The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

Episode 1: When You’re Lost in the Darkness

January 25, 2023

The show wastes no time explaining a fungal infection in an initially comedic scene that slowly gets darker as the episode takes place, which sets the mood for the rest of the episode. 

The characters in the scene proceed to slowly ponder what would happen if the fungus ended up evolving to adjust to warmer temperatures found in humans. ”

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

This scene in particular references a real life mutant-ant fungus, which slowly takes control of the ants’ motor functions in order to spread itself to more ants. The characters in the scene proceed to slowly ponder what would happen if the fungus ended up evolving to adjust to warmer temperatures found in humans.  

We are then introduced to the main character, Joel Miller, as well as his daughter and his brother. Joel is played by Mandalorian actor Pedro Pascal, and he plays the part masterfully. 

Whenever Joel is on screen, he has a raw aura of power despite appearing like a normal guy. The next few scenes are the characters going about their day, even though the audience can tell that something is off, whether that be from police sirens going off in the background or emergency vehicles drastically increasing in appearance as the day goes by. 

The first episode follows the first few chapters of the game almost exactly, with extra scenes to ramp up the horror of the situation. 

The first episode follows the first few chapters of the game almost exactly, with extra scenes to ramp up the horror of the situation. ”

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

An entirely new segment is added with Joel’s daughter, Sarah, and their older neighbors, with Joel’s daughter going over to be friendly with them and their vegetative grandma during the evening. 

Near the end of the scene when Sarah is about to leave, she gets distracted looking at items on a bookshelf. Meanwhile, the grandma near the back of the room is clearly moving her head in horrible and unnatural ways that cannot be entirely made out by the audience and goes unnoticed by Sarah.

The first part of the episode then culminates with Sarah waking up alone late at night to the sound of explosions and military vehicles, seeing a neighbor’s dog, frightened, outside of her front door, and then trying to bring it back to the neighbors only for her to realize they have been brutally attacked by the no longer vegetative grandma. 

The grandma, now an infected zombie, charges at her, but Sarah is saved by Joel and his brother, Tommy, who then realize they need to make it out of the city. The cascading, action-fueled scenes culminate when they find a soldier, thinking he can help them to safety. To their surprise, the soldier is ordered to shoot them and Tommy saves Joel from getting shot, but not before Sarah dies from a gunshot wound.

The show then jumps 20 years into the future to 2023, showing day-to-day life for Joel in the military encampment that he is living in. He has clearly changed, as he is doing shady illegal deals in order to survive. 

We learn of the Fireflies, a terrorist group that has been targeting areas within the encampment in order to fight the more oppressive military that is in control. We also learn that their leader has a girl named Elle, played by Bella Ramsey, locked up in a room.

In the second episode, expect Joel, Tess, and Elle to spend the majority of the time navigating through the collapsed city to bring Elle to the Fireflies.”

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

Joel is now looking for Tommy, who somehow got separated from him in the 20 year time skip, and is trying to find the resources to escape and meet up with him in Wyoming. They had previously communicated by radio, but Tommy has since gone silent. We are also introduced to Tess, Joel’s smuggling partner, who assists him in the search.

Tess and Joel sneak into a building wanting to enact revenge for a deal that went bad with some other smugglers, only to find them all dead. They then spot a hurt Fireflies leader, named Marlene, with Elle, the captured girl from earlier. They work out a compromise that promises Joel and Tess the means to escape the military encampment, as long as they bring Elle with them to a Fireflies base located in the city.

After an encounter with a soldier, Tess and Joel discover that Elle is infected with the mutant fungus, but after some deliberation between the two, they decide to continue with their mission. The episode ends with Tess, Joel, and Elle sneaking out of the military encampment, heading toward a collapsed city. 

Joel has noticeable post traumatic stress disorder from losing his daughter, which is shown throughout the second half of the episode. Joel’s PTSD might come into play later in the show to cause him to do something unreasonable. 

The show has followed the first chapters of the game very closely, with only slight deviations in plot, and will likely continue to follow the chapters in the game closely. 

In the second episode, expect Joel, Tess, and Elle to spend the majority of the time navigating through the collapsed city to bring Elle to the Fireflies.

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