Last of us? Or the last of flashbacks!?
Flashback episode! You know; because the show was over when we found Tommy last episode so we needed something to make more episodes out of.
One of my main issues with the show is the representation of the world "20 years later" and this episode did nothing to quiet the screaming in my head. These folks are awfully lucky that everything just keeps on working 20 years later. Just throw the switch and every light, arcade cabinet, and whatever buzzes to life. There is no chance over the 20 something years since the world collapsed that any of the items in a mall would have been scavenged.
One major issue I have with the show is its lack of ability to build tension. Although I will admit that the mall was a pretty cool setting, we knew something related to the infected would happen since the show is too formulaic to let the infected not ruin the moment. However, the show fails to put the pieces together in any sort of dramatic way.
Similar to Episode 5, the big showdown at the end of the episode gets minimal setup, and when a single infected interrupts, it feels like nothing more than a reason to ruin the moment. In the game, as I gathered from the podcast for this episode, there are multiple fighting sequences in the mall. These fighting scenes give weight between "scenes" and help build tension.In the show we get a quick cut of an infected coming to life (which is baffling; in prior episode these static mushroomed infected are NOT a concern at all) and a couple doom-y camera pans, but otherwise there is not much more going on here than a trip to the mall until a rustling is heard.
In the show the more the infected show up the more it makes me as a viewer laugh at "what the heck is this infection? People are really scared of this?". Again, these mushroom sprouted dead bodies were of no concern just a couple episodes ago but now are coming back to life. How hard was it to just have an infected stuck in a closet that they opened? Give us a jump scare after making us feel safe all episode. We didn't need a poorly "whats that noise" character moment when we knew what the noise was.
What about Joel? Sorry, almost forgot we left the last episode on a cliff hanger in the present timeline. Glad the episode sorted that out and that he will be OK after a gnarly stitch job by Ellie. I am sure Joel will be back to normal next week. This game, err show, really does love the cliche "video game solutions" whether a flashback scene or a magical cure all solution scavenged nearby.