Storify: The Last of Us (Again)

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

This has been previously posted, but as a Storify widget which will soon be defunct.

SPOILER: The Fireflies were the villains.

tfw you're reading an interesting article on zombies in gaming and then they utterly misunderstand The Last Of Us. I try very hard to have as few as possible petty pet peeves, but People Who Misunderstand THE LAST OF US is one of them. I have straight up blocked people for creepily insisting that a pre-teen girl should be ritualistically murdered as a meaningless sacrifice.

Everything People Are Wrong About re: THE LAST OF US (spoilers below)

1, the Fireflies aren't creating a zombie virus "cure". They want to kill Ellie to create a vaccine to prevent future infections.

2, a vaccine is basically meaningless at this late state because people aren't being infected! They're being killed by zombies and bandits.

3, there's no reason to believe they have the scientific know-how to create this vaccine.

4, there's no reason to believe they'll be able to manufacture the vaccine once they kill Ellie, a.k.a the Goose That Lays The Golden Mold.

5, there's no reason to believe they'll be able to distribute this vaccine they plan to manufacture in large quantities.

6, the "vaccine" they want to manufacture is a MUTATED INFECTION. They want to infect everyone left on earth the same way Ellie is infected.

7, they have done NO RESEARCH on what the long-term effects of Ellie's infection will be. Is she infertile? Will she die in a year or two? Will the mold eventually take over her mind?

8, it's STRONGLY IMPLIED in the solo-Ellie section when she scratches an attacker that she can regular-infect people by fluid exchange.

9, so you have a team of "scientists" (sarcastic air-quotes) who plan to kill an underage girl with the intent to infect ALL HUMANITY.

10, that is a freaking villain in any other game, but Last of Us detractors (so edgy! so cynical!) believe in the "scientists" because... why?

11, Radical notion: people view Ellie as an acceptable sacrifice because we're trained from birth that pre-teen girls are expendable.

12, Instant "tell" on this problem: People make the ending about Joel's character and choices when HE. IS. IRRELEVANT.

13, Joel could be Satan himself and it wouldn't make it therefore somehow "wrong" to save a pre-teen girl from murder.

14, The Last of Us isn't the story of Joel. It's the story of Joel AND Ellie. Sweeping half the main characters away is blatant sexism.

15, The Last of Us is a story about depression. Joel starts depressed while Ellie becomes depressed. They pull each other out.

16, so miss me with eeeeeeeeeeedgy critiques about how Ellie should've been killed and Joel should've been okay with it.

17, in literally any other game, people would see that the "Fireflies" are the villains. That they want to kill and infect without consent.

18, OH AND THAT REMINDS ME, there was NO WAY the Fireflies were going to distribute that vaccine with consent.

19, had they managed to manufacture the vaccine in large quantities (big IF), they would have piped it into settlements without asking.

20, the entire game characterized the Fireflies as terrorists willing to kill, bomb, and maim, but tell me how ethical they totes would be when it came to distributing a vaccine that most of humanity are going to be understandably iffy about taking.

21, if you're cheering for people who want to kill a girl and infect the last of humanity without their consent, what the even fuck?

22, I know we're all jaded and "the villain is actually right!" can be fun, but there's a difference between edgy cynicism and foolishness.

23, and I care about this stupid video game because it's illustrative of how our society views pre-teen girls--

24, when a WIDELY ACCEPTED fan-theory is that a man is evil for not letting other people kill a pre-teen girl, we have a PROBLEM.

@dyrbert: we can't convince people girls & women should be able to choose an abortion to save their own lives cause of one potential life.

25, EXACTLY. Kind of matters to me given our current anti-choice climate.

@JessiSheron: also if you want to kill a underage girl, you've really lost what makes humanity precious.

THIS! Like, christ, Cabin in the Woods pointed that out and it was genius from the lips of Joss Whedon, but Ellie should die for Reasons??!

26, also? If you're going to tie Joel saving Ellie to Joel's failure to save his daughter Sarah as a narrative arc, you need the CONTEXT.

27, a Person of Authority killed Sarah thinking that he had to do so in order to save humanity. (He thought she was infected.)

28, the Fireflies are People of Authority trying to kill Ellie thinking they have to do so to save humanity. There's a key point here!

29, in both cases, they're WRONG. Killing these girls don't benefit humanity at all! It's just a horrible tragic waste.

30, so if you're blaming Joel for saving Ellie as a means of redemption for his failure to save Sarah, you do have to pay attention--

31, --to the fact that IN BOTH CASES, the killers THINK they're doing the right thing but you contextually see that they're FACTUALLY WRONG.

32, I will never stop being alarmed at how many people think that a doctor in a lab coat knows what he's doing because he's a doctor.

33, yet people seem apparently able to understand* that a soldier in fatigues or a cop with a gun AREN'T infallible authorities.

34, *at least when the victim is an innocent white blond girl. (sigh)

@Psychpunk: So agree. How do feel about Joel lying to Elle at the end tho? I never knew how to feel about it.

35, well, let's talk about the ending. Video here.

36, point A. The Fireflies argue that Ellie is going to die anyway, so they shouldn't waste her. "How long before she's murdered?"

37, Joel says that isn't a given and Marlene says this is "what she'd want." Not what she agreed to, but what she WOULD want.

38, point B. When Ellie wakes, she says "what the hell am I wearing". She's never seen a medical gown before.

39, that means she didn't know she was going into surgery. You put a gown on BEFORE surgery WHILE the patient is awake.

40, point C. Joel tells her they stopped looking for a cure and she accepts this.

41, his explanation wouldn't make sense to her if she'd known she was going into surgery! You don't "stop looking" right after prep!

42, point D. Joel wounds Marlene in order to get Ellie safely way. Marlene then begs to be allowed to live. This is important!

43, because Marlene literally JUST ARGUED that Ellie's death was no big deal because she'd eventually die anyway! But Marlene wants to live.

44, Joel kills her, correctly (in my opinion) stating that Marlene--who is an obsessed terrorist on a mission--would come after Ellie forever.

45, at the very end, Ellie confesses to Joel that she feels guilt over all the people who've died around her. She's clinically depressed.

46, she says "Swear to me that everything you said about the Fireflies is true." Joel says, "I swear." She says, "Okay."

47, so what did he actually say? He said there's more immune people. (Truth) He says it hasn't done any good. (Truth)

48, and he says "They've stopped looking for a cure." Which is overlaid with the scene of him shooting Marlene. Who has... stopped looking. Because Joel killed her.

49, okay-so-but, even if it's a Jedi Truth, it's still a lie, right? So we come back to someone asked what do I think about Joel's lie?

50, honestly? I'm okay with it FOR NOW. I believe that when Ellie got older, he told her the fuller story. That's my firm belief.

51, I don't think it's necessarily a moral wrong to tell a Jedi Truth to a girl who is clinically depressed over deaths she's witnessed,

52, especially when there's NOTHING she can do at that point. The Fireflies are dead. Joel killed them. All it would do is burden her.

53, later, when she's in a better headspace and older, I'd talk to her about it. But a depressed 14yo kid? That's enough for now.

54, Marlene was a surrogate mother to Ellie. I think it's okay to shield a child from the knowledge that their mother tried to murder her.

55, and Marlene was ultimately a hypocrite to beg for her own life while arguing that Ellie's life was worthless because all life ends.


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