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The Last Of Us Movie Reveals Why Ellie Is Immune

The Last Of Us
Joel rescues Ellie from the Fireflies

Video games are often accused of poor storytelling—not as if gamers really care as long as the graphics, frames, and gameplay mechanics are top-notch. The Last Of Us, although a solid game in all regards, had storytelling flaws that viewers of the movie adaptation are just filling in.

Even though we know that Ellie (Bella Ramsey) was bitten by an infected but surprisingly did not turn into one of the zombies, the game didn’t tell us what made her immune. Ironically, the entire plot of the game hinges on Ellie’s immunity. So, why was something so important given trivial attention in the game? As we mentioned earlier, we doubt that gamers really cared.

ALSO READ: HBO’s The Last Of Us Escapes The Curse Of Video Game Movie Adaptation

Nevertheless, this is another area that The Last Of Us movie adaptation shines. In episode 9, The Last Of Us gives us a hint about the events that transpired leading to Ellie’s immunity from the fungal infection that has spread across the globe turning people into mindless zombies.

Yet again, The Last Of Us movie adaptation justified its average of 30 million viewers per episode and shows that video game movie adaptations can be the next big thing. Many editors are already pitching it to bag award nominations this year.

How did Ellie get her immunity?

In episode 9 of The Last Of Us, the screenwriters take us back to events that occurred during Ellie’s birth. The opening scenes show Anna, Ellie’s mother, giving birth to her daughter. Anna was attacked in the process and infected. She fought off the attacker and killed it with a knife.

When Anna was infected, Ellie had been born but was still connected to her mother through the umbilical cord. Anna quickly severed the umbilical cord immediately she discovered she had been bitten. Although the connection was brief, the argument is that it was long enough for Ellie’s body to develop immunity against the Cordyceps fungal infection.

This makes biological sense since children pick up immunity to certain diseases from their mothers. This also explains why would-be mothers are given certain medications that help to build their immunity and that of their babies.

Marlene tells Joel about how Ellie was immune
The Last of Us Merlene Dandridge, portrayed by Natasha Mumba (Photo credit: HBO)

Marlene, the resistance leader who happens to be Anna’s best friend, explained to Joel that Ellie’s body produced a “chemical messenger” during her birth that deceived the fungus to believe that she was already part of the Cordyceps.

Therefore, the fungus did not take control of her body, unlike the millions of other infected. Anna handed her child to Marlene saying, “Her name is Ellie”. Marlene had to put a bullet through Anna’s head after she turned.

Although Ellie already had immunity from birth, she thought that the first infected that bit her and her friend, Riley, in the mall was her first encounter with the Cordyceps. However, the fungus had been lying dormant in her. This brilliant scripting finally resolves one of the biggest mysteries of The Last Of Us game.

Will The Last Of Us stick to the game’s ending?

Joel Kills doctor in The Last Of Us

The Last Of Us movie adaptation clearly had remarkable alterations when placed side-by-side with the game. Firstly, the overall timeline was adjusted. Also, the relationship between Frank and Bill got an entire episode for an in-depth exploration.

Perhaps, these twists were the reason why many wondered if the ending will follow the path of the game. In the game, Joel and Ellie’s adventure leads them to a group of Fireflies in Salt Lake City, Utah. Marlene informs Joel that to create a vaccine, the mutant strain of the Cordyceps will have to be extracted from Ellie’s brain. It was a procedure Ellie would not survive.

Joel at the parking garage with Ellie in The Last Of Us Finale

At the start of the journey, Joel probably wouldn’t have cared. However, because of the relationship they have built during the journey and Joel beginning to see Ellie as a replacement for his daughter, he was not ready to make that sacrifice or endure another loss. To save Ellie from the operation table, Joel goes on a killing spree.

When Ellie woke up, Joel lied that the Fireflies already found other immune people but were unable to create a cure. Joel drives Ellie back to his brother’s settlement in Jackson, Wyoming. Well, we can now confirm that apart from telling us how Ellie became immune, there were no other twists to the ending of The Last Of Us.

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