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How Did the Cordyceps Outbreak Spread in The Last of Us?

The Last of Us doctor
Credit: HBO Max

The Last of Us is a popular video game that was adapted into a live-action series and recently premiered on HBO Max. Since the show releases each episode per week, viewers have only watched the first two episodes.

While the original source material is included in the show, the creators have added and expanded some things in its live-action adaptation.

One of the things they expanded on is how the Cordyceps Brain Infection (CBI) outbreak started in the first place. And this is explained in the second episode.

So How Did the Cordyceps Outbreak Start?

Infection in The Last of Us
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Credit: HBO Max

In the first episode, the characters largely avoided eating one particular ingredient, which is flour. There wasn't enough reasoning as to why the characters avoided eating flour, but many felt like it had an importance to the show.

And true enough, Episode 2 supported this theory. The show brings viewers to Jakarta just before the outbreak starts. The episode reveals a worker that bit another person at a factory, which turned out to be producing flour and grain. It's important to note that Jakarta is recognized as the largest flour mill in the world, which just goes to show that the creators of the show did their research.

Other Clues in The Last of Us Episode 1

Pedro Pascal as Joel, Nico Parker as Sarah in The Last of Us breakfast scene
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Credit: HBO Max

In the first episode, there were three instances that hinted the idea of flour was the culprit for CBI. These were:

  • Sarah (played by Nico Parker) was unable to make pancakes for Joel's (played by Pedro Pascal) birthday breakfast since she didn't have pancake mix left
  • Joel declined the biscuits offered by his neighbors
  • Sarah refused to eat raisin cookies offered to her by the neighbors

There was also a follow-up podcast where director Craig Mazin talked about "breadcrumbs" in relation to how the outbreak started.

So there we have it. It may not be a confirmation yet, but it's a strong theory to how the CBI outbreak spread in The Last of Us.

RELATED: The Last of Us: Is Cordyceps Brain Infection Real

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