Why is Ellie immune to the cordyceps on The Last of Us series?

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in The Last of Us Episode 9. Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO
Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in The Last of Us Episode 9. Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO /

We’ve known since the beginning of the Last of Us series that Ellie is immune to the cordyceps who take control of any human unfortunate enough to be bitten by one of the Infected. Said immunity was tested in season 1, showcasing that her recovery from the bite she’d sustained in the abandoned mall hadn’t been a fluke.

No other person on the series has been as fortunate. Once they’ve been infected, they may have days or as short as hours or minutes before their mind succumbs to the control of the fungi. Why is Ellie immune to their affect? The show’s season 1 finale, “Look for the Light,” answered that question and it all has to do with the moment of her birth.

Why is Ellie immune to the coryceps in The Last of Us?

In the opening sequence of episode 9, we met Ellie’s mom, Anna. She’d been in the throws of labor when she was attacked by one of the Infected she was trying to escape. Anna killed the being with her folding pocket knife but, in the process, she’d not only been bitten, she’d also given birth to Ellie.

Due to her umbilical cord, Ellie was introduced to cordyceps as a newborn. Anna lied and said she’d cut the cord before her daughter was born, hoping that her friend, Marlene, would take her baby and keep her safe. Marlene was skeptical but took Ellie anyway before mercy killing Anna.

Cordyceps find their resting spot in one’s brain, so the fungi Ellie had inherited from her mother grew with her brain. As such she naturally produces a chemical signal that makes new cordyceps introduced to her bloodstream believe she is already a part of their fungal system. It is because of this chemical that the fungus doesn’t take over her mind (and therefore her body).

That’s why Ellie is the key to finding a cure for cordycep infection.

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Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more The Last of Us news and coverage! The series has been renewed for a second season on HBO.