Fans of HBO's The Last of Us who are also into football were facing a bit of a quandary this weekend: catch the latest episode live and avoid the risk of spoilers, or tune into the Super Bowl? Thankfully, HBO Max is making that decision much easier. The fifth episode of the excellent adaptation of Naughty Dog's game will hit the streaming service and HBO On Demand two days early.
You'll be able to stream the episode starting at 9PM ET this Friday. It will still air in its usual 9PM ET timeslot on HBO's cable channel on Sunday, but many fans may opt to watch the titanic tussle between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles instead.
This is a smart, one-off move from HBO as The Last of Us is already a massive hit, with viewership figures that have grown from week to week. It has already been renewed for a second season. The linear airing of the next episode is likely to get hammered in the ratings by the Super Bowl, but this could help HBO maintain the show's momentum and distance the TLOU discourse from football this weekend.
This isn't the only time that The Last of Us is facing stern competition throughout its first season. Last night, it went up against the Grammy Awards and the season finale will air the same night as the Oscars. The Banshees of Inisherin is great ]and all (I still have to catch up on most of the Best Picture nominees), but I know what I'll be watching on March 12th.
In case you haven't checked out HBO's take on The Last of Us yet, you can watch the first, feature-length episode for free on HBO Max if you're in the US. Folks in the UK can catch the spectacular premiere on YouTube.