In the first episode of The Last of Us, it's clear that Joel and Tess are trying to stay clear of the rebel group known as the Fireflies and the Federal Disaster Response Agency (FEDRA). Of the two, we see that FEDRA is the one they need to avoid considering that the organization doesn't have any qualms about executing anyone who tries to leave the Quarantine Zone.
Although they seem ubiquitous, FEDRA is nowhere to be found in The Last of Us Episode 2 and we see that the show has changed the circumstances of Tess' death. Still, co-showrunner Craig Mazin explains that this only proves they are not the main threat in the series.
In The Last of Us Episode 2, the infected Tess sacrifices herself to let Joel and Ellie escape as the Clickers attack the State House. It's a major change from the game where Tess faced off against FEDRA and goes out in the blaze of gunfire. Interestingly, Craig Mazin explained during the latest The Last of Us podcast that he and co-showrunner Neil Druckmann wanted to illustrate how FEDRA isn't the one we should be worried about in the series.
"Why would FEDRA even be here? What are they doing?" Mazin asked. "There's nothing there for them to police, really. The whole point of a QZ is that there's a big wall, 'The bad guys are out here, we're in here'. I get why they police the buffer zone so that people can't freely travel back and forth and bring the infection into the QZ. It just didn't make much sense to me to have FEDRA all the way out there."
"We had set up that they were meeting the Fireflies at the State House to tie back into the Tommy thing. 'They'll give you a truck, they'll give you a battery. You'll get everything you need. The Fireflies are waiting for you,'" he continued.
"Also, we wanted a chance to show a different result of being infected, which was not one of mere violence or horror, but rather a sick kind of community. We'd set it up [in Episode 2] already that they're connected. Ellie says, 'They're connected' and Tess says, 'More than you know'. Now, at the end, we had the opportunity to show how connected they were. They can sense that she's one of them," Mazin continued. "Then the bad thing happens."
It certainly makes sense and it made for a more emotional moment as we lost Tess to the Clickers. Needless to say, we're looking forward to more of these acceptable changes in the series.
The Last of Us Episode 2 is now streaming on HBO Max.
Related: The Last of Us Episode 2 Annihilates Another HBO Viewership Record