Jan 22, 2023
‘The Last of Us’ Shocks With First Surprise Death of the Season
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Just when you think things couldn’t look more bleak in the land of The Last of Us, the second episode comes along to sucker punch you right in the gut with a boatload of misery. I hope you all heeded my suggestion to get tissues—once again, I do recommend keeping them handy for every single episode.
Without further ado—mainly because my tears are still falling—let’s unpack all that happened in episode two of HBO’s The Last of Us.
(Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Last of Us.)
Much like the first episode, this second installment also opens up in the past. It’s Sept. 24, 2003, in Indonesia—two days before Outbreak day in the United States—and Ibu Ratna, a professor of mycology at the University of Indonesia, is being hastily escorted by the military to a hospital to evaluate a strange new case. Sadly, at this point, we all know what she is about to discover: Cordyceps is now able to survive and host within human beings, and it can be spread via a bite from an infected human. A warning to anyone squeamish: the gross little fungi have quite the spotlight in this episode, so be prepared.
Horrified by her findings and the news of how quickly the infection is spreading, Ratna gives the military some grim news: There is no vaccine for something like this, and the best course of action is to start bombing the city and everyone in it.HBO
The show then jumps back to the present, as Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) contemplate what to do now that they know Ellie (Bella Ramsey) is infected and immune. Joel is not convinced that Ellie won’t turn into a ravenous monster, but as every minute ticks by without any change, Tess becomes more and more convinced that her immunity is the real deal.
Tess, played perfectly by Torv, confronts Ellie and asks for the truth about one not-so-simple thing—why is she so damn important to Marlene (Merle Dandridge)? Ellie, despite being instructed to not tell a soul the real reason of her importance, finally lets it spill. There is a Firefly base camp in the West with doctors working on a cure, and they think her immunity is the key to make a vaccine. Despite the revelation, Joel remains skeptical and wants to turn back, but Tess pleads that they press forward. Special shoutout to Bella Ramsey for channeling the Ellie sarcasm at the end of this heavy scene with a hilarious impression of the Infected.HBO
Tess successfully convinces Joel to go along, and the trio continues on their journey through the devastated streets of post-apocalyptic Boston. Faced with two options—“the long way” or “the fucking you are dead way”—the three opt to make their way to a lookout point. As they walk, Tess prods Ellie for more information about her life, like where she was bit (in an abandoned Boston mall) and if she has parents or a boyfriend that will be looking for her (orphan and lol no, by the way).
When they reach their destination—an abandoned, flooded and overgrown hotel—Ellie messes around a bit in the lobby; after all, she’s never seen or been in a hotel before. It’s a nice little shout-out to a section of the video game, where this similar bit of childlike wonder is displayed and becomes a cute bonding moment for her and Joel. However, the presence of a dead body spoils the fun pretty quickly. (An important fact to note in this scene is that Ellie doesn’t know how to swim; to fellow gamers, don’t worry—there are no wooden pallets in this episode.)
The trio finally climb up to their lookout, and a ghastly sight awaits them, as hordes of the Infected are crawling all around the city. Tess clues Ellie in on the horrifying ways that the cordyceps are connected to those who are infected, and that while she may be protected from turning into a monster, Ellie is not safe from being ripped apart. In the games, there are areas that have a heavy amount of spores in the air, which forces the characters to wear gas masks so they don’t inhale them and become infected. In the show, spores have been replaced with tendrils; basically, the fungus that causes the infection also grows into the ground, and if you step on cordyceps in one place, you could wake infected miles and miles away. Worse, they would know exactly where you are, and they would come running. Terrifying, right?
With hundreds of Infected in front of one path, the group decides to travel to the Boston state house through the museum, which, like most places outside the Quarantine Zone (QZ), is abandoned and possibly (and probably) filled with Infected. Here, I am delighted to tell you, you will meet your first clicker. Did that very first click send a shiver down your spine? Welcome to the terror.
Clickers are one of the more prominently featured and most deadly infected creatures. They get their wonderful name from the clicking sound they emit to share their location. They are blind, but thanks to giant fungus plates growing out of their heads, they have excellent echolocation, meaning if you step on the wrong piece of glass—you better run. They are quick, aggressive, tough to kill, and very deadly. Joel, Tess, and Ellie’s intense encounter with these clickers really highlight just how terrifying they are. Did you hold your breath that entire scene, or was it just me?
Despite facing off against some especially hostile clickers, the group makes it out of the museum alive. They are extremely shaken, a bit bruised and Ellie got another bite mark, but hey, she’s immune, she can take it. Now comes the easy part—walking across a wooden plank to the next rooftop. After what they just faced, this is nothing. As Ellie says, “That was scary, this is wood.” As a self-described superfan of the video game, seeing the iconic imagery of Ellie crossing on the wooden plank gave me goosebumps. So did Bella Ramsey’s reading of the iconic line, “Man, you can’t deny that view.”
Joel, Tess, and Ellie finally make it to the state house, but they do not receive the warm welcome they expected. The group of Fireflies they were supposed to meet lie dead at their feet. Yet that is not the most devastating thing we are about to learn: Turns out that our beloved Tess has been infected. This cutscene was a particularly moving one in the video game, as it completely blindsided the player. The show honors that exact feeling by giving Anna Torv and Pedro Pascal the opportunity to absolutely rip your heart out, while putting its own spin on the scene. Like I said, keep tissues handy.
