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The Last of Us Best Episodes: Ranking The Most Iconic Episodes

The Last of Us best episode undoubtedly captured the essence of the show’s wild road trip narrative, with unexpected detours, heart-wrenching moments, and plenty of action. Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) were the ultimate travel buddies, enduring danger and hardship together while forming an unbreakable bond.

The show’s first episode “When you’re lost in the darkness“, set the tone for what was to come, with a thrilling and emotionally resonant journey that kept us on the edge of our seats. Co-creators Mazin and Druckmann gave us a little bit of everything – romance, suspense, drama, and even some laughs – and we can’t wait to see where they take us next.

It’s been a wild ride from start to finish on this amazing show. Like any epic road trip, there were some bumps along the way, but our dynamic duo (Mazin and Druckmann) kept us entertained throughout the first season. Sure, their on-screen chemistry was electric, but the showrunners didn’t rely solely on that to carry the plot forward. Instead, they delivered a series of unforgettable episodes that left fans buzzing. So, without further ado, here are the episodes of The Last of Us Season 1, ranked from good to freaking amazing.

It seems that with each episode released, The Last of Us garners a whole lot of attention and praise from fans. Of course, there are a few episodes that receive more criticism than others, but that’s just parring for the course. And if you really want to know which episodes are fan favorites, just take a peek at the IMDb ratings! It’s like a hierarchy of epicness for The Last of Us TV series.

The Last of Us Best Episode of Season 1

“Endure and Survive” (Episode 5)

Endure and Survive” was the ultimate experience. We got it all: epic action, heart-wrenching relationships, and child zombies infected with fungi! We met Henry and Sam, the dynamic duo who gave us a sneak peek of what’s to come for Joel and Ellie. They even tried to have a normal playdate in a world overrun by fungus.

“Long, Long Time” (Episode 3)

The Last of Us episode 3 faced a boss-level challenge with the episode’s ranking. “Long, Long Time” sparked online debates, making it a noteworthy feat. But let’s ignore that and focus on the story. The episode deviates from the game and centers on two characters, Bill and Frank, who create a safe haven together amidst the chaos.

They fall in love and protect each other, which is a rare sight for gay men over 50 on TV. The episode ends on a bittersweet note, reminding us that love can save some but not all. It’s impressive how this one episode can pack so much emotion and depth.

“Left Behind” (Episode 7)

We’ve reached the ultimate level of The Last of Us episodes, and it’s a tough decision to pick a winner from the top three. “Left Behind” is like a reflection of “Long, Long Time,” another queer love story in this season. This time, however, one of them doesn’t die. It’s Ellie’s sad flashback to her last adventure with her crush and BFF, Riley, and it’s a touching lesbian coming-of-age tale.

The old 2003 mall culture is recreated in a lovely yet terrifying manner. We already know the ending, but the show embraces that feeling of dread, and it colors the story beautifully. The way “Left Behind” ends, cutting to Ellie fighting to save Joel, is fantastic. This episode understands that being a teenager feels like the end of the world.

“When You’re Lost in the Darkness” (Episode 1)

Alright, let’s get real – putting the first and last episodes back to back is a risky move. They’re like apples and oranges, or maybe runners and clickers? But we gotta hand it to “When You’re Lost in the Darkness” for setting everything up without feeling like a boring exposition dump. It’s all about those little details that make you go “ooh” and “ahh” – the chilling talk show intro, the sweet scenes of Joel and Sarah’s life, and the intense virus chaos.

And that Depeche Mode ending? Genius. Plus, Nico Parker kills it as Sarah and sets the tone for the whole season. It’s a killer pilot that promises a world of destruction and devastation, and we can’t wait to see where it goes.

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“Look for the Light” (Episode 9)

Okay, okay, hear me out – the season finale of The Last of Us lands right in the middle of the pack for a reason. “Look for the Light” packs a punch, but it’s not without its quirks. Ellie and Joel’s quest to find the Fireflies reaches a wild conclusion when the Fireflies find them first! And boy, do they have some wild plans for Ellie – they want to perform a surgery that’ll straight-up kill her in the name of finding a cure. Talk about extreme medicine, right?


Well, Joel isn’t having any of that. His first instinct is to go all Rambo and kill everyone in the hospital to keep Ellie safe. Yikes, dude. In The Last of Us video game, players are right there with Joel, making those same extreme choices. The TV show tries to capture that same intensity, but it’s rushed and confusing. Still, the fact that nobody takes a breather to chat is kinda the point – killing is Joel’s go-to move. And maybe it’s the Fireflies, too? The season finale tackles some seriously murky morality, and it definitely makes us see Joel in a different light.

“When We Are in Need” (Episode 8)

Okay, get this: “When We Are in Need” might not be a crowd favorite, but it’s definitely a horror fan’s delight! It’s got cannibal cults, crazy preachers, and a fiery cafeteria showdown that’ll make you want to cheer (even though it’s kinda dark).

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Sure, it’s not exactly a character-driven episode, but who needs deep relationships when you’ve got Ellie going full-on stabby-stab on a dude’s face? It’s a gory, tense ride that proves once again that man-eaters are the ultimate zombie villains. And if you’re like me, you’ll be screaming “Yay!” while Ellie loses the last of her innocence.

“Infected” (Episode 2)

The second episode of The Last of Us wraps up the Boston phase with Joel and Tess reluctantly guiding Ellie through the city. While it’s not the most exciting episode on the list, it serves as a necessary connection between the different parts of the story. You don’t need a crystal ball to see that Tess is headed for the big zombie apocalypse in the sky, but her sendoff is still a thrill ride.

Plus, we get introduced to the Clickers, which are like zombies on steroids, and they’ll definitely make you want to double-check your locks at night. But the real standout is Anna Torv, who gives an epic performance as Tess meets her tragic end. She goes out in a blaze of glory that’s both disgusting and romantic, leaving us with chills and maybe even a tear or two.

“Please Hold to My Hand” (Episode 4)

Please Hold to y Hand” was up against some tough competition, like trying to follow up a viral cat video with a video of a sloth napping. Plus, it was the setup for a two-part story, so it had to do a lot of heavy lifting while the real action was still to come. And let’s not forget about that cringy title. Yikes! But the episode did give us a better look at the world falling apart, with FEDRA losing control of a rebel group led by Kathleen.

It also showed us how Ellie was becoming more and more of a badass, ready to kick some infected butt. But while it was an important episode, it didn’t quite make the top of our favorites list.

“Kin” (Episode 6)

Kin” is a bit of a snooze fest, with Joel and Ellie spending too much time at home base upgrading items. But the return of Tommy adds a heartfelt touch, and Ellie’s reaction to the Diva Cup is hilarious. Unfortunately, the emotional moments with Joel feel a little forced, like he’s trying too hard to show his feelings. Overall, it’s a necessary breather, but we’re ready for the real action to begin.