‘The Last Of Us’ Episode 1: All Easter Eggs And Hidden Details, Explained

“The Last of Us” is the story of a world devastated by a fungal outbreak converting people into vicious zombies, a world where many survival organizations are developing to fight the apocalypse. The video game with the best graphics to ever depict a bleak outlook on the world is, without a doubt, “The Last of Us.” With the premiere of the first episode on HBO Max on January 16th, the freshly released adaptation of “The Last of Us” got off to a good start. Although it’s too soon to say if the series has completely succeeded in re-telling this brilliant story, the first episode offers a powerful indicator of its promise. While remaining faithful to its source material and including a ton of easter eggs, HBO’s “The Last of Us” has begun an incredible adventure. So, let us highlight the subtle differences between the source material and the first episode of the series.

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The opening scene of the 2013 released video game “The Last of Us” took place in Sarah’s bedroom as she awoke to a nightmarish scenario. The series begins, however, with a 1968 talk show where a group of scientists have convened to discuss pandemics. Dr. Neuman contributes by saying that throughout the history of pandemics, since the dawn of human history, people have always prevailed in battles against fungus and bacteria. However, fungi are quite capable of living in human bodies and taking over their minds. The cordyceps he mentioned would be the actual fungus responsible for the pandemic taking place in 2003, according to the show. Neuman said that the fungi could keep the host alive while still consuming the nutrients from within the body and manipulating it like a puppet. Although the fungi were not specifically explained in the video game, the TV episode gave us a clear understanding of them.

The introduction uses cordyceps to represent the expansion of the fungi into the human brain. Its growth into building-like structures represents how they were taking control over us, and finally, two human figures appear, indicating the roles of Ellie and Joel, the protagonists of the show.

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The series’ timeline was altered, the game’s opening scene took place in 2013, the year the game was released, while the series opened in 2003. But just like in the game, the series opens on September 26th, on Joel’s birthday. The extras included an entire breakfast sequence between Sarah and her father, Joel; later, Tommy joined them, as well as an entire day in Sara’s life. While the infection in the game originated in South America, in the show, it appears to have originated in Jakarta, Indonesia, as we hear in a radio broadcast. Sarah went to a shop to fix her father’s damaged watch instead of purchasing a new one like in the game. But the shop’s owner’s daughter hurriedly drove her out. Sarah was a fan of Halican Drops, as she wore the Halican Drops t-shirt in both the game and the show. She went to her neighbor Adler’s house and borrowed a DVD of “Curtis and Viper 2,” a fictional movie that was mentioned in Part 2 of the video game.  After Joel went back home, Sarah gave her father the repaired watch along with a conversation that was exactly like the one in the video game. When Joel asked her where she got the money, she playfully replied that she sold hard-core drugs. Joel put Sarah to bed when she slept off on the couch. He got a call from Tommy informing him that he had been taken into custody. Sarah was left alone while Joel went to the prison to bail Tommy out, but in the game, Tommy came to the house to rescue them. Sarah awoke in the show to find a commotion outside the house, planes flying overhead, and the News TV channel glitched. Adler’s dog was barking outside the window. She took him to Adler’s, where she discovered that the elderly lady in their house, Adler’s mother, had been infected with fungi coming out of her mouth. She bolted as the lady rushed towards her to attack. Joel arrived to save Sarah and murdered the neighbor. In the game, Joel stormed into the house and shot the infected neighbor who had broken into their house. Tommy, Joel, and Sarah fled the scene in Joel’s truck, which had a sticker that said “The Combat Veteran,” implying that he had been a rifleman or a soldier. The escape scene was shown from Sarah’s point of view, as it was in the game, and they discovered a friend’s burning farm. In the game, Sarah’s leg was injured after the accident with their car, and Joel carried her. In the television episode, Joel carried Sarah after her ankle was injured by a piece of metal from a crashed plane. In the next scene, which happened exactly as it did in the game, an armed soldier fired at Joel and Sarah, wounding him, but Tommy saved him by shooting the guy before he could kill Joel. After being shot, Sarah bled out violently. Joel carried her and tried to save her life, but he lost his daughter. This scene is exactly like the one in the video game. Following the sad events, the setting moved forward to 20 years later in Boston, America, which had been devastated by a pandemic caused by the fungus. The creators exercised their artistic liberty by including a scene of a little boy heading towards the FEDRA military outpost. After testing positive for a Cordyceps infection, the military administered a fatal injection to him. Joel can also be spotted working for rations in the city. The military hanged the people who broke the quarantine law. The series portrayed a dystopian world filled with quarantine zones around Boston and how the military controls it. On the walls, a Firefly emblem was painted, although, in the game, the color is yellow rather than red. Joel seemed to be a smuggler, much like in the game, as we see him dealing oxys to a security guard. The guard was found to have tremors in his hand, which may be the result of infection; as we observed, warning signs of the infection had been displayed on the walls of the FEDRA camp. In the previous timeline, in 2003, a classmate of Sarah’s was also seen having muscle twitching, indicating that the sickness had already started to afflict people by then.

