If you’re as obsessed with HBO’s THE LAST OF US as much as I am, then you’ll understand my wanting to know the “HOW” and “WHEN” behind the Cordyceps infection taking over the world. After watching up through Episode 6, here is what I’ve compiled from the series for a timeline.
This time-line isn’t a Show Bible by any means. Most years listed below are a best guess based on conversations between characters as the story develops.
Marlon and Lou move to a small ranch in rural Wyoming near Jackson Hole.
Dr. Neuman appears on an ABC talk show and discusses his concerns about an incurable global pandemic due to fungi. He stresses this is possible if the world gets warmer and the fungi evolve to sustain in a human host.
Richard Dreyfuss’ movie Goodbye Girl is released.
Contractors re-frame the structure of a building on Haymarket in Boston, cutting down on apartment sizes to sell more condos.
Tommy enlists in the U.S. Military and is sent to the Middle East for Operation Desert Storm.
10 miles outside of Boston, in the small town of Lincoln, Massachusetts, Bill starts prepping for an end of the world scenario.
Tuesday, September 23rd
The first signs of Cordyceps infection starts at a flour and grain factory on the west side of Jakarta. An infected woman bites at least 3 co-workers. All 3 are taken for observation. A few hours later, all 3 are executed by Police. 14 other factory workers go missing. The Cordyceps Pandemic has begun.
Wednesday, September 24th
After conducting an autopsy on the infected woman, Doctor Ratna Pertiwi is the first to acknowledge that Cordyceps have infected a human. Not knowing who Patient Zero is, she advises the military to bomb the city to prevent the infection from spreading.
“Bomb. Start bombing. Bomb this city and everyone in it.”
Knowing there is no surviving the oncoming Pandemic, Dr. Pertiwi asks to be driven home to spend her remaining time with family.
Thursday, September 25th
The Indonesian Military begins to bomb Jakarta under the guise of civil unrest.
A perfect substrate, The Cordyceps fungus tainted consumables (flour and grain) are spread across the globe.
Friday, September 26th
Joel’s 36th birthday.
The cordyceps tainted food spread across the globe via consumable goods: grains, sugar, flour (cake, pancake mix, biscuits, raisin cookies).
Sarah sneaks into Austin to fix Joel’s broken watch and sees above normal Police activity.
People begin to show symptoms of the Cordyceps fungal infection that afternoon (coughing, muscle spasms, slurred speech) and become fully infected by that evening.
Tommy is jailed in Travis County over a bar fight.
Saturday, September 27th
Sarah finds Nana Adler has been infected.
Joel warns their neighbor Denise to stay in her house. Tommy runs over Mr. and Mrs. Adler who’ve become infected.
Joel, Tommy, and Sarah leave their unnamed Austin, Texas suburb. Cellular and radio services end. Airplanes fall out of the sky. The Army is mobilized.
The Military is ordered to “Kill on site” any questionable survivors.
Sarah is killed by the military after midnight on the first night of the outbreak.
Monday, September 30th
The U.S. military start to round up survivors and moves them to quarantine encampments across the U.S. Not every citizen rounded up is taken to an encampment. Some are disposed of by firing squad if there isn’t enough room. Authorities prioritize Military Personnel, Doctors, and other Medical Professions.
Bill eludes the military in Lincoln, Massachusetts and remains hidden in his well-stocked bunker. He begins to fortify his rural Massachusetts neighborhood.
The U.S. Military begins bombing various cities across the country with the hopes of stopping the infection from spreading.The U.S. Military begins to take control of the government and forms FEDRA (Federal Disaster Response Agency). FEDRA begins to establish Quarantine Zones (QZ) in larger U.S. cities (Kansas City, Boston, Atlanta).
Survivors in Kansas City begin to move underground and form settlements to avoid the infected and other survivors.
FEDRA completly takes over the U.S. government and established a new Constitution.
