While The Last of Us’ haunting emotional beats and turbulent moral themes can sometimes be fodder for a more hopeful, reparative perspective, that’s not always the case. The Last of Us is heavy as hell, but fortunately, if the HBO series finale has left you in a dour mood, the outtakes and bloopers are starting to roll in, giving us all the opportunity to laugh a bit—you know, before the dread consumes us once more.
If you haven’t seen the finale of The Last of Us, fair warning: Some of these involve spoilers. But we’ll leave major story beats for Part II out of it, in case you’re waiting for season two.
Human suffering and violence is at the core of The Last of Us. With the exception of limited moments in the show and the games, characters rarely smile, almost never laugh, and are constantly in a state of perpetual post-traumatic stress, pain, and/or rage. So getting the opportunity to peek at a few amusing behind-the-scenes moments is a pretty unexpected sight when we’re used to watching these actors portray characters in brutal scenarios. And honestly, I bet they need mental breaks when shooting this shit anyway.
Originally posted by Pedro Pascal himself on his Instagram page, perhaps the most cathartic blooper from the show’s final episode has Pascal failing to keep it together as he portrays Joel lying to Ellie about what went down in Salt Lake City, bursting into laughter and giving us all a break from that rough, rough moment of nebulous morality.
The Instagram post also contains a few lovely out-of-character shots of Pascal and Bella Ramsey during this rough scene. How can you not love this?
Other out-of-character moments making their rounds on the internet include what is certainly not a deleted scene (though that would be funny) and and image that should now replace our use of the Grant Gustin meme. Shared by series’ co-creator Neil Druckmann, who described it as the “funniest text of all time,” actor Laura Bailey, who voiced characters in both the first and second games, strikes a humorous pose over that poor dead doctor who was moments away from vivisecting Ellie.
Laura Bailey’s presence in the final episode has also sparked some speculation over whether or not she was secretly playing the character she voices in the game’s sequel. According to Neil Druckmann on a recent episode of Kinda Funny, where he also addressed fans’ desires for a third game, Bailey’s presence wasn’t a character reveal, but rather was about “honoring what she did in the first game.”
As Druckmann discussed on the episode, Bailey originally voiced one of the nurses in the first 2013 release of the game (that role was recast in the subsequent remasters and recent remake as she would go on to voice a more substantial character in the sequel). Given that original Joel and Ellie voice actors, Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, made memorable appearances in the show, Druckmann also added that, for the second season, the show will “honor the great work she did in the second game, I think, in a different way.” So be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Bailey in a future season of the show.
A few other interesting and humorous out of context images have also been making the rounds. One includes a couple of shots with Marlene’s game and show actor, Merle Dandridge and an in-costume bloater (Kotaku recently interviewed Dandridge on her portrayal of Marlene). Given that the bloater appears briefly during a pretty hectic and dark action sequence in episode five, this is a nice clear and bright shot of some intense costume work.
Another amusing image is a seemingly innocuous shot of Ellie during the filming of the show’s snow-covered segments. One fan simply wanted to know if anyone knew the brand of the sweater Ellie was wearing?
The Last of Us makes for tough viewing and playing. If you’ve had a rough emotional time weighing the story’s intense twists and turns, hopefully these moments of smiles and laughters will brighten the mood a bit.