episode 2 arrived on HBO Max on , and saw Ellie, Tess, and Joel taking the first steps of their dark journey across the United States. fans of the you’ll no doubt be pleased at how closely it mirrors the source material.
However, there were some major deviations from the game, so let’s dig into those.
Since the game narrows its focus to Joel and Ellie’s perspectives, references to the origins of the pandemic are limited to old notes and newspapers 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 who worked at a flour and grain factory in Jakarta, Indonesia, chewed her teeth. co-workers before being shot dead. .
Several of these people were executed to prevent the problem from growing, but it was too late. After being consulted by the 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 spreading further.
Seemingly accepting that this was the end, Ratna asks to be taken home so she can spend what time she has left with her family. Series writer Craig Mazin told CNET this isfor him.
“That’s scary to me,” he said. “It grounds everything, and the more we can make the peripheral feel real, 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 pointed out that we rely heavily on rice, wheat and corn as food sources. If any of these 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 it for the show to prevent characters from wearing gas masks all the time.
a dark fate
Mysterious teen Ellie () is immune to the fungal brain infection that has reduced much of the population to feral cannibals, so smuggling partners Tess and Joel (Anna Torv and ) have been 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 very close to the game, until Tess hides the fact that she had been bitten by one of the infected at the Boston Museum. They arrive at the Capitol building and find the corpses of the fireflies they were supposed to take Ellie to.
Tess reveals her injury, accepting that she is doomed, and demands that a reluctant Joel take Ellie to his friends Bill and Frank, so they can help get Ellie to the Fireflies.
“You take her there. You keep her alive. And you fix everything,” she says. “All the shit we did. Please say yes, Joel, please.”
In the game, soldiers from the overbearing remnants of the US military arrive at the building and Tess stays behind to delay their adversaries. They quickly shoot her dead, but her sacrifice gives Joel and Ellie a chance to escape her.
The show, however, sees a horde of the 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 take Ellie to safety.
As the infected rush in, Tess struggles to light the lighter and blow them all up. A particularly horribly mutated infected note and tendrils stretch from her mouth to hers; she had never wanted a flame to flare up more.
To our relief, she manages to get the fire going and closes her eyes before the explosion kills her and a bunch of other infected. Ellie and Joel witness the explosion from outside, and a silently devastated Joel walks away.
We don’t know why the show’s creators chose to use infected for this moment instead of soldiers, but it seems likely that they wanted to reinforce the danger of the Cordyceps fungus just as it was revealed that Ellie could be the source of a cure.
The grim story continues on HBO Max.
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