Ellie and Tess in 'The Last of Us'
Source: HBO

Protecting Ellie Is Crucial in 'The Last of Us' — Here's Why

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Jan. 16 2023, Published 10:31 a.m. ET

The first episode of The Last of Us introduces viewers to a world in which a fungal infection has decimated the world's population, and left only a few scattered survivors in its wake. In the episode, we're introduced to Joel, who lost his daughter when the outbreak first began and has since become a smuggler, and Ellie, the human cargo he has been tasked with transporting.

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So, why is Ellie so important in The Last of Us? Keep reading for all the details about Ellie and what you can expect from The Last of Us.

Ellie is important to the Fireflies in 'The Last of Us.'

After we see how Joel lost his daughter, we spend much of the episode learning what life is like 20 years after the zombie apocalypse. We see that Boston is now controlled by FEDRA, and that the Fireflies are determined to wrest control of the city back from what they see as FEDRA's military dictatorship. Even as they blow things up all over Boston, though, the Fireflies are also protecting Ellie, a young girl who they see as valuable.

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Joel and Ellie
Source: HBO

Initially, the Fireflies plan to escort Ellie out of the city themselves, but after a deal goes wrong, many of them wind up shot. Marlene, the head of the Boston Fireflies, entrusts the job to Joel and his partner Tess instead. While they know how important Ellie is to the Fireflies, neither Joel nor Tess has any sense of why that is.

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Why is Ellie so important in 'The Last of Us?'

At the end of the episode, though, as Joel, Tess, and Ellie attempt to escape Boston quietly, they come across a FEDRA agent who tests each of them to see if they're infected. What they discover, after taking down the agent, is that Ellie is infected. That means that, within 24 hours, she should totally lose control of herself and begin feasting on other people.

Instead, though, Ellie explains that she was bitten three weeks ago. Her wound has already healed, and she didn't succumb to the disease. While this hasn't been explicitly articulated yet, it's this fact that makes Ellie so important. The fungal infection that has crippled the world, which we learn about in the very first moments of The Last of Us, is something that Ellie alone is immune to.

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The implications of that could be enormous for the world, and future installments might see characters attempting to find a cure for the virus through Ellie's DNA. For now, though, all we as viewers really need to know is that Ellie is the only person any of them have ever seen who is immune to the virus that has toppled the entire world order and decimated the population.

That's why Marlene and so many other people are willing to put their own lives on the line to protect her. She isn't even of age yet, but she may represent the only hope that any of them have for reversing this apocalypse and restoring some of the world that died 20 years ago, one that Ellie wasn't alive yet to see.

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