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‘The Last of Us’ Has Given Us a Lot—But These Memes Are Its Best Product

Comedy gold even in the apocalypse.

Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller seconds after becoming a viral meme in episode 6 of The Last of Us

The Last of Us is headed towards what is sure to be an explosive season finale after eight episodes that have felt, emotionally, like a freight train running over us at full speed. I just hope someone is already etching Pedro Pascal’s and Bella Ramsey’s names over next year’s Emmys—or at least get ready to shower them both in nominations left and right. 

Together with heaps of emotional distress and brilliant acting, though, The Last of Us has given us another priceless gift: memes. The real Internet currency of the modern world. So ahead of next’s week season finale, which is sure to shatter our spirits beyond recognition, let’s count down ten of the best memes that have risen in these past eight weeks of following the journey of Joel and Ellie.

“How I would dress in The Last of Us”

Since my TikTok algorithm obviously clocks me extremely well every single day of my life, I’ve been seeing this trend pop up all over my For You page and I find it hilarious every single time. 

Outfit videos are nothing new on TikTok, but this one is declined in a particularly humorous way—because none of the outfits people model in their videos are actually appropriate to survive a zombie apocalypse. They are, however, exactly what one would wear if one wanted to catch the attention of a certain fifty-six-year-old who looks surprisingly like Pedro Pascal.


Replying to @hbomax obviously had to do a part 2 bc hbo max saw my vid????? insane #thelastofus #hbo


The reactions to Ellie screaming

Bella Ramsey has been absolutely killing it as Ellie from episode one all the way through to the last episode we’ve seen—which features what is hands down one of their best performances on the show yet. Ramsey does plenty of screaming, which is understandable since Ellie isn’t exactly leading what we would call a calm and tranquil life, and the reactions all over Twitter say exactly just how much it’s hitting home.

The Michael Jackson-ified opening

I think we can all agree that The Last of Us opening falls firmly in the “iconic brilliant amazing never to be skipped” category. Still, I have to admit that its modified version—which TikTok user @jonahpedro created by mixing in some of Michael Jackson’s most iconic vocalisations—also goes pretty hard. And the videos that can be found under this sound, with people reacting to each new devastating episode—are both hilarious and deeply, deeply relatable.

What people in the TLOU universe have missed

We all know by now that The Last of Us changed its timeline from the game’s original one—which had Outbreak Day happen in 2013 and the actual plot take place in 2033—to one that’s set ten years in the past—where the Cordyceps infection swept over the world in 2003 and Joel and Ellie travel to the Fireflies in 2023. 

That means that the people in The Last of Us universe live in a world that pretty much stopped in 2003—and the Internet was quick to point out all the pieces of entertainment that they have missed.

Pedro Pascal being a certified Dad™

Pedro Pascal’s on-screen Dadness™ is a thing of beauty—especially if it involves escorting a special or magical child through dangerous territory while begrudgingly adopting them in the process. It has happened in enough top-billed shows to become its own thing and its own meme, and any and all reference to it has me in absolute pieces.

A new relationship with mushrooms

The zombies in The Last of Us aren’t the usual kind of zombies that you see in most pieces of media of this genre. Their “zombie-ness” comes from being infected with the Cordyceps fungus, which takes over their brain and transforms them into living extensions of this terrible parasite. 

It’s safe to say that this particular lore—coupled with the brilliant but terrifying monster design—has changed some people’s reactions to eating mushrooms. 

The many mysteries of 10 miles West of Boston

At the beginning of the season, Joel and Ellie started their journey together—distrustful of each other, with Joel stubbornly referring to her as “cargo” while we all knew where this relationship was headed—by leaving the Boston QZ and going West. In episode 3, a sentence appears on the screen telling us that Joel and Ellie are currently “10 miles West of Boston”.

That screenshot went viral across social media almost immediately because everyone and their mother reconsigned that those were most definitely not ten miles West of Boston. More like 1000 at the very least.

Faithful adaptations

Among the many praises that The Last of Us has been receiving, many have touched upon how the show has remained faithful to its source material—yes, even with the queer storylines. No, it’s not the “wOkE aGeNdA,” they have always been there. 

Fans left and right are highlighting how this is the way adaptations should be made, and of course, they’re doing so in the universal language of memes.

[Pedro Pascal in his LA accent]: “I can’t believe he died!”

During his February appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Pedro Pascal briefly touched on the over-exaggerated Los Angeles accent he put on in one of his Saturday Night Live’s sketches. Pascal and Meyers exchanged a couple of lines to each other using the accent, including possible reactions to shocking events in The Last of Us—which have quickly caught on around the Internet, of course.

Joel leaning on things in episode 6

Maybe the supreme The Last of Us meme so far, the two times in episode 6 where Joel has to lean on lampposts and other furniture for support to overcome the terrible fear he experiences every minute of every day have become viral all over the Internet. 

Sure, Joel himself is dealing with a post-apocalyptic world in which he has to keep the girl he considers his daughter safe—but the feeling is extremely relatable to people doing all sorts of things, from sending emails to accidentally hurting your pet to actually sitting down and watching The Last of Us.

(featured image: HBO)

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Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading. She loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. A Targaryen stan first and a human second. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.