‘The Last of Us’: Who are the Fireflies and FEDRA?

‘The Last of Us’: Who are the Fireflies and FEDRA?

‘The Last of Us’: Who are the Fireflies and FEDRA?

if you are watching The last of us, you would have heard the words “Fireflies” and “FEDRA” thrown around in the first episode. But who are they anyway?

The two groups are featured in both Naughty Dog’s game and the HBO adaptation by Chernobyl director Craig Mazin and The last of us creator Neil Druckmann. Now, it’s going to be impossible for me to tell you everything about the Fireflies and FEDRA, as we’re only in one episode – if you’ve played the game, you’ll have a lot more knowledge of what happens to these two groups and the people in them as the story goes on. And beyond those two, there are many more raiders, 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 on their travels. .


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

Who are the fireflies in The last of us?

Two women wearing military tops are looking at a map on a table in a dilapidated apartment.

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

The Fireflies are a highly skilled revolutionary militia group that revolts against the US government’s military wing FEDRA in Quarantine Zones (QZs) across the country. Using repurposed (read: seized or smuggled) FEDRA equipment and weapons, your 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 drawing of a firefly, which the Rebels plaster all over the walls of the QZ along with written graffiti that reads, “When you are lost in the dark, look for the light”. It’s Firefly’s motto, which Joel instantly recognizes when approached by a recruiter in the marketplace.

When we meet the fireflies in the HBO series, we find the leader of the fireflies, Marlene, in her Boston QZ hideout, giving orders to deploy teams of fireflies throughout the city. Perfectly embodied by Merle Dandridge, reprising her role from the game, Marlene is referred to by Tess as “the Che Guevara of Boston”. Having strategically blown up FEDRA’s targets over the course of two weeks and despite the misgivings of his second-in-command, Kim (Natasha Mumba), the plan is for all of Boston’s fireflies to leave town.

A woman peers through a secret door with a torch 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 get nowhere, you’re not a rebellion. Just spray paint.”

One such explosion is the car bomb that interrupts Tess’s conversation with black market dealer Robert – “Liberate Boston now, motherfuckers!” calls a nearby Firefly sniper engaging the FEDRA Incident Security Force from the rooftops. When Tess is arrested by these authorities, she screams, “I’m not a firefly!” and is sent to prison.

A teenager is sitting on the floor, chained by the ankle, in a dilapidated apartment.

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

The larger plan for Marlene’s Fireflies is to leave Boston and take Ellie west to a group of Fireflies supposedly waiting at the old State House in another QZ in Massachusetts. Marlene has known Ellie since her youth – Ellie was training at the FEDRA military school, as Marlene explains she enrolled Ellie there to keep her safe – but Ellie escaped and was bitten by an infected. Marlene stopped her from being killed.

When trying to find and pulverize Robert for screwing them, Joel and Tess follow the trail to the Fireflies’ hideout, where Ellie has been held captive and monitored for signs of infection. Joel’s brother Tommy has a history with the Fireflies, which means that Joel doesn’t exactly like Marlene. But when Marlene is shot in her bad deal with Robert, Joel and Tess embark on the journey with Ellie.

Who is FEDRA in The Last of Us?

A man raises his hands in surrender to a soldier 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 lead authority in the US following the Cordyceps fungus outbreak, a military arm of the government that has essentially replaced it.

You will see FEDRA warning signs posted all over the buildings in The last of us, such as quarantine zone markers, rules and regulations for managing the fungal pandemic. “Safety starts with you,” says a FEDRA sign listing the signs of Cordyceps infection. “Report Cordyceps to authorities immediately,” says another detailing how long it takes for full infection with a diagram. FEDRA also runs munitions and pharmaceuticals factories, as the FEDRA officer told Joel in Episode 1 of a factory in Atlanta’s QZ that supposedly manufactures just the two.

FEDRA acts according to the law in the QZs, with surveillance marking the streets and perimeters in person or through security cameras. They enact a QZ curfew from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm “to combat infections and insurrections”, as you can see specified on a sign that Tess passes in episode 1. FEDRA also has an Incident Security Force, which works to “secure areas “. inside the QZs – this team engages a Firefly on the roof and wrongfully arrests Tess after the car bomb explodes.

Dressed in navy military body armor with ballistic shield helmets, FEDRA officers patrol the entrances to the QZs, making sure no one enters or exits. If people arrive at the QZ gates, they are taken to a processing station where they are checked for infection. When we first meet FEDRA in The last of us, a police officer is questioning a child who has collapsed outside the QZ. They are scanned with FEDRA’s biological device and, when infected, are executed by injection.

A child sits in a wheelchair next to a military man in a dilapidated building.

Red is bad.
Credit: Shane Harvey/HBO

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

FEDRA has a list of jobs for people in QZ to apply for, including street sweeping and sewer maintenance, with various pay levels. In fact, FEDRA hires people to burn infected bodies (and probably non-infected ones there too) to prevent further spread, for which they can earn ration cards – Joel Miller is one such person.

Essentially, FEDRA is the military authority in America in 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 new tab) with new episodes airing weekly on Sunday nights on HBO.

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