The sequence harkens back to the scene in the very first episode where Joel (Pedro Pascal), Sarah (Nico Parker), and Tommy (Gabriel Luna) hear about unrest in Jakarta over the radio. Now, we know the true source of the unrest: The Cordyceps outbreak started in Jakarta because of
Not only does the Indonesia opening establish a concrete point of origin for the outbreak that isn’t in the game — it also marks the first time The Last of Us franchise explores how Cordyceps affects a country outside the United States. On
However, the show took a different direction. Co-creator Craig Mazin elaborates on this in the podcast. “We knew we wanted to give a little bit more of an origin story [to the Cordyceps outbreak]. We wanted to see what it would really be like at the very, very beginning,” he says. “We wanted to show also that it was global, that this wasn’t just happening in America. This was the world.”
Originally, Mazin and Druckmann planned for a montage showing how Cordyceps was ravaging several different places across the world. However, the budget wouldn’t allow for it, so they went for something much more contained: a sequence between an Indonesian mycologist (Christine Hakim) and military officer (Yayu A.W. Unru) who realize the scope of the threat before them.
These scenes may not boast the
In a tense one-take shot that gradually zooms in on the mycologist, she reveals that the only solution to this crisis is to bomb any impacted areas. As Mazin says in the podcast, “there’s nothing you can do at that point that is going to make this better other than the unthinkable.”
It’s a heartbreaking moment, especially when the mycologist requests that she be brought back home to be with her family as the world comes to an end. Like the talk show in episode one, where John Hannah’s mycologist drives home the lack of pharmaceutical solutions for fungal infections of this kind, the Indonesia sequence also reminds us of the incredible threat Cordyceps presents — only now, instead of a hypothetical, it’s a reality. And the only defense against it is destruction.
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