The Last of Us EP12: Shooty Time

By Shamus
on Oct 24, 2014
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

It’s a credit to the game that after Bill was such an insufferable asshole I was able to feel sorry for him. He got a note from his partner that boiled down to “I never loved you.” He’s all alone in zombie town. He’s living a doomed existence. And then Ellie stole his porn. Poor guy.

Then again, maybe his existence wouldn’t be so bleak if he wasn’t a horrible, angry, bickering, confrontational, and borderline abusive human being. Maybe Bill’s curse isn’t living alone. Maybe his curse is being Bill.

Observe at 14:45, Ellie does a yawn. This might be the first natural-looking yawn in videogames. A yawn is one of those expressions that usually looks horrifying when done in videogames.

As they head into Pittsburgh, I joke that the zombies are gonna have the worst accent. Turns out a lot of people agree with this. The Pittsburgh accent was recently voted Americas Ugliest Accent. This is my favorite example of the accent and the culture that surrounds it. I’ve known quite a few Greg & Donny types in my day.

And now let’s nitpick this episode, because I can’t help myself.

Frank hung himself in a house with the doors and windows closed. The stench of the rotting corpse should have been overpowering when they entered. It should have been strong just getting near the place. Now, you could argue that it’s been so long that the worst of the smell has dissipated. But if that’s the case, then there’s no way the body is in good enough condition to see bite marks.

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202020206There are now 86 comments. Almost a hundred!

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  1. MichaelGC says:

    Awesome. Now we get a comment thread all about the relative pungency and/or integrity of rotting corpses based on various climatic and/or temporal conditions.

    ;D

  2. Jake Taylor says:

    My opinion is that the smell of rotting corpse is probably everywhere in this town, so it’s probably not a noticeable difference here.

    Although in truth, I’m guessing they just didn’t want to dilute the emotion of the scene by having everyone retch and complain that it stinks.

    • Geoff says:

      This was my initial reaction to his point. I didn’t think about it much when I was making my way through the game, but it seems easily missed in a town full of corpses. It seems like a stank you might get used to.

  3. Ledel says:

    To be fair, this happens right after you have a fight against a big fat half-dead guy in the form of a bloater (that was set on fire), and, most likely, no-one has had a decent shower/bath in years.

  4. guy says:

    Okay, how does Ellie know how to drive? Seriously, while they do apparently still have useful cars, I can’t imagine that random civilian children get driver’s ed.That can’t be a wise use of fuel.

    • Sorites says:

      Sam Hughes once wrote that “If you divert a stream of water over a pile of uraneous ore, you can build a working nuclear generator with stone-age technology…provided you have no standards of health and safety.”

      A large part of Driver’s Ed is dealing with laws and with other drivers. A six-year-old can drive a riding mower or farm tractor, with supervision. Since cars are still full of magic non-degrading gasoline, I reckon Ellie learned to drive (badly, by pre-apocalypse standards) easily enough.

      • guy says:

        It’s not terribly time-consuming, but it still cuts into fuel supplies. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to train children who are unlikely to ever have access to a car. I’d expect them to train people once they get jobs that require driving or involve leaving the perimeter.

    • guy says:

      I’m nursing the crazy theory that Ellie was some mad scientist project to make people genetically immune to the fungus to do all the jobs that risk infection and as a proof of concept for large-scale gene therapy. It would explain why she’s good with a gun and can drive, especially since it doesn’t seem like that’s expected of her in the setting.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Not to mention she knows how to clutch start it. I know how to drive and I culdn’t do it. I’ve seen expirienced drivers having a lot of problems with it. You don’t get it untill you do it enough times. And diesels might be more difficult to start this way.

      • Thomas says:

        I don’t think it’s really that hard. When I was about to start driving I assumed that the clutch would be the trickiest part, but pretty much everybody can do it right from the get go. The only time they bother really teaching you how to use the clutch in UK driving lessons is when you’re trying on a steep slope.

        You can still stall when you’re under pressure or not thinking straight but all it really is is ‘slowly lift your foot off a pedal until the car starts’. Experienced drivers stall because they’re trying to do it much much quicker than is necessary.

