Now that we’ve seen the entire first season, it’s safe to say The last of us is going to go down in our memory as one of the great shows of recent memory. While the show’s story was deeply compelling from the jump, what got most people invested in it was the wealth of great characters that exist in this universe.
Apart from the unforgettable season 1 The last of us Cameras, the show had a cast of characters that were some of the best on television. As hard as it was to narrow it down to just 10, these are the characters from the show’s first season that stuck with us the most.
Note: the following list contains spoilers for season 1 of The Last of Us.
Sam’s death is arguably one of the most poignant, emotional moments of the entire series, and that has a lot to do with the innocence that is lost with his death.
Sam is a normal kid, and his brother has had to be incredibly creative in finding ways to make sure he doesn’t lose hope in the midst of difficult circumstances. Sam’s superhero makeup will make him hard to forget, as will the genuine bond he and Ellie seemed to form in their short time together.
Joel’s brother Tommy is someone Joel describes as a “partner,” but when we finally meet him today, it’s hard to deny that Tommy has things a lot clearer than his brother. He lives in Wyoming with his wife and has a baby on the way, and Joel is devastated to learn that Tommy doesn’t need him the way he might have when they were both younger.
Tommy’s best scenes come during his interactions with Joel, as the two find ways to hurt each other, even if they eventually reconcile.
The show’s best example of a villain becoming far more complex on television, Kathleen is the leader of a resistance movement that thwarted Kansas City’s FEDRA forces. In the process of taking down FEDRA, Kathleen felt like capturing and killing Henry, who sold her brother to save his younger brother, Sam.
Kathleen’s consuming quest for revenge is what leads to her ultimate undoing, but before her death, we understand how brutal and effective she can be, and how right she may have been about what it means to let someone die in this world. .
Henry is, in the eyes of many, a collaborator who worked with FEDRA to take over the resistance. Of course, he did it because he needed medicine to save his brother’s life, complicating the picture and showing that making the right choice in this kind of universe is almost impossible.
Henry’s single-minded attention to his brother is all the proof you need that he meant well, even if his efforts to save Sam were ultimately futile. Henry wanted to prove that he could be a good protector and when he failed, he couldn’t handle the consequences.
One half of the duo that provided one of the most memorable hours of the entire first season, Frank builds a life with Bill over the course of nearly 20 years. Bill has sharp edges, a man so convinced of the darkness of the world that he was prepared for an apocalypse long before it actually came.
Frank, on the other hand, brings joy and light to their lives and eventually makes Bill open up in a way no one else could. They had a wonderful life together, and at the end of it all, they chose to leave together.
Ellie’s developing relationship with Riley in Stay back The episode shows us what Joel refused to believe: Ellie already knows what it’s like to lose people. Although Riley only appears in a single episode, her relationship with Ellie is so genuine and deep that you understand how much they mean to each other.
You also understand that while Ellie may be glad her bite didn’t kill her, the moment she was bitten, she also lost the person who meant the most to her in the entire world. Once we meet Riley, we understand why Eli thought she was so important.
Joel’s post-apocalyptic partner Tess is someone Joel cares about, but has never been able to break down the many walls he’s put up after the death of his daughter, Sarah. Their relationship begins to resemble a tragedy as we realize how much more deeply Tess felt for Joel than she did for him.
Ultimately we don’t know much about Tess, but we do know that she bonded with Ellie almost immediately and that she was willing to sacrifice herself to provide for Joel and Ellie. Her final moments, as she tries to light a lighter before succumbing to a zombie bite, are some of the creepiest in the entire series.
Joel is, for all intents and purposes, the hero of his first season The last of us, and as we see in the first moments of the series, he has been affected by the loss of his daughter. What makes the story so touching, then, is the way Ellie gives Joel a second chance to open up.
In the end, we know that Joel makes the terrible choice to protect Ellie above all else, but that decision is based on the character’s belief that his only purpose is to protect those he loves. It is this love, and its terrible corrosive power, that drives Joel to kill so many people.
Bill is, in many ways, a direct parallel to Joel. He is a deadly mastermind of doom who was proven right when the world ended. And while he could have ended up dark, cynical and deeply lonely, instead he found a partner who made him open up and realize there was more to life than preparing for the next bad thing.
He made it his sole purpose in life to protect Frank, and the two lived happily for over a decade before dying in each other’s arms. They had their own little corner of perfection at the end of the world.
Ellie’s journey was central to the course The last of us unfolds. A young lady immune to the Cordyceps virus, she initially seems like a charming and funny, if inexperienced, cargo for Joel and Tess. As we learn more about her, though, we come to understand everything she’s already lost and how those losses have made her fear being alone.
When she confronts David, we see something break in Ellie and we have to wonder if she will ever heal. She is a 14-year-old scarred from a dark world who has to get up every day to find a way to live.