In football terms, HBO has avoided a sack.
To cushion the blow The Last of Us will inevitably sustain opposite next Sunday’s Super Bowl, the pay cabler has announced that it will release Episode 5 of the post-apocalyptic drama two days early — on Friday, Feb. 10 at 9 pm/ET — on HBO Max and HBO On Demand. The episode will still make its “linear” debut on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 9 pm/ET, opposite Super Bowl LVII.
It makes sense that HBO would want to protect The Last of Us, which has been gaining momentum with each passing week. Last Sunday’s acclaimed third outing — guest-starring Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman and The White Lotus‘ Murray Bartlett — drew 6.4 million viewers, up 12 percent from Episode 2 (which delivered a record-setting jump in viewership), and up 37 percent from premiere night.
Ratings for Episode 4 (read recap here) will be released on Monday.
Riddle us this, Last of Us fans: Will you take advantage of Episode 5’s early drop and watch it before Sunday? Or do you fancy yourself a traditionalist, and will this wait until its regularly scheduled linear premiere? Let us know in the comments!