Where The Fireflies Went In The Last Of Us Episode 6 (& Why They Left)

Warning! This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 6 and the original game.The Last of Us episode 6 ends on a bleak note, with Joel and Ellie unable to come into contact with the Fireflies. After making it to Wyoming and finding Joel’s brother Tommy, the duo is told by Tommy (Gabriel Luna) to travel to the University of Eastern Colorado. According to the former Firefly, the revolutionist militia group have a base camp on the university grounds with Joel and Ellie heading out to find them and allow them to extract a cure for the Cordyceps infection from Ellie’s immunity.

However, upon reaching the university towards the end of The Last of Us episode 6, Joel and Ellie find it devoid of Fireflies. After searching around for signs of where the Fireflies are, Pedro Pascal’s Joel and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie are attacked by a group of armed assailants who stab Joel in The Last of Us episode 6’s major cliffhanger. Before this though, Joel manages to find hints of the Fireflies’ location, with the original game shedding light on why they moved from Colorado.

The Fireflies Left The University For Salt Lake City

After searching for signs of the Fireflies, Joel finds a board with a map of the Mountain States of North America. The map contains many pins forging paths throughout the United States converging on Salt Lake City. These different trails show the journeys of different Firefly groups, which have all traveled to be together in Salt Lake City from all over the country. This includes the group that was set up in Colorado, with Joel and Ellie missing them and now having to travel to Utah to fulfill their journey.

With the Fireflies converging on Salt Lake City in both HBO’s TV video game adaptation and the original The Last of Us, the burning question is why and what is going on to cause them to intersect. One hint to this can be seen on the map Joel and Ellie look at in The Last of Us episode 6, which tracks with the remainder of the story as seen in the original The Last of Us game. On the map, a small piece of paper is taped over Salt Lake City which reads « St. Mary’s ». In the original game, Saint Mary’s is a hospital from which the Fireflies operate.

What’s Happening In Salt Lake City In The Last Of Us?

The reason why the Fireflies congregate here surrounds the main story of The Last of Us and the resolution of Ellie’s journey. As established in The Last of Us episode 1, Marlene wants to take Ellie to more equipped Fireflies to extract a cure for the Cordyceps infection using Ellie’s The Last of Us immunity. This explains the hospital at Salt Lake City, as the Fireflies likely need much more advanced medical supplies than the likes of the various QZs or other hideouts possess. In moving to Saint Mary’s Hospital, the Fireflies are likely already preparing for Ellie’s arrival, so they can create a vaccine.

How The Fireflies Fit Into The Last Of Us’ Future

Warning! This section contains major spoilers for the original The Last of Us game.This also provides an explanation of how the Fireflies tie into the future of The Last of Us. With three episodes remaining after episode 6, the show will delve much deeper into the Fireflies in differing ways. The final episode will likely see Joel and Ellie reach Saint Mary’s Hospital and find the Fireflies if HBO’s show follows the events of The Last of Us game closely. This will see the Fireflies attempt to extract a cure from Ellie, with Marlene present and leading the operation. However, Marlene also reveals that taking a cure will kill Ellie, which Joel refuses to allow before killing every single Firefly and saving Ellie.

Another way the Fireflies will tie into The Last of Us’ final three episodes is through Riley. Riley is a former Firefly who was friends with Ellie before the latter was bitten. This was hinted at in The Last of Us’ premiere by Marlene. Given how The Last of Us episode 7 is titled « Left Behind » – the same title as the DLC which told Ellie and Riley’s story – it is clear that episode will feature Storm Reid as Riley. Through this, the show may provide more depth to the Fireflies, and prove how they’ve affected Ellie’s past just as much as her The Last of Us future.

New episodes of The Last of Us release every Sunday on HBO.