Have you been watching HBO’s new show, The Last of Us?
Based on the 2013 video game of the same name, the show depicts a post-apocalyptic 2023 in a world that has been overtaken with a mass fungal virus that turns those who are infected into zombie-like creatures.
The plot follows the adventures of a survivor named Joel, who is tasked with protecting the life of a fourteen-year old girl who is immune to the virus.
Stories set in post-apocalyptic landscapes are nothing new to Hollywood. Shows and movies like The Book of Eli, I Am Legend, the Mad Max series The Road, The Stand, and The Walking Dead series all come to mind.
While each of these shows and films and others like them are well made and entertaining, here’s a big question you may not have asked yourself: how accurate are these movies and shows at depicting how to actually survive in the apocalyptic wastelands they depict?
Do the characters make wise moves, or do they make bad mistakes that would get you grievously injured or killed in reality?
Survival Mistakes In The Last of Us
Let’s answer that question for the Last of Us. Yes, this show is a fantasy and about a ‘zombie apocalypse’ much like the Walking Dead, but it does attempt to take on a more realistic approach to what a zombie apocalyptic scenario would look like.
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In that spirit, there aren’t many glaring mistakes that are evident in The Last of Us, but there are a few that are worth mentioning. There’s a few important lessons we can learn from the show that are worth mentioning as well.
How Did Bill Power The Entire Town?
One of the characters in The Last of Us is a hardcore survivalist named Bill, who essentially turns his neighborhood into a fortress after he’s the only one left.
Bill displays numerous good survival skills and instincts that we can all learn from, and we’ll get into those below.
However, there are a few moments where the show really pushes the boundaries of believability.
Bill is literally the only one left in the town, and he keeps the entire place up and running for over two decades along with his partner. What’s unbelievable about this is how he manages to ensure the electrical fence serving as the perimeter is up and running 24/7, as are his security cameras and power throughout the neighborhood.
While we see Bill using a generator to run all of the above, there’s no way in real life a generator could be used for all of it.
This leads one to believe that the town’s power is still being run by the local power plant and pressurized natural gas, but the sheer level of maintenance that both would require over twenty years would be far too much for one or two people to maintain themselves, let alone people who are not experienced in power plants.
The Shelf Life Of Certain Products
A glaring mistake in The Last of Us is the unrealistic shelf lives of certain products, such as gasoline. In reality, regular gasoline has a shelf life of between three and six months.
How the characters in The Last of Us manage to prolong it over the course of decades.
Using additives may seem like the obvious answer, but do they really have access to gasoline additives everywhere they go? This is never clearly explained or hinted at.
Regardless, believing that your gasoline, food, and other critical supplies can have a shelf life of 20+ years is a mistake that can put you in danger.
With anything that you stockpile, think ahead about how you can extend the shelf life of your products as much as possible.
Bill’s Defense Of The Compound
One sequence depicts Bill defending his compound against an attack by raiders.
But the way he defends it is very questionable, to say the least.
One mistake is Bill’s position. We see him standing out in the open firing his rifle at his opponents.
And while the show does realistically show Bill getting shot, one would think that a survivalist with Bill’s instincts and skills would be more wisely shooting from behind a position of cover.
Furthermore, Bill’s weapon of choice to defend his compound against multiple opponents is also questionable. He uses a Remington bolt action hunting rifle, which has low capacity and slow reloading times in between each shot.
One would think that a survivalist like Bill would be defending his compound with a semi-automatic rifle (such as an AR-15 or a Mini-14) with a greater capacity and faster rate of fire.
Survival Lessons From The Last of Us
Besides the above mistakes, it’s also worth mentioning the lessons that can be learned from The Last of Us as well.
Rely On Your Instincts And Act Decisively
One such lesson is to rely on your intuition and to take action quickly and decisively.
This is a trait that we see repeatedly with the lead character, Joel, and it shows in his traits and actions repeatedly throughout the show.
Never do we see Joel freezing up or freaking out under duress or in the face of violent situations. Keep this in mind or yourself if you ever find yourself in a dangerous survival situation as well.
Scavenge As Much Abandoned Goods As You Can
As soon as the disaster strikes, we see Bill immediately heading out in his truck to scavenge as much abandoned goods and necessities as he can. He fills up tanks with gasoline and oil, loads up on basic goods and necessities that have been left neglected, and even heads over to a gas plant for extra energy supplies.
If the grid ever goes down, it won’t take for society to break down and for looters and marauders to take to the streets. That’s why you should head out in the early minutes or hours of a grid down to take as many resources as you can early on.
Fill up your sinks and bathtubs with water before the water shuts off, head down to the grocery store to buy as much supplies as you can before they become overrun with people, and pick up and take with you any abandoned supplies you can find lying around on the ground.
Make Use Of All The Resources You Can
We also see Joel and Bill being exceptionally resourceful in the show as well. Joel siphons for gasoline using a straw and his mouth (yes, you can siphon for gasoline in this manner safely), while Bill hacks down trees for wood with an ax and chainsaw as well.
Even though its primary focus is delivering on entertainment value, The Last of Us still has something to teach us about surviving in a post-apocalyptic world. There are some mistakes or things that go unexplained in the show, but there are a few crucial lessons about survival it provides as well.
What are some other post-apocalyptic movies or shows that you’d like us to analyze? Let us know!
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