The Last of Us has proven yet again that it is a force to be reckoned with.
Episode two, titled 'Infected', left gamer and non-gamer fans reeling with the pandemic's origin story.
Creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann offered up flashback scenes to hash out what went down in the The Last of Us' universe.
WARNING: CONTAINS THE LAST OF US EPISODE TWO SPOILERS
We get taken back to Jakarta in 2003, where the cordyceps fungus first reared its ugly head in a human.
An Indonesian mycologist takes a look at a dead woman who has an infected bite mark on her leg.
I got goosebumps watching the opening of The Last of Us, scientists explaining the possibility of a fungus-induced pandemic.— Yang Fan 范阳 (@Yang_Supertramp) January 18, 2023
Fungi can be superhero organisms to save the world in the bio era, but “fungal infection is growing” is real, and science still knows little about fungi. pic.twitter.com/ncTZiaCn3P
As a mycologist I’m loving the background lore on the cordyceps in The Last of Us. They’re really doing a great job in that the changes they’re making from the game are actually very cool and make sense— Antlurs (@Antlurss) January 23, 2023
After making an incision, you can see the terrifying tendrils moving through her body.
She then pulls out some tendrils from the patient's mouth before running out of the room in shock.
The expert looks horrified as she's told there are more than a dozen people who were infected at a Jakartan flour factory, all of whom were euthanised but the original source hadn't yet been contained.
Solemnly, she realises the fungus has probably already spread through the area and says there is no vaccine, no medicine, and no hope before urging officials to 'start bombing'.
Her advice: "Bomb this city… and everyone in it."
The Last Of Us is 2-for-2 so far. Really impressive how they're threading the needle between appeasing the game's fanbase by nailing the details of the world while also putting together an excellent show that the non-gamers can still enjoy— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) January 23, 2023
but nah for real ep 2 of the last of us fucking DELIVERED. origin story of the infection was perfectly executed, the clickers were fucking terrifying and tess went out like a boss bitch. i’m so hyped to see where the season goes coz they’ve nailed it already in 2 episodes 👌— I’M NOT O-FUCKING-KAY🕷 (@aliciaasarah) January 23, 2023
The flour thing was a common fan theory for the games, and now it seems Mazin and Druckmann have given us the answers we've always wanted.
When asked if the original contamination was found in flour, Mazin told Variety: "I think it’s pretty explicit."
Mazin went on to explain how they decided to approach the backstory while remaining true to the game.
"Initially, we were going to have much more of an international view of things, but I think where we went was to just talk about where it started, and ground people in the science of it as best we could," Mazin said.
Last Of Us HBO is finally exploring and expanding the origin of the cordyceps and patient zero. This the type of exposition and lore I wanted them to do in the game! #TheLastOfUs— Beta Tester Broken (@BrokenGamezHDR_) January 23, 2023
"But it was always important to never say, 'OK, here is patient zero, the exact origin'. A lot of it is based on hints."
Although no one ever explicitly says that contaminated flour was to blame, Mazin and Druckmann advised fans to 'run with that theory' when it comes to the initial outbreak.
"We liked the idea of that science, and we try as best we can to make sure that our research all connects," Mazin said.
"[The mycologist] asks where it happened, and the guy says a flour factory on the west side of the city. We are absolutely talking about — there is the world’s largest flour mill in Jakarta — so that’s a fine theory and I think people should keep running with it."
And run with it they have. Excited fans have taken to social media to sing the praises of episode two.
One user said: "The Last Of Us HBO is finally exploring and expanding the origin of the cordyceps and patient zero. This is the type of exposition and lore I wanted them to do in the game."
Another added: "Episode two he last of us f**king DELIVERED. The origin story of the infection was perfectly executed."
A third added: "As a mycologist I’m loving the background lore on the cordyceps in The Last of Us. They’re really doing a great job in that the changes they’re making from the game are actually very cool and make sense."
So, there you have it. Expect more show-and-tell backstory details as the season unfolds.
Featured Image Credit: HBO
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