HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ Episode 2 Brings Major Changes to the Game’s Story
Episode 2 landed on HBO Max on , and she saw Ellie, Tess and Joel take the first steps on their dark journey across the United States. fans of the will no doubt be pleased to see how well it reflects the source material.
There were some major deviations from the game though, so let’s dive into that.
Origin of Cordyceps
Since the game limits its attention to the perspectives of Joel and Ellie, references to the origins of the pandemic are limited to notes and old journals scattered around the environment.
In contrast, the opening flashback of Episode 2 reveals how the Cordyceps fungus ruined the world in 2003. After being bitten by an unknown person, a woman working at a flour and grain factory in Jakarta, Indonesia, gnawed at her colleagues before being shot. .
Several of these people were executed to prevent the problem from getting worse, but it was too late. After being consulted by security forces and discovering that the dead woman’s body had been colonized by the fungus, mycology expert Ibu Ratna (Christine Hakim) offers terrifying advice: Bomb the city to prevent it from spread further.
Seemingly accepting that this was the end, Ratna asks to be driven home so she can spend her remaining time with her family. Series writer Craig Mazin told CNET it wasfor him.
“It’s terrifying to me,” he said. “It grounds everything, and the more real we can make the peripheral feel, the more real the center will feel.”
So yeah, happy stuff. In his deep dive into the science behind the show’s fungal pandemic, CNET’s Jackson Ryan noted that we rely heavily on rice, wheat and corn as food sources. If any of them were infected with a fungal pathogen, it could be devastating.
In the game, Cordyceps is spread via spores – Mazin told ComicBook.com that they changed this for the show to avoid characters wearing gas masks all the time.
A dark fate
The mysterious teenager Ellie () is immune to the fungal brain infection that has reduced much of the population to savage cannibals, so smuggling partners Tess and Joel (Anna Torv and ) were tasked with delivering her to the rebel group known as the Fireflies. They hope to replicate Ellie’s resistance and restore the world.
The story of the 2023 episode sticks closely to the game, until Tess hides the fact that she had been bitten by one of the Bostonian Museum’s infected. They reach the Capitol Building and find the corpses of the Fireflies they were supposed to bring Ellie to.
Tess reveals her injury, accepts that she is doomed, and demands that a reluctant Joel bring Ellie to their pals Bill and Frank, so they can help bring Ellie to the Fireflies.
“You get her there. You keep her alive. And you put everything in order,” she said. “All the shit we’ve done. Please say yes, Joel, please.”
In the game, soldiers from the authoritarian remnants of the US Army arrive at the building and Tess stays behind to delay their opponents. She is quickly shot, but her sacrifice gives Joel and Ellie the chance to escape.
The show, however, sees a horde of infected descend on the Capitol building, and Tess stays behind to cover Joel and Ellie’s escape. She throws gas and grenades all over the floor.
“Joel, save whoever you can save,” she says, prompting him to get a struggling Ellie to safety.
As the infected rush in, Tess struggles to light the lighter and blow them all up. A particularly horribly mutated infected remarks and tendrils extend from his mouth into hers – I never wanted a flame to ignite more.
To our relief, she manages to light the fire and closes her eyes before the explosion kills her and a group of infected. Ellie and Joel witness the explosion from outside, and a quietly devastated Joel walks away.
We don’t know why the show’s creators chose to use infected at this time instead of soldiers, but it seems likely they wanted to heighten the danger of the Cordyceps fungus just as it was revealed that Ellie could be the source of a remedy.
The dark story continues on HBO Max.
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