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‘The Last of Us’: who are the fireflies and FEDRA?

If you look The last of us, you would have heard the words “Fireflies” and “FEDRA” in the first episode. But who are they again?

The two groups appear in both the Naughty Dog game and the HBO adaptation by Chernobyl director Craig Mazin and The last of us creator Neil Druckmann. Now it’s impossible for me to tell you everything about the Fireflies and FEDRA as we’re only one episode in – if you’ve played the game you’ll have a lot more knowledge of what happens to both groups and the people in them as you go along. the story progresses. And besides these two, there are many more robbers, smugglers, black market dealers like Robert (Brendan Fletcher), militant groups and armed communities that Joel (Pedro Pascal), Tess (Anna Torv) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) encounter. their travels.

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But here’s what I can tell viewers of the HBO series to date about the Fireflies and FEDRA.

In whom are the fireflies The last of us?

Two women in military tank tops stand on a table in a run-down apartment contemplating a map.

Natasha Mumba and Merle Dandridge play Fireflies Kim and Marlene.
Credit: Shane Harvey/HBO

The Fireflies are a highly trained, revolutionary militia group that is rising against the US government’s military arm, FEDRA, in quarantine zones (QZs) across the country. Using repurposed (read: seized or smuggled) FEDRA equipment and weapons, their goal is to free QZs from FEDRA forces and overthrow the military dictatorship – but they are branded as terrorists by the authorities. The Fireflies’ signature logo is an abstract design of a firefly, which the Rebels spray-paint over the QZ walls, along with written graffiti that reads, “If you are lost in the darkness, look for the light.” It’s Firefly’s motto, one that Joel immediately recognizes when approached by a recruiter in the marketplace.

When we encounter the Fireflies in the HBO series, we meet the Fireflies leader Marlene in their Boston QZ hideout, who orders Firefly teams to be set up around the city. Perfectly embodied by Merle Dandridge, who reprises her role from the play, Marlene has been called “the Che Guevara of Boston” by Tess. After strategically blowing up FEDRA targets for two weeks and despite her second-in-command’s misgivings, Kim (Natasha Mumba) plans for all of the Boston Fireflies to leave town.

A woman peers through a secret door with a flashlight into a corridor of bodies.

Tess (Anna Torv) didn’t expect to find the Fireflies here.
Credit: Shane Harvey/HBO

“We are at war against a military dictatorship to restore democracy and freedom,” says Marlene. “Fight for 20 years and achieve nothing, you are not a rebel. Just spray paint.”

One of these explosions is the car bomb that interrupts Tess’ conversation with black market dealer Robert – “Free Boston now you bastards!” yells a nearby Firefly sniper attacking FEDRA’s Incident Security Force from the rooftops. When Tess is arrested by these authorities, she screams “I’m not Firefly!” and is sent to lock-up.

A teenager sits on the floor, chained by the ankle, in a run-down apartment.

We first meet Ellie (Bella Ramsey) trapped in the Fireflies’ Boston QZ hideout.
Credit: Shane Harvey/HBO

The bigger plan for Marlene’s Fireflies is to leave Boston and take Ellie west to a group of Fireflies supposedly waiting in the old State House in another QZ in Massachusetts. Marlene has known Ellie since childhood – Ellie trained at FEDRA’s military school, as Marlene explains she enrolled Ellie there to protect her – but Ellie snuck out and was bitten by an infected one. Marlene saved her from being killed.

When they try to find and pulverize Robert for screwing them, Joel and Tess follow the trail to the Fireflies hideout, where Ellie is being held captive and monitored for signs of infection. Joel’s brother Tommy has a past with the Fireflies, which means Joel isn’t exactly in love with Marlene. But while Marlene gets shot in her bad deal with Robert, Joel and Tess go on a trip with Ellie.

Who is FEDRA in The Last of Us?

A man raises his hands in surrender to a military officer who points his gun at him.

Joel (Pedro Pascal) is spotted by a FEDRA officer outside the Boston QZ.
Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO

The Federal Disaster Response Agency (FEDRA) is the main authority in the US following the outbreak of the Cordyceps fungus, a military arm of the government it has essentially replaced.

You will see FEDRA warning signs everywhere in the buildings The last of us, as quarantine zone markers, rules and regulations to control the fungal pandemic. “Safety starts with you,” reads a FEDRA sign listing the signs of a Cordyceps infection. “Report Cordyceps to authorities immediately,” reads another describing how long it takes to complete infection with a diagram. FEDRA also runs factories making munitions and pharmaceuticals, as the FEDRA Officer Joel tells in Episode 1 of a factory in the Atlanta QZ that supposedly only makes both.

FEDRA acts as the law in the QZs, with surveillance marking the streets and perimeter, either in person or via security cameras. They enforce the QZ curfew from 6am to 6pm “to fight infection and insurrection,” as seen on a sign Tess walks by in Episode 1. FEDRA also has an Incident Security Force, which works on “secure areas’. within the QZs – this team engages a Firefly on the roof and falsely arrests Tess after the car bomb goes off.

FEDRA officers, dressed in naval-military armor with ballistic shield helmets, patrol the entrances to QZs and make sure no one gets in or out. When people arrive at the gates of the QZ, they are taken to a processing station, where they are checked for infection. When we first encounter FEDRA in The last of us, an officer questions a child who collapsed outside the QZ. They are scanned with FEDRA’s bio-device and if they are found to be infected, they are executed by injection.

A child is strapped to a wheelchair next to a military officer in a dilapidated building.

Red is bad.
Credit: Shane Harvey/HBO

However, those infected are not the only ones executed by FEDRA. Joel witnesses a public hanging in the Boston QZ of people accused of violating FEDRA law. In these cases unauthorized access or abandoned in a quarantine area. Each person was “tried in a military court” and found guilty off-screen, but we don’t know how fair these trials were.

FEDRA has a list of jobs that people in the QZ can apply for, including street sweeping and sewer maintenance, with varying levels of pay. FEDRA even hires people to burn contaminated bodies (and probably not contaminated in there) to prevent further spread, for which they can earn ration cards – Joel Miller is one of these people.

Essentially, FEDRA is the military authority in America The last of us and the main focus of the Fireflies’ rebellion. And there will be more for each faction as the series progresses.

The Last of Us is now streaming HBO max(opens in a new tab) with new episodes airing weekly on HBO on Sunday evenings.

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