What in the End of the World Is Happening in ‘The Last of Us’?-Infected

Fans of the award-winning video game franchise, The Last of Us, have been anticipating the arrival of the HBO Max streaming series since word of the project first circulated in late 2020. Led by Pedro PascalAnna Torv (oops), and Bella Ramsey, the adaptation kicked off with an 80-minute first episode that covered a lot of ground (55 years to be exact), most of which was incredibly familiar to fans of the game and has fans of the game pretty fired up for more. But what about your average outsider? As a certified outsider, I have a lot of questions about just what the hell is happening at the end of the world in The Last of Us.

More Damn Science

The Last of Us is two-for-two on cold opening full of science stuff and both have done a fantastic job of foreshadowing the horrors faced by the characters that inhabit the world. The terror on the mycology professor’s face when she learned the impossible had happened and cordyceps fungi had learned to live in humans was nothing compared to the emotions of her realization that the world as she knew it was over. Amazing cold open!


Ellie, the Mycelium Messiah,is a mycological miracle! Once bitten, twice shy I suppose. The distrust on Joel’s part, the unwillingness to let himself believe in hope, is pretty fantastic! And I don’t know that I blame him because until we understand why Cordyceps Christ doesn’t turn into a monster, it’s easy to keep imagining she will! How does this work? The science lady said no medicine and no vaccine!

Two things stood out to me during the time in Boston and both were very cool. First of all, even as someone who has never played the games nor seen them played, I could feel the video gaminess of the hotel and museum scenes but they were also very well done. Moving through the gross water, the dead body jump scare and crossing the wooden plank to find a new path all seemed like things ripped right from gameplay. Also, I have no idea, but I’m guessing the museum is a pretty major stop in the early part of the game. And I had no idea they were going to kill Andrea like that! Wow! This is starting to feel very, very Game of Thrones-y in that I don’t know if I want to get attached to anyone other than Joel and Ellie.

In addition to the great job the creatives did in bringing video game stuff to the screen, the description of the fungus as one large organism followed by the demonstration of the way it works was incredible! Is that from the game? Or is that something they made up or expanded on for the series? What an element of danger it brings to everything you do. If they’re all crispy, no big deal…but if you touch even the smallest bit of one that’s still kicking, those crazy Croakers and the fungal fiends come for you. Absolutely terrifying!

Two episodes in and I’m loving it. This feels like a story worth watching despite knowing everyone is going to die…and they probably should if they leave the safe places! Morons.

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