Warning! Spoilers ahead for The Last of Us episode 2.
The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey has shared a new behind-the-scenes photo from episode 2, highlighting the show’s practical set design to create the apocalypse. Based on the Naughty Game Playstation video game series, HBO’s The Last of Us premiered last week to strong reviews from critics and a big viewer turnout. The series follows Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Ramsey), as they navigate a post-apocalyptic version of the U.S., twenty years after a deadly fungus decimated the population and turned countless thousands into flesh-eating infected creatures. The Last of Us most recently aired episode 2, which sees Joel, Ellie, and Tess (Anna Torv) avoid mobs of infected as they traverse the city of Boston.
While The Last of Us episode 2 features some intense fight scenes and a brutal character death, a new photo Ramsey shared on Twitter proves that things were much more relaxed behind the scenes.
The photo features Ramsey with Pascal and Torv standing in front of some overturned and overgrown abandoned vehicles. While the foreground features some impressive practical set design, the Calgary, Alberta, city skyline in the background proves that the production also heavily relied upon visual effects to bring the show’s post-apocalyptic vision of Boston to life.
The Last of Us video games are widely lauded for their depiction of post-apocalyptic America and layered characters, and the show has so far been no different. After an astonishing sequence showcasing the breakout of the Cordyceps infection and the ensuing chaos, The Last of Us jumps forward by twenty years, building out a downtrodden world in which Joel lives in one of the last remaining quarantine zones under authoritarian rule. Instead of quickly showing off as much of the world as possible, the show keeps everything rooted in character, following Pascal’s reluctant hero, now a hardened survivor after the death of his daughter, as he puts together an escape plan.
While episode 2 further broadens the world of the series and shows just how deteriorated society has become since the Cordyceps outbreak, much of the action remains surprisingly intimate. The Last of Us episode 2 features some stunning set pieces and visual effects-heavy moments, but it remains focused on the dynamic between Joel, Ellie, and Tess. Much of the show’s impressive world-building is actually done through Ellie, a 14-year-old. As a teenager who’s never known life outside the apocalypse, Ellie’s amazement at seeing the inside of what used to be a fancy hotel hammers home what life is really like for her in the new world and also helps to break down Joel’s uncompassionate exterior.
As demonstrated by Ramsey’s latest behind-the-scenes photo, The Last of Us also excels in blending practical effects and visual effects. Practical set design, like the overturned, vine-covered cars, helps to make the show’s post-apocalyptic America feel real and tactile, an essential element when it comes to getting audiences invested in the world. Already proving very impressive only two episodes in, The Last of Us is sure to further build out its post-apocalyptic world in the episodes to come as Joel and Ellie continue on their perilous journey.
More: Where Joel & Ellie Are Going At The End Of The Last Of Us Episode 2
Source: Bella Ramsey