In the game, the Fireflies were a group of rebels that had a reputation for being the nemesis of FEDRA, but in the show, they were much more like terrorists than a group of rebels according to the nature of their battles against the soldiers. Tess and Robert got along well, unlike in the game. It’s also new to see Tess being detained by FEDRA in the entire scenario that follows.

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The Fireflies had held Ellie in captivity here, but Ellie kept her identity a secret from them and used the name, Veronica. Later, Marlene freed Ellie and they had a conversation that was also not in the game. The wall of the room where Marlene was imprisoned has the Firefly tagline “We’re lost in the darkness” written on it. Marlene came to Ellie, and she had a flick knife in her hand. This is the knife she used throughout the source material. Marlene admitted to Ellie that she had enrolled her in military school. She also made reference to Riley, Ellie’s best friend, and potential love interest. However, Riley died during a DLC for the game. Tommy, who had been gone for three weeks, was a member of the Fireflies. Though in the game, the brothers didn’t separate, Tommy was offended by Joel’s repulsive behavior. Tess and Joel’s relationship was similar in the game. But the difference was that they were looking for Robert to find a battery so that they could find Tommy, unlike in the game where Tess and Joel were on their mission to take revenge on Robert. However, in the game, Tess killed Robert, whereas, in the show, Tess and Joel found his body underground. Furthermore, they found a gruesome figure of a human badly affected by fungi that had grown into the wall. This was a clicker, and it looked exactly the same as it did in the game. They were introduced along with Marlene afterward. Because of unsavory business, the Fireflies and Robert’s men had got into a gunfight, where Robert lost his life. Marlene’s dress and the gunshot wound to her abdomen were both identical to those in the game. Marlene’s request that they smuggle Ellie beyond the quarantine zone and Ellie’s introduction to Joel were remarkably similar to those in the game.

The whole scenario where Joel and Ellie are waiting for nightfall, and her conversation with Joel about something he murmured in his sleep while she sat by the window played out exactly as it did in the video game. When Ellie stabbed one of the two officers who were on patrol, Joel and Tess were forced to kill them. Similar events occur in this scene, except that the guard with whom Joel swapped drugs is the one who got killed. Just like in the game, the ending scene of episode 1 made it clear that Ellie had a bite mark on her arm and had tested positive for the infection. Ellie tried to reassure Tess that she had been bitten more than three weeks prior and that no one had survived more than a day before, but Tess was panicked to find that out.

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The airborne nature of the infection wasn’t implied in the series because otherwise, the actors would have had to constantly wear masks, much like in the game. Sticking close to the source and making innovative modifications, “The Last of Us” delivered a fantastic experience of a dystopian future where the hope of survival is next to nothing. The plot’s progression would definitely make Joel, Tess, and Ellie’s struggle for survival more perilous. However, so far, here are the Easter eggs and secret information for the first episode. Let’s see what the second episode has in store for us.


See more: What Does HBO Series Do Differently Than The Video-Game In ‘The Last Of Us’ Episode 1?


Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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