        If it was that difficult thing to do then UK drivers wouldn’t all drive manual cars because automatics would be much more convenient. Someone who drives automatics in the UK (and it’s not a sports car) is definitely unusual

        • guy says:

          America mostly uses automatics these days, though, so it’s a bit surprising Ellie already knows how. Not impossible, since she might have been taught just in case, but still a bit odd for a random quarantine zone resident.

          • Joe Informatico says:

            Yeah, I learned on stick, so it’s never been an issue for me. But various members of my family have tried to teach my cousin’s husband how to do it after 20+ years of only driving automatics, and he’s never been able to figure out the clutch.

          • BeardedDork says:

            I’m the service manager at a car dealership and I spend an absurdly large number of my weekends teaching employees of the dealership how to drive a manual transmission. I’m astounded at how uncommon this skill is.

            • Dave B. says:

              It’s not that easy to find a car with a manual transmission in the United States these days. You can find them, sure, but you have to look for them specifically. And if you’ve never owned one, you probably will never have learned to drive one either. Anecdote time! I bought such a car for myself when I was about 22. I brought my father along to the dealership to test drive it, and then again to drive it home for me because I didn’t want to learn in front of the salesman. But, Once I did start driving it, I learned to drive it pretty quickly.

        • Bryan says:

          Er, I believe 4th Dimension said “clutch start”, which — if I’m thinking of the same thing — is where you start the car rolling with the clutch disengaged, and then engage it, using the car’s inertia and the torque from the wheels headed “backwards” through the drive train, to get the engine to start. Because your battery is dead.

          • Thomas says:

            (Oh okay, that’s a push start or bump start where I’m from)
            —–
            But it’s exactly the same thing right? You start with the pedal pressed all the way down and then slowly lift your foot up until it catches?
            ——
            EDIT: ^Nope that’s nonsense it’s a lot harder sounding. Fair enough, Ellie shouldn’t really be able to do that

    • RTBones says:

      For me, its not so much that Ellie can drive. It is:

      1) She can drive a manual…a skill decidedly LACKING in the US these days.
      2) They actually find a truck with a MANUAL transmission. Not unheard of, but again, decidedly lacking in the US these days.

      But probably the biggest thing here?

      3) She knows how to pop the clutch to start a car and it works. This is a lot more difficult to do on newer cars than it used to be because of the way modern transmissions and drivetrains are built. Admittedly, the truck does have a cassette deck, dating it somewhat – but that begs the question of why it is still in any decent condition to drive to begin with.

      • Richard says:

        I suppose Frank is the deus ex machina – we can assume he scoured the area looking for a really old truck with a manual transmission, mechanical fuel pump, no ECU etc.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        It’s worth noting that Ellie spent much of her youth in a military boarding school/orphanage in the Boston quarantine zone.

        It can be assumed that she learned a lot about fighting and other practical skills there.

  5. Dt3r says:

    Loving the biology talk this season.

    One possible way around the entropy problem is if the fungus is actually a lichen. Then you have photosynthetic material to draw energy from, rather than destroying the body. There’s still a ton of problems, but come on… solar powered zombies!

  6. Ithilanor says:

    Really well-executed scenes with Bill; someone mentioned on a previous episode that this game isn’t afraid to have people talking over each other and interjecting, and it does it well. Walking Dead did it one better, though, by having that kind of conversations and letting you interact via Lee’s dialogue.

    I liked the initial cut from Ellie driving to Joel and Ellie in the truck, but that second cut ~14:30 seemed a little abrupt. Is that just me?

  7. Thomas says:

    Nah, the bullet system works really well in this game. Every shot you take feels really weighty, it throws off your aim and sometimes knocks you back. Id say it feels pretty spot on, sure as an observer a one-hit kill or some sort of luck system might feel better, but I doubt it would feel as frantic.

    Also I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Josh’ fighting style is _way_ more aggressive than mine. If you duck back into cover and move around a bit the enemies lose sight of you and you can flank them (or even go back into stealth mode).

    Speaking of which, can you go back into stealth mode against zombies? I never actually tried

    EDIT: As an example of just how different our playstyles are, I don’t know if I used my fists more than 2 or 3 times in the whole game

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Nah, the bullet system works really well in this game. Every shot you take feels really weighty, it throws off your aim and sometimes knocks you back. Id say it feels pretty spot on”

      For a single battle,yes.But doing another one not 10 minutes after that?Thats where it breaks.

  8. Isaac says:

    The combat A.I. in this game, especially that first Pittsburgh fight, is really good!

