A complete guide to all the post-apocalyptic slang words and abbreviations that are guaranteed to crop up in The Last Of Us. You are welcome.
The Last Of Us has already been hailed as the show of 2023, with critics piling praise on the emotional post-apocalyptic drama. In fact, it’s already achieved that elusive 100% ‘fresh ‘ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, despite a fair few review bombs from misogynist trolls (all of whom, this writer hastens to add, have an unhealthy obsession with teenage girls).
To say we’re excited would be an understatement. Ever since we learned that Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin was joining forces with The Last Of Us’s video game creator Neil Druckmann to bring us the HBO adaptation of our dreams, we’ve been counting down the days until the TV series hit our screens.
The only problem? The world of The Last Of Us – with all its specific acronyms, terminology, and character types – isn’t always easy to understand, especially if you’ve never played the videogame. Even if you have played the videogame, actually.
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To save you googling everything during the show – you’re going to need to concentrate if you’ve any hope of following Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Joel (Pedro Pascal) on their epic journey across a ruined US) – we’ve created a handy glossary to help you out.
No need to thank us.
The Cordyceps brain infection (abbreviated as CBI) is a parasitic fungal infection that has devastated humanity by taking over their bodies and their brains, resulting in something not unlike a zombie apocalypse. Because, yes, that really is the easiest way to describe it. Whoever would’ve thought that we’d be brought down by a hoard of violence-inducing mushrooms?
The Federal Disaster Response Agency took control of the military and declared martial law after the CBI outbreak, removing the bureaucrats from power. Now, they serve as the ruling authorities of the quarantine zones… and they don’t exactly have the best interests of citizens at heart.
The Fireflies are a paramilitary group of survivors (so yeah, rebels, if you prefer) who are fighting to put an end to FEDRA’s martial law.
The infected are humans who have been infected by the Cordyceps brain infection and subsequently mutated into one of several horrific new forms:
This is your basic level zombie: still in the early throes of the Cordyceps brain infection, Runners still look pretty human (albeit paler and more… undead-like) – and they certainly sound it, too. They’re fast, though, so don’t let their poor eyesight lull you into a false sense of security: these things will swarm and attack without a second thought.
Stalkers have the vision and speed of Runners, but they are much more agile – and, as you likely guessed from the name, they are far more stealthy, preferring to stalk their victims after spotting them from a distance.
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Extremely aggressive – but thankfully slow-moving and uncoordinated, Bloaters are… yeah, they’re a sort of zombie. Basically, they’re a person that’s been infected for so long that they have become covered in a thick fungus, which acts as a form of armor and makes them incredibly tricky to kill. Eek.
Like Bloaters, Clickers have had prolonged exposure to the fungus that’s taken over humanity, but they’re much faster… and toothier. Oh sure, they might have been rendered blind by their infection, but they get about by using echolocation – which means, you guessed it, they let out a series of terrifying clicking sounds to locate their prey.
Fine, yes, it’s another type of zombie, but Shamblers are horrifying: think walking pustule-clusters that spray gaseous acid whenever they get near their victims. Gross.
That’s “Quarantine Zone” to you, citizen! After martial law was declared, the QZs were set up by FEDRA and the military – ostensibly to protect the remaining uninfected population of the United States by separating them from the infected, but also to allow them to maintain some sort of control. Unfortunately, though, many of these QZs have failed, for myriad reasons.
The Last Of Us will air weekly on Sky Atlantic at 2am BST.
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