The Last of Us Episode 8 drew an impressive 8.1 million viewers on Monday across HBO and linear telecasts. According to WarnerMedia, the figures are a 74 percent increase from the series’ debut in January — 4.7 million viewers — making Episode 8, “When We’re in Need,” the most-watched chapter ever. The numbers were tallied based on Nielsen and first-party data and do not include details of Disney+ Hotstar, which is India’s destination to watch The Last of Us. The record was previously held by Episode 4, which attracted 7.5 million viewers. HBO did not reveal viewership numbers for The Last of Us episodes 5, 6 and 7.
According to 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 top 10 individual properties for the week. Looking at the first five episodes, HBO cable and HBO Max averaged close to 30 million viewers. By setting these records and winning over fans of the original PlayStation video game, producers Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin managed to secure a second season in January, which will focus on the events of The Last of Us Part II – polarizing and the highly gory sequel, following 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 which has approximately 10 million viewers.
The Last of Us built on that accomplishment, with episode 2 garnering 5.7 million viewers, a 22 percent jump over the pilot. It was followed by another milestone with 6.4 million in episode 3 and 7.5 million in the fourth chapter. The Super Bowl LVII schedule then caused a minor stir, causing HBO to air The Last of Us episode 5 two days earlier. No viewership numbers have been released since then – until the latest episode aired. The penultimate episode featured Ellie (Bella Ramsey) taking a more serious tone, driving preacher David (Scott Shepherd) and his gang of cannibal survivors away from a wounded Joel. The episode also marked a key 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 draws closer, HBO has released a preview trailer for the same. In it, Joel and Ellie are seen visiting a fireflies camp in Salt Lake City, in the hopes that they will use the latter’s immunity to develop a cure for the fungal outbreak. The last time our pair arrived at the Fireflies base, it had been evacuated and at the end Joel was stabbed to death by a raider. From the looks of the finale trailer, it appears that something sinister is going on, as we’re treated to scenes of dodge grenades being hurled at them. The Last of Us Episode 9 may also be the first (and last) time we get to see Ashley Johnson, Ellie’s voice actor from the original game, appearing as her on-screen mother Anna.
In a recent interview, actress Ramsey spoke briefly about The Last of Us finale, saying: “It’s going to divide people in a big way — in a big way.” While not explicitly mentioned, this could mean that the show is going to be very different from the video games, which may or may not offend 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 will air on Disney+ Hotstar and HBO Max on Monday, March 13 at 8:30 PM IST/ March 12 at 9 PM PT respectively.
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