  9. The Rocketeer says:

    That Greg & Donny clip doesn’t even sound particularly severe to my Kentuckian ears. That’s really supposed to be the worst accent in America? Not a Valley Girl accent? Or Jersey, or Boston, or the Yuper?

    Not that, uh… Not that there’s anything wrong with those if you happen to be from those places.

    • Zerotime says:

      To me (an Australian) the Pittsburgh accent sounds kind of like someone from Boston pretending to be English. It’s still got nothing on an Ocker Australian accent, though.

      • Nidokoenig says:

        To me, an Englishman from Hertfordshire, it does have some sounds I recognise, like “ou” being pronounced “ah” in the style of a market stall owner yelling “any baskit of fruit f’r a pahnd”, with some Scots and Irish-like rhythms. I quite like it, it’s got some character, which is most of what gets accents a bad rap, if it’s distinctive you’ll remember the jagoff that talks like that, but a lot of idiots speaking something too weak to notice don’t form as strong an impression.

        For anyone who watched the Greg and Donny video and can’t quite put their finger on why it’s familiar, this might be hows come.

  10. Joseph says:

    Anybody else notice the typo in the subtitles right after they get the truck started? Bill says the “infected hear it to”, emphasis on “to”.

    I guess somebody has to be the one to make the most petty criticism in the comments. Might as well be me.

  11. I love all this CSI*-esque discussion about how long a hanging body could stay intact, show bite marks, etc. when it’s all an attempt to hand-wave the actual reason the corpse looked so fresh:

    It’s a video game. They didn’t want to create another body model. You get a ragdoll that looks as recently killed as any other.

    You might say he was…

    Puts on glasses.

    …a credit to the corpse.

    YEEEEAAAAAAHHHH!

    * Cut Scene Investigation

  12. Adam says:

    If that’s the worst accent people have ever heard, they must never have gone ANYWHERE in NY. Lawn Guyland accents are awful, but after going to school in upstate NY, I’ve come to the conclusion that the WHOLE STATE is an ugly accent breeding ground.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      I used to work in a call center, not the evil kind, but co-ordinating work with autoshops all across America. I’d talk to at least a couple dozen people from everywhere, everyday.

      It occurs to me now that I might have started to associate how much I liked people’s accents with how easy they were to work with. You say that area is a breeding ground for bad accents, but actually, I always liked hearing from people in New York or New Jersey, because they were always accommodating and easy to work with.

      On the contrary, I hate the Massachusetts accent because those people were total assholes, one hundred percent of the time. Nothing but problems. If you’re from either of those areas, try not to take that as an estimate of your actual populations, but of the auto shops in your area.

      Of course, I might not be the best authority for accents, since I apparently sound like a recording. At least once a day, I would answer the phone, greet the other person, and hear, “F***! I got a machine again!” As far as I know, no one else in the center had this problem.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yeah,the whole 20 years is just stupid.I mean ok,fungi have less stuff in them then people,so eating the host while growing ever larger can work.But that would require days,not years.Plus,a bloater would become a glass cannon at that point,soft and squishy,but projecting massive spore clouds that could instantly infect everyone in a wide radius.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So,giving a weapon to a child born into this zombi world,and thus most likely proficient with at least a few is a no go.But putting that kid into a car that she probably never even saw the interior of before,and without telling her anything about it* is a ok.I think joel is kind of an idiot.

    *Ok,it turns out she does know plenty.Nice lampshading.But joel is still an idiot.

    • Isaac says:

      Ellie is the lightest out of the three so they need to put her in the truck while they push.

      • guy says:

        While the weight thing does make sense, that has to be balanced against the risk that she’d crash into something and break an important component of their one functional vehicle. If it were literally her first time driving a car ever, that would be a significant risk even in this situation.

    • Dt3r says:

      Well yes, he’s an idiot. That’s rule #1 of a zombie apocalypse. Everyone immediately becomes an idiot and makes stupid choices, mostly so writers can add tension to the situation (because zombies aren’t scary enough, I guess).

      • Matt Downie says:

        See, that’s stage one of the zombie infection. It spreads through the air, causing poor reflexes, aggression and impulsive decision-making. When you’re bitten, it goes into stage two, and you become a full-blown zombie, even more sluggish and aggressive.