FEDRA’s new laws include the following bylaws:
EMC 342.3: Unauthorized Exit from a Quarantine Zone.
EMC 342.7: Unauthorized Entry into a Quarantine Zone.
EMPA, Article 1, Section 5 authorized sentences of death by execution for EMC violations.
FEDRA establishes a ZERO TOLERANCE rule for infected survivors, executing them on site.
Monkeys escape or are left free from the University of Colorado labs and establish a home on the University’s campus.
The Atlanta QZ begins to make “bullets and pills” in a converted factory to supply to other QZs.
Survivors in the U.S. form The Fireflies to rebel against FEDRA.
Scientists invent a device to test for the Cordyceps infection in humans.
Joel and Tommy meet Tess and another group of survivors. They make their way from Texas to Boston. Joel, Tess, and Tommy are the only ones to survive the cross-country trek.
Joel’s watch is damaged.
Humans infected with the Cordyceps fungus, nicknamed “Runners”, begin the second stage of the infection and become Stalkers. After roughly a year of their infection they then develop into the third stage, Clickers.
The Baltimore QZ falls. Frank and 9 others flee but only Frank survives while walking to Boston.
On his way to the Boston QZ, Frank meets Bill. The two form a close bond.
Ellie is born and put in a FEDRA Military School for orphans.
Bill and Frank meet Joel and Tess. Tess and Frank decide to use the Radio as a way to transmit coded messages. Bill and Frank begin trading with Joel and Tess.
60s song – Nothing in
70s song – New stock
80s song – Trouble
Raiders unsuccessfully attack Lincoln. Bill is shot.
The Clickers who have been infected since the initial days of the outbreak of their Cordyceps infection in 2003 begin to develop into the final stage of the infection, Bloaters.
The Jackson, Wyoming commune is established by Omaha, Nebraska District Attorney Maria Miller.
The Philadelphia QZ falls because of FEDRA and The Fireflies. David leads a small group of survivors west.
Tommy joins The Fireflies and leaves the Boston QZ.
Ellie meets Riley and the two start a friendship.
Kansas City FEDRA drive the Clickers into tunnels running beneath the city.
Joel and Tess make a smuggling run out of the Boston QZ.
A Clicker makes his way into the subway tunnels beneath Haymarket Street in the Boston QZ. Beneath a red-tagged building near Stillman & Cross the Clicker completes its life cycle.
Ellie and Riley are attacked and bitten by a Clicker in a closed off Mall after Riley tries to enlist Ellie into The Fireflies. Riley is killed but Ellie does not succumb to the infection and is taken by Marlene and The Fireflies for testing and observation.
Having left for Wyoming with the Fireflies, and then leaving them, Tommy ends radio communication with Joel.
Joel and Tess meet with Marlene and agree to take Ellie to a Firefly outpost in Boston, the old state house. The Fireflies are hoping to take Ellie west and use her to finally find a cure for the Cordyceps infection. After becoming infected, Tess sacrifices herself to save Joel and Ellie.
After living with a degenerative disorder for several years, Frank notices his painting skills are fading.
Not wanting his health decline to burden Bill, Frank asks Bill to help him commit suicide. After getting married and enjoying a final meal, the same menu as their first meal together, the two end their lives. In a letter, Bill leaves all his belongings to Joel and asks him to protect Tess.
Tired of FEDRA’s tyrannical Mob-like ruling, and after FEDRA murder the rebellion’s leader, Michael, the Kansas City survivors unite under the former leader’s sister Kathleen and overthrow FEDRA.
After visiting Bill’s compound, Joel and Ellie make their way to Kansas City with the help of Bill’s truck and supplies.
The Kansas City QZ likely falls when the Clickers are accidentally released from under the city.
3 months after leaving Kansas City, Joel and Ellie meet Marlon and Lou outside of Jackson, Wyoming. Joel and Tommy are reunited at the Jackson commune sometime around Christmas.