The Last of Us confirms the flour theory for the outbreak

Image via HBO Max

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for ‘The last of us’ Episode three, Long Long Time.

The latest installment in the HBO series The last of us has revealed more details about the characters living in this apocalyptic world and compared it to what it was in 2003. But one of the biggest questions that still needed to be answered was how the Cordyceps brain infection started. Thankfully, the latest installment may have confirmed a long-standing fan theory when the series began.

In episode three, titled “Long Long Tine,” Ellie asked Joel what life was like before the outbreak. The young girl was surprised to see people flying through the skies in airplanes and that her school wasn’t teaching the previous government’s failure to prevent the outbreak from getting worse. She then asked Joel how the infection started, to which he gave an answer that attentive fans might like.

According to Joel on the show, he theorized that the Cordyceps fungi mutated to the point where they ended up in the food supply. More specifically, in common food ingredients. Joel’s response was a common theory among viewers and likely could have confirmed how the outbreak began.

“No one knows for sure. But probably mutant Cordycepts. And some of it got into the food supply. Probably a basic ingredient like flour or sugar. There were certain brands of food that were sold everywhere, across the country, across the world. Bread, cereal …pancake mix. If you eat enough of it, you get infected by it. So the spoiled food all hits the shelves around the same time, on Thursday. People bought it, ate it on a Thursday evening or Friday morning. The day goes on…they began to get sick. In the afternoon, in the evening they got worse. Then they started to bite.”

During the first episode, there were clues that could prove Joel’s theory. For starters, there was a news report on Jakarta, Indonesia, a place known for having the largest grain mill in the world. Also, throughout the episode, Joel, Sarah, and Tommy were seen to avoid any food that contained traces of flour, such as cookies, cakes, and pancakes. These foods contain the ingredients that Joel mentioned in his explanation to Ellie.

The last of us Showrunners Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin have pointed out the origins of the virus and how it could be traced to flour in various podcasts and interviews. They also said inside The last of us Podcast that attentive viewers will be “repeatedly rewarded” because “little breadcrumbs have been planted” and will pay off. Perhaps Joel’s little explanation for Ellie could be part of the showrunners’ way of rewarding fans who have paid close attention to the show.

Episode three of The last of us is available now on HBO Max. The Last of Us confirms the flour theory for the outbreak

Lindsay Lowe

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