Watched by 4.7 million viewers on Sunday, January 15, The Last of Us episode 1 wound up being HBO's second biggest premiere in over a decade, following last year's House of the Dragon. Fans took to social media to gush about the opener, and seemingly encouraged more people to tune in the week after, too, as episode 2 was watched by 5.7 million viewers.
With that 22% increase, which was recorded by Nielsen (via Variety), the show's sophomore installment marked the "largest week 2 audience growth for an HBO Original drama series in the history of the network." Warner Bros. Discovery also reports that since it aired, episode 2 has been watched more than 10 million times, while episode 1 is tracking 18 million.
"Sunday night viewership for an HBO series typically represents 20%-40% of the show's total gross audience per episode," HBO previously explained, so we can expect the aforementioned numbers to rise even more as the season continues into February and March.
Based on the hugely popular PlayStation game of the same name, The Last of Us centers on Joel (Pascal), a smuggler, who is tasked with escorting Ellie (Ramsey), a young girl with a potentially society-saving secret, out of their quarantine zone and across the United States. A mission that's not so easy, considering the world has been ravaged by a violent fungal infection that has destroyed civilization and turned some of its hosts into vicious, mushroom-headed monsters.
It continues on Sunday, January 29 on HBO and HBO Max in the US, and Sky Atlantic and NOW TV the following day in the UK. Ensure you never miss an episode by checking out our The Last of Us release schedule and our breakdown of how many episodes are in The Last of Us.