The last of us is unbelievable. It truly is a show worthy of every ounce of praise. From his operations to his characters to his attention to detail, The last of us builds a world that is both magnetic and repulsive (so I don’t remind you The clicker kid). But with all its detailed world buildingthe show has yet to explain a tiny detail that’s been bugging me for the past few weeks: how the hell do people still eat bread?
In episode 2 we learn that the cause of the Cordyceps outbreak was a contaminated flour and grain stocks from Jakarta, which offers the world’s largest flour supply. We also deduced that Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Sarah (Nico Parker) were never infected that day because They avoided eating cookies, pancake mixes, and birthday cakes (which luckily Joel forgot to buy). But then in Episode 2, right after a spooky sequence of events in Jakarta, we see Ellie (Bella Ramsey) eating a sandwich. And not just any sandwich. A chicken sandwich with sliced toast that looks straight out of a Target Sara Lee bag.
Find the bread at one (easy).
Photo Credit: Screenshot HBO
The breathtaking bread consumption does not end here. We also see Bill (Nick Offerman), Frank (Murray Bartlett), Tess (Anna Torv) and Joel eat some rolls in a flashback to the foursome’s first meeting. Bill and Frank are also regularly seen eating bread. Well, it’s interesting to see The last of us Turning bread into a prop worthy of the fright? Yes, it is. But is it also a huge question mark that we must answer? Well, it probably isn’t, but it’s an itch to scratch.
We can assume so our hut kings Bill and Frank, bake their own bread. They’re out here – in the midst of the apocalypse – growing strawberries, eating roast meat and drinking wine, so we can assume the pair are smart enough to make their own sourdough at home. But what about Ellie’s sandwich? She mentions that Marlene (Merle Dandridge) got the chicken from smugglers, so Marlene probably got the toast from an outside source as well.
Find the bread round two (intermediate).
Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO
The fireflies have multiple bases, and we know that they live even in laboratory centers. There’s a whole bunch of doctors trying to make a cure, so maybe there’s a whole bunch of ex-botanists occupying an abandoned center to grow produce and yes, even bake bread. While it may seem far-fetched to imagine a group of people dedicated solely to making bread (or any other food), what else would you try to do to survive in an apocalypse? Canned food is limited and with no end in sight it makes sense that the Fireflies would use their resources to grow things and bake something.
I would also assume that these lab centers probably have developed a process to ensure their supply is not contaminated, or that oats or something similar are used instead of flour. And if the fireflies aren’t actually making bread, it could be a self-sustaining community like Tommy’s (Gabriel Luna) and outsource it to smugglers for a hefty price.
But all of these ideas are just a collection of what-ifs, and an overarching theme that ties them all together is this: it’s really hard to imagine baking bread in an apocalypse that started because of bread. Why bother? Why even try to make this thing? Doesn’t anyone have trauma? A bout of food poisoning can keep you from a meal forever, so how does everyone get back to eating carbs well?
Find the bread in round three (Hard).
Photo Credit: Screenshot HBO
My bread dilemma seems to add another layer The last of us‘ World building that introduces a reversal of the food group hierarchy. In our world, carbohydrates are the most abundant and common food group. But in The last of us world carbohydrates are more like caviar. It’s interesting to see how everyone goes through so much to still make and eat carbs. It also depicts one of the many ways humanity has adapted to the apocalypse – endure, survive, and try to eat carbs by any means necessary.
Yes, Ellie with that delicious sandwich is a loose plot hole, but I’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume they’ve figured out how to grow uncontaminated grains 20 years after the apocalypse. That still doesn’t explain how they all managed to recover from the breakout day trauma together, aka Bread’s villain origin story, but I digress. In their defense, I think I would have lived in a carb-free world once the zombies.
The last of us now streaming on HBO Max(opens in a new tab).