The biscuits in ‘The Last of Us’ may hold a clue to how the outbreak started

Why on earth is everyone in the first episode of The last of us so obsessed with baked goods?

Sarah Miller (Nico Parker) wanted her father to buy Joel (Pedro Pascal) pancake mix for his birthday breakfast. The Millers’ neighbors, the Adlers, are keen to give them cookies. Cookies and cakes are also mentioned later. This is a mushroom zombie survival show, isn’t it The Great British Bake Offso why does food get so much airtime?


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There are a couple of reasons. On the one hand, it creates a feeling of normality and serves to build character. Since Joel is incredibly busy at work and doesn’t seem concerned about making his birthday special, he forgets about the pancake mix and cake.

But behind this character work lies a more sinister possibility: the possibility that contaminated food caused the deadly cordyceps Outbreak.

We never see Joel or Sarah eating any baked goods.

Sarah out

Photos taken just seconds before the disaster (meeting a cordyceps granny).
Credit: Shane Harvey/HBO

Again and again, The last of us draws attention to what Joel, Sarah and Tommy (Gabriel Luna) eat and don’t eat. she do Eat eggs and drink orange juice, but they Not Celebrate Joel’s birthday with pancakes or a cake. They decline the Adlers’ offer of homemade cookies, and Sarah is too disappointed at the prospect of Mrs. Adler’s raisin cookies to actually attend. During the first act of the episode, Joel and his family dodge treats like their lives depended on it. And honestly? Maybe they do.


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‘Cause you know who does eat a cookie? Mrs. Adler’s mother, the first person infected with Cordyceps that we meet on the show. And while there are many differences between the Millers and the Adlers, one The last of us keeps coming back to what they ate that day Outbreak. The Adlers eat things like cookies and end up getting infected. The Millers avoid these and stay sane.

The logical conclusion is that the spread of Cordyceps started as a result of food containing a contaminated ingredient. A common ingredient between pancakes, cookies, cakes, and cookies — like flour — could be a likely culprit. Move, Spinach and Popeye: The New Transformative Food is Anything That Contains Flour. Only instead of giving you super strength, it turns you into a cordyceps host covered in mushroom vines. Yummy.

So… was it good to forget the pancake mix?

A corpse covered in mushrooms.

The result of eating a cookie?
Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO

As sad as Sarah was that Joel couldn’t celebrate his birthday with pancakes or a real cake, maybe his forgetfulness was for the best. Joel may have prevented his family from enjoying a sweet breakfast, but he also saved them from cordyceps exposure.

It’s little near misses like not eating a cookie that do the trick The last of us‘s apocalyptic outburst so frightening. In this world, a small change in routine can mean the difference between life and death, between normalcy and parasitic infection. With that in mind, these opening scenes and their clues to the true cause of the Cordyceps pandemic raise the stakes The last of us go forward. Any little thing can turn into a disaster for our heroes. Danger lurks around every corner…or sometimes it’s just embedded in your cookie.

The last of us airs every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max. The biscuits in ‘The Last of Us’ may hold a clue to how the outbreak started

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