The Last of Us episode 8 drew an impressive 8.1 million viewers, on Monday, across HBO and linear telecasts. The figures mark a 74 percent increase from the series debut in January — 4.7 million viewers — making episode 8, ‘When We Are in Need,' the most viewed chapter, as per WarnerMedia. The numbers were tallied based on Nielsen and first-party data and do not include details from Disney+ Hotstar, which is India's destination to watch The Last of Us. The record was previously held by episode 4, which garnered 7.5 million viewers. HBO did not reveal viewership data for The Last of Us episodes 5, 6, and 7.
As per HBO, The Last of Us was also the top title overall on HBO Max for the eighth consecutive week, with all episodes ranking among the week's top 10 individual assets. When looking at the first five episodes, the average audience count is nearing 30 million across HBO cable and HBO Max. By setting these records and winning over fans of the original PlayStation video game, creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin managed to secure a second season in January, which will focus on events from The Last of Us Part II — the polarising and exceedingly gory sequel, chasing after a 19-year-old Ellie. The Last of Us was an instant success for HBO, with the pilot scoring the network its second-most-watched debut. The first is the Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon with nearly 10 million viewers.
The Last of Us then built on that achievement, gaining 5.7 million viewers in episode 2, denoting a 22 percent jump over the pilot. It then reached another milestone with 6.4 million in episode 3 and 7.5 million in the fourth chapter. There was a minor shake-up after that, thanks to the Super Bowl LVII event, which caused HBO to air The Last of Us' episode 5 two days early. No viewership numbers were released since then — until the latest episode was dropped. The penultimate episode portrayed Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in a more serious tone, drawing preacher David (Scott Shepherd) and his cannibalistic survivor gang away from an injured Joel. The episode also marked a significant moment in The Last of Us, where Joel (Pedro Pascal) formed an emotional attachment to Ellie — akin to a father-daughter relationship.
As the final episode of The Last of Us nears, in the usual fashion, HBO has dropped a preview trailer for the same. In it, Joel and Ellie are seen approaching the Fireflies camp in Salt Lake City, hoping to use the latter's immunity to develop a cure for the fungal outbreak. The last time our duo arrived at a Fireflies base, it was vacated and ended up with Joel getting stabbed by a raider. From the looks of the finale trailer, it appears something sinister is brewing, as we're treated to visuals of a grenade being chucked at them. The Last of Us episode 9 could also be the first (and last) time we get to see Ashley Johnson, Ellie's voice actor in the original game, appearing as the on-screen mother Anna.
In a recent interview, actress Ramsey briefly spoke about The Last of Us finale, saying: “It's going to divide people massively — massively.” While not explicitly mentioned, this could mean that the show is going to diverge heavily from the video game, which may or may not displease avid gamers. For what it's worth, some of the changes were the best parts of the show, in my opinion.
The Last of Us finale airs Monday, March 13, at 8:30am IST/ March 12 at 9pm PT on Disney+ Hotstar and HBO Max respectively.
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