If you played the game like I did you were probably looking forward to the season finale of HBO’s Last of Us adaptation in which Joel tears through a hospital full of fireflies to save Ellie’s life. The internet has been filled with discussions of whether Joel was right to do what he did.
But all these arguments are irrelevant because there is no way that the doctor had IRB approval. I jest, because the fireflies almost certainly don’t have anything like an IRB (Institutional Review Board). What organization gets ahold of the first (as far as we know) person with immunity to cordyceps and decides the best route is to immediately kill them? The doctors could have run blood tests. They could have tried to infect Ellie on purpose to study how her body reacts. They had lots of non-destructive options and the fact that the fireflies wouldn’t question this clearly insane doctor who decided to kill the patient upon first meeting doesn’t bode well for their organization’s survival.
Obviously, writers for both the game and show probably went with this ending because it is the easiest to convey. It would be difficult to convey a long series of boring, uncomfortable, unethical tests. But people make bad decisions all the time so who knows maybe this scenario is more realistic than I’m giving it credit. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that bleeding and leeches were standard practice.
On a related note, why don’t the fireflies try to build their own communities? There’s obviously plenty of room and Tommy’s commune shows that it is possible. With their networks and resources, the fireflies should be able to build and protect at least one commune of their own.