The Second Part of The Last of Us Alters the Game’s Plot Dramatically, Episode 2 of The Last of Us premiered on HBO Max on Sunday, and it showed Ellie, Tess, and Joel making their first steps on their dark trip across the United States. Those who like the original video game will find a lot to like in this adaptation.
The History of Cordyceps
Given that the player may only experience the game from Joel and Ellie’s points of view, the only hints to the cause of the pandemic come from notes and newspapers strewn about the area.
Episode 2’s opening flashback, on the other hand, shows how the Cordyceps fungus ended civilization in 2003. A woman in a flour and grain factory in Jakarta, Indonesia, was bitten by an unknown assailant and then proceeded to bite her coworkers before being shot dead.
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To stem the tide of the rising crisis, several of these people were put to death, but it was too late. Mycology expert Ibu Ratna (Christine Hakim), approached by security personnel when it was discovered the fungus had infested the dead woman’s body, provides some disturbing advice: Douse the city with bombs to stop it from expanding.
Ratna has accepted the inevitable and has asked to be transported home with her family for as long as possible. In an interview with CNET, series creator Craig Mazin admitted that this scene gives him the chills.
He exclaimed, “That’s terrible to me.” “It’s the bedrock upon which everything else rests, and the more we can establish a sense of realism on the margins, the more firmly established will be the core.”
Positive stuff, for sure. CNET’s Jackson Ryan researched the science behind the fungus pandemic on the show and concluded that we rely heavily on cereal grains, including rice, wheat, and maize. The consequences of a fungal pathogen infecting any of these would be severe.
According to Mazin, the team adjusted the game’s spore-based transmission of Cordyceps so that people wouldn’t need to wear gas masks in the TV show constantly. Also, the scientist’s first name isn’t “Ibu.” It’s a term of respect in Indonesia.
A dreary end
Smugglers Tess (Anna Torv) and Joel (Pedro Pascal) are tasked with bringing the mysterious youngster Ellie (Bella Ramsey), who is immune to the fungal brain sickness that has turned most of the population into vicious cannibals. They’re trying to recreate Ellie’s resistance and fix the planet.
The 2023 plot of this episode is faithful to the game, with Tess covering up the fact that she was bitten by an infected person while visiting the Boston Museum. Finally making it to the Capitol Building, they discover the dead bodies of the Fireflies they were supposed to deliver Ellie to.
Tess confesses her injury, realizes she is mortally wounded and demands that Joel, despite his misgivings, take Ellie to their mutual friends Bill and Frank for assistance in reaching the Fireflies.
“Help her get there. It is because of you that she is still alive. And you corrected the situation, “‘ She’s saying,’ we interrogate. “Everything we did wrong. Say yes, Joel.”
At some point in the game, the remaining dictatorial US military forces arrive at the building, and Tess stays behind to keep their enemies waiting. Even though she dies soon, her sacrifice allows Joel and Ellie to escape.
But in the program, a swarm of the infected attacks the Capitol building, and Tess stays behind to cover Joel and Ellie’s escape. She spills grenades and gas canisters everywhere.
She tells Joel, “Save anyone you can,” and he rescues a struggling Ellie.
Tess tries unsuccessfully to fire the lighter and detonate the bomb as the infected flood in. One more grotesquely deformed infected spots her, and a tendril extends from its mouth into hers. Never have I desired a light to burn more than at that moment.
She shuts her eyes after lighting the fire, saving her life and the lives of many sick, and we breathe a sigh of relief. Ellie and Joel are outdoors when the bomb goes off, and Joel, visibly shaken, turns and leaves.
Mazin explained to the Washington Post why the show chooses to utilize infected for this scene rather than soldiers by saying that the latter are reluctant to risk their lives to pursue fugitives who are sure to end up dead regardless. At the same time that Ellie was revealed to be the source of treatment for the deadly Cordyceps fungus, the horde seemed to be a further reminder of exactly how dire the situation was.