      • Tom says:

        It’s a little more subtle than that. Not everyone is always an idiot.

        However, as exemplified best by the latest Planet of the Apes movie, it seems to be a universal narrative law that any group of sentient beings in a post-apocalyptic situation will always contain at least one mindless, antisocial, constantly angry person whose only goal seems to be to actively and spectacularly ruin anything anyone else in the group ever tries to do, whilst having no plan whatsoever themselves, before dying a miserable and pointless death after learning nothing.

        If a group containing one such person splits into two, a formerly sensible member will usually step up to the plate to make sure each group has its quota of angry ruiners-of-everything. If two such groups merge, the surplus jerks MAY get their wits back, but this is by no means guaranteed.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      Joel is an idiot in this scene, yes. But he does have a reason for it.

      A.) He’s still getting to trust Ellie.
      B.) He still places extreme value on children being able to live as stereotypical, non-apocalypse children.

  15. Don’t tires degrade and go flat over a long period of time? I’d think having the entire weight of the truck on just that one section of tire for so long would be really bad for ’em.
    And my 2002 car has a tape deck, though granted it’s never been used to play an actual tape (just the adapter thing to listen to my mp3 player).

    • Dt3r says:

      Yeah, tires definitely do go bad. Rubber loses its flexibility after a while, as the tires “dry out” and degrade.

    • BeardedDork says:

      Tires lose about a pound of air pressure with every 20 degree change of temperature up or down, so yeah over 20 years those tires are all going to be completely flat.

      • Hitch says:

        Well, Frank was getting the truck ready to get out of town before he was bit. He stole Bill’s battery for it. He probably got the best tires he could find and put air in them. Maybe even gave the thing a lube job to get it rolling good so it was easier to push start. And of course rounded up enough miraculously still volatile gasoline to fill the tank.

  16. Phantos says:

    To continue Chris’ opening thought: if a zombie was riding on a zamboni and became aroused, would it have a zomboner?

  17. Keldoclock says:

    I came *so* close to seeing Josh brick someone in the face, and he tried to throw it!

    Josh, don’t you know that the humble brick is the best melee weapon in the game?

  18. When Josh said “What the fuck just happened?” I actually thought he was commenting on the ridiculous fact that he shot a man at point blank range with a shotgun and all it did was make him stumble backwards momentarily and not…y’know, remove everything contained in his mid torso like it should have.

    *jazz hands* VIDEOGAME LOGIC!!! *jazz hands*

  19. Guvnorium says:

    There is, in fact, a zombie movie where the keep zombies out of Pittsburgh in exactly the way Shamus muses would work. It’s called “Land of the Dead.”

  20. Vect says:

    I remember watching the scene with Bill from the Two Best Friends and they were really impressed about the fact that not only could you give the letter to Bill, you could also pick the letter back up so that it remains a collectible.

    Honestly though, I really liked that scene. The actor did a really good job of sounding sad and heartbroken without it coming off as overwrought, especially how he’s clearly holding back tears as he reads the note.

  21. Jarenth says:

    Jesus. Why would you ever give that note to Bill? The man just found out that his friend and former partner killed himself, after being infected, while in the process of trying to escape the town. Do you really need to add ‘oh, and by the way, he never really loved you, everything you think you two had was a lie’ to that mix?

    Maybe afterwards you can go into the yard and find out that Bill’s dog didn’t really run away to go live on a farm.

  22. RCN says:

    Wow, this Pittsburg talk was extremely uncomfortable for me. I know it is mostly joking around, but here in Brazil we just had an election where the main argument of the extreme right was that the country’s North and Northwest (the poorest areas of the country that got massive improvements with the current reelected government) is a bunch of uneducated, stupid sub-humans who have no idea how to vote while they were following the right-wing media that spouts accusations without even forged evidence like gospel.

    Sorry, probably a politically charged comment. But it was an argument that made my blood boil. I’m strange because I was born and live in the centrally-located capital, but my mother is from this “uneducated” north and my father from the “elite” south, so I know both sides of the coin and I know how absurdly ignorant and arrogant the south can be (not my father, but the region) while I know how clever and resourceful the northerns are. And this Pittsburg talk reminded me a lot of this vitriolic poison spewed all around twitter and facebook during the election… Especially because the south considers the north-eastern accent to be “ugly and dumb”.

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