The Last of Us episode 2 sees largest-ever viewership increase from a premiere for an HBO original

The Last of Us behind the scenes (Image via Twitter/@BellaRamsey)
The Last of Us behind the scenes (Image via Twitter/@BellaRamsey)

HBO's 2023 blockbuster series The Last of Us has yet again entered the record books with episode two. The new episode saw the largest-ever viewership increase for an HBO original premiere.

The Last of Us is getting positive reviews from critics and fans worldwide for its compelling story, high-budget sets, brilliant acting, and accuracy with the Naughty Dog 2013 game. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey's on-screen chemistry has been on point till now, and Anna Torv's portrayal of Tess is incredible.

The hype around the show has been tremendous from the beginning, and HBO has been making extra effort in its marketing and promotion.

Episode 2 of The Last of Us was watched by 5.7 million viewers in the USA

The show's second episode was released on January 22 and was titled Infected. It was directed by Neil Druckmann and written by Craig Mazin, and viewers experienced the creepiness of the infamous clickers up front. The episode was appreciated by fans of the video game for getting the makeup and prosthetics of the clickers right.

The episode was watched by 5.7 million viewers, a 22% bump from the series' debut on January 15, 2023. Never in the network's history has a show made so much growth in numbers within the second week of its debut. Based on Nielsen and first-party data, the new episode’s 5.7 million viewers across HBO and linear telecasts in the U.S. is an additional one million viewers vs. last week.

After an entire week of availability, episode 1, titled When You're Lost in the Darkness, is now clocking in at 18 million viewers. This statistic is four times more than its premiere night audience. It is being speculated that these numbers are just going to rise week after week.

What is The Last of Us about?

The HBO drama is set in a fictional-apocalyptic version of 2023 when the planet is destroyed by a deadly global pandemic. Between all the ruckus, Joel, a goon living in the Boston quarantine zone, meets a 14-year-old Ellie.

The child is immune to infection and is the only hope to revive humankind from the claws of a mass fungal infection called 'Cordyceps,' which makes humans animal-like. Meanwhile, Joel has to constantly fight battles within himself due to a traumatic past and the death of his only daughter, Sarah.

The official synopsis of The Last of Us reads,

"Based on the critically acclaimed video game The Last of Us, developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation platforms, the story takes place twenty years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival."

It was created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, with Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, and Rose Lam serving as its executive producers. Gustavo Santaolalla, who even provided music for the video game, is helming it in the show too.

Episode 3 of The Last of Us, titled Long Long Time, will be released on January 29, 2023.

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