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What is FEDRA in The Last of Us?

FEDRA in The Last of Us

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The first episode of HBO’s The Last of Us introduces us to a new world overrun by a fungal infection. Yet, there are still functioning cities amidst the wasteland, or, at the very least, Boston still survives and is run by a group called FEDRA.

Spoilers to follow for episode 1. 

FEDRA in The Last of Us so far

The show hasn’t explained a lot, so far, about what FEDRA is and who runs it. Without going into an explanation of how FEDRA functioned in the game, there are some things we can presume from what we saw in the show. 

  • FEDRA appears to be derived from some sort of government entity. We briefly see on a poster that FEDRA stands for the Federal Disaster Response Agency. Whether this entity replaced the government or is run by a still-standing federal government is unclear. 
  • FEDRA runs on a totalitarian system, where citizens are controlled by violence and steep punishment (we see this in the power the police have over the population and the public executions performed early in the second half of the episode). It’s unclear whether there is one person at the top of the organization/government or whether it’s a group of people calling the shots (perhaps one per still-standing city?).
  • They will likely be a threat to Joel, Tess, and Ellie as the season progresses.

What is FEDRA in The Last of Us game? 

If you played the game, you’d recall that after the spread of the infection, FEDRA replaced the United States government in a power grab involving the military. They were in charge of quarantining the situation after the outbreak reached catastrophic levels and were thus given military control. From there, they basically used their control of the military to keep the authority they were given. Given that the spread of the infection killed upwards of 60% of the population, leaving everything (economy, healthcare, etc.) in chaos, they were the only organization which retained any real sense of power, as they were in charge of determining whether a person was infected or not. Because people, understandably, were afraid of infection spreading, they allowed FEDRA to enact harsh protocols of containment, which, over the years, led to FEDRA’s iron grip on some of the remaining cities. Yet, by the time the game begins, FEDRA’s power is waning, relegated to only a few cities. 

You can find a longer explanation on The Last of Us game wiki

FEDRA in The Last Of Us

How Will FEDRA Differ in the Show?

One of the most interesting things about The Last of Us is that we haven’t seen the leader of FEDRA. Given the harsh dictator is a trope of the post-apocalyptic genre, I wonder if the lack of a figurehead suggests that FEDRA won’t be a significant part of the show going forward? Yet, it could also be that they didn’t want to introduce another antagonist yet.

I am assuming that FEDRA will hear of Ellie’s immunity and will want her for their own goals (whether nefarious or not). Given the setup with the Fireflies in the show, I’d be surprised if FEDRA is left behind in Boston.

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T. S. Beier is obsessed with science fiction, the ruins of industry, and Fallout. She is the author of What Branches Grow, a post-apocalyptic novel (which was a Top 5 Finalist in the 2020 Kindle Book Awards and a semi-finalist in Hugh Howey's 2021 Self-Published Science Fiction Competition) and the Burnt Ship Trilogy (space opera). She is a book reviewer, editor, freelance writer, and co-owner of Rising Action Publishing Co. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, two feral children, and a Shepherd-Mastiff.

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