Tess sacrifices herself to blow up a giant hoard of Infected. Now a duo, Joel and Ellie continue their journey West to find the Fireflies. Next stop: Bill and Frank’s.
Remember: “Save who you can save.” Okay, I’m going to continue to cry now. See you next Sunday!
News Source: thedailybeast.com
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49ers Have Deebo Samuel-Type to Deal With Sunday, NFC Scout Says
Getty Deebo Samuel catches and runs against Alex Singleton on September 19, 2021 in Philadelphia.
Deebo Samuel is lauded for his explosive versatility. He and Christian McCaffrey share that role as the running/receiving threats who will set foot at Lincoln Financial Field for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, January 29.
But the Philadelphia Eagles have their “Deebo” the 49ers must contain with the NFC title on the line, as one NFC scout told Heavy NFL senior reporter Matt Lombardo on Friday, January 27: Wide receiver A.J. Brown.
“He’s like Deebo Samuel, where he’s big, strong, fast, and a great route runner. The Eagles’ offensive coordinator does a great job scheming him open when he gets the ball. A.J. is special,” the NFC Scout, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Lombardo.
And the former Tennessee Titan Brown has brought the flair for dynamics to Philly following the blockbuster NFL trade that sent him to the Eagles in exchange for the 18th and No. 101 overall pick on draft night. Brown was later rewarded with a four-year, $100 million deal after the deal between the Titans and Eagles were made. Now, Brown will witness his first career conference title game.How Impactful Brown Became
The 25-year-old established himself as a back-to-back 1,000-yard wide receiver in his first two seasons in the league. But he witnessed a massive numbers spike in his first season with the NFC’s top seed.
Brown would go on to accomplish his first 80-catch season by snatching 88 footballs for Philly. His yards rose to 1,496 for another career-high. Lastly, he tied a previous career-best with 11 touchdowns. And he hit those numbers as a 25-catch, 627-yard and six touchdown increase from his 2021 season with the Titans. But along with his numbers spike, his presence created more openings for two other monster talents on the Eagles.
“Brown didn’t just feast as the Eagles’ top vertical threat, catching 88 of 137 targets for 1,496 yards with 11 touchdowns, his presence opened up opportunities for DeVonta Smith on the perimeter and tight end Dallas Goedert underneath in the Eagles scheme, all season long,” Lombardo wrote.
Smith ended up as the receptions leader with 95 while Goedert caught 55 passes in 12 games. Brown even brings a lead blocker element to the Eagles on plays where he’s not the No. 1 option — as proven on this Smith touchdown from the Divisional round romp of the New York Giants.
The 6 for 6 special in playoff form@DeVontaSmith_6 | #NYGvsPHI | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/VsmHwAQsSP
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 22, 2023
He averaged 88 yards per game this past regular season while producing five 100-yard receiving games. And now, he’ll join fellow 2019 second rounder Samuel in the NFC title game.How 49ers can Counter
While Brown has brought more flash to a high-powered Eagles attack, the 49ers pose a different challenge — as the league’s best unit that’s additionally been skilled at forcing takeaways and limiting aerial yards.
“Brown’s ability to get behind a 49ers secondary that is allowing only 222 receiving yards per game could prove critical to the Eagles’ chances of winning a game where points will undoubtedly be difficult to come by,” Lombardo wrote.
Bracket coverage is imminent for Brown, with the Ward duo of Charvarius and safety Jimmie likely aligned his side. The 49ers likely won’t hesitate to run three different double teams in certain scenarios, which was seen in a crucial red zone sequence from the Divisional round win over the Dallas Cowboys as noted by the NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger. That was a play DeMeco Ryans called that saw Charvarius Ward draw solo coverage on Cowboys No. 1 WR CeeDee Lamb in the end zone while the slot, tight end and the second WR option were doubled.
However, noted by The Athletic’s Zach Berman and Bo Wulf on Saturday, January 28, the Eagles may get convinced to run more 12 personnel (two tight end sets) against the Niners. The reason?
“Against 12 personnel, it [the 49ers defense] dropped to 14th in the league,” they wrote citing TruMedia. “Meanwhile, the Eagles were the best passing team in the league out of 12 personnel.”
That means rolling with an extra tight end could put Brown in more one-on-one’s — something Ryans and the 49ers must be mindful of.
But if Brown gets either Charvarius Ward or Deommodore Lenoir in coverage, here’s what he’s walking into:
Ward: The 49ers’ CB1 has produced 11 games of surrendering three catches or less according to Pro Football Reference Advanced Stats. He additionally went from allowing seven catches for 105 yards and a TD his side in the Wild Card round to dropping those numbers to five grabs for 43 yards his side against Dallas.
Lenoir: The “hyena” has surrendered just two catches his side in both playoff wins. Furthermore, he’s snatched a team-best two interceptions in the playoffs.
Brown is the “Deebo” on Philly. He’s the latest versatile gauntlet for the NFL’s best defensive unit — but one S.F. could add to a growing list of 2022 season WRs who struggled facing this 49ers defense.