respect giving a bit extra time to exhibiting what she was like attempting to develop up as a traditional child beneath FEDRA’s model of society.

Bored teens look the same, even under FEDRA control.
Enlarge / Bored teenagers look the identical, even beneath FEDRA management.

HBO

Andrew: Yeah, I haven’t got an issue with the episode, and folks watching this sooner or later when the entire season is accessible to binge straight by way of most likely will not be as bothered by the delayed cliffhanger.

This does flirt with a factor that I can discover irritating in fiction, although—this impulse to indicate/clarify each single little factor a few character as a substitute of letting issues be implied or a bit mysterious. I am not overly bothered by it right here, but when TLoU stretches right into a second or third season I might see them leaning on flashback-as-filler in a method that may very well be much less fascinating.

Did you ever surprise, viewers, about how Ellie received her knife? How Invoice received his truck?! Tune in subsequent week!

Kyle: So long as they do not go full 50-years-of-Star-Wars-filler on it, I believe it will be OK…

Andrew: Anyway, these issues apart, this episode lets us spend a giant chunk of time with Ellie sans Joel for the primary time, which I respect. It is a flashback to some days? Weeks? Months? Earlier than the beginning of the sequence, when Ellie is a only a Teen With A Dangerous Angle in FEDRA highschool as a substitute of a Attainable Savior of Humankind.

Kyle: Within the recreation I imagine it is set a couple of weeks earlier than Ellie meets Joel, so let’s go together with that.

I used to be glad to see a well-acted model of Riley right here, appearing as a foil to push and pull Ellie in fascinating instructions. Even when I did not know what was going to occur, although, I believe it might be fairly exhausting to get too hooked up to her. The sample of «meet a brand new character; See them join with the characters we love; Oops they’re useless inside an episode or two» is already getting a bit performed out. It is doable to go to that nicely too usually…

Don't get too attached, Ellie...
Enlarge / Do not get too hooked up, Ellie…

HBO

Andrew: Two’s firm, three’s a crowd in The Final of Us universe, and in case you spend any time with Ellie and Joel you’d higher have an exit technique discovered. I respect the dedication to maintaining the main target slender however what if extra characters, like Tommy, had been merely allowed to depart and maintain having their very own lives as a substitute of dying horribly? I assume we’ll by no means know.

Kyle: I assume it feels a bit completely different within the recreation as a result of these characters are inclined to linger with you a bit longer—even when that point is usually artificially lengthened by shootouts and whatnot. So the sample continues to be there within the recreation, but it surely does not appear so predictably timed to end-of-episode breaks.

Andrew: Let’s give some props to the set designers, although, who appear thrilled to work on one thing that is not one other run-down residential space. The design of the dilapidated, deserted mall—the episode’s huge setpiece—has tons of enjoyable particulars. I did not go frame-by-frame to examine and be sure that all the actual shops talked about/depicted had been portrayed precisely as they’d have been in September 2003, however the presence of an deserted mall with all of its anchor shops intact may be very true to the early ’00s.

Different «society crumbled in September 2003!» issues I appreciated: after all there can be a pop-up Halloween retailer on this mall, and Ellie is listening to a reduce from 2002’s Riot Act, the ultimate in-universe Pearl Jam album. (Except Eddie Vedder survived the apocalypse; of all the choice rock stalwarts, he is the one I would wager on, truthfully.)

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