aerb (aerb) wrote,
aerb
aerb

The Last of Tessa

I know. Title spoilers. I'm not editing myself.

There's a fair amount of story and direction change in this segment, even though it's short.

First, something has been kind of bothering me about Ellie's name. It invokes Helen of Troy for me. In a sense, this entire story is "going to war" or dying over Ellie, especially after the segment today, so I can see that having some relevance. I'm not sure how far we're supposed to take it, but I think that lens adds a little sense of urgency.

I don't want to get too far into name meanings because then I'll end up with Tessa Jowell because her name has Joel and Tessa in it, but that doesn't make any fucking sense, so I'm shutting up now. Just something to think about.

Though Joel does have "guide" connotations, and Tessa means "harvester," but no one even cares but me.

There isn't really anything else to be done in the museum. I back-tracked thinking I might find some goodies or something, but there's a programming bug once you leave the room where you found Tessa. At the end of the hall that should lead to the stair well, there's just a big open wall with a blue car and some nice suburban houses and trees. I walked through it, and Joel takes a huge fall into darkness, resulting in his death.

So. This game isn't perfect. They couldn't even spare a couple seconds to put a broken doorknob behind you or program Joel to stop and say 'we need to keep going.' It's the little things, game.

That said, you climb down some more broke fire escapes (I get it's post-apocalyptic, but are none of these intact?) and end up on a roof with two planks and a view of the Boston capitol building. It's got a golden dome, and it's shining. Tessa's giddy, we assume for a pay day. Maybe. She's a little too invested, if you ask me.

Also, the Grecian columns, HELEN OF TROY

Joel asks Ellie if it's everything she hoped it would be, and she says "The jury is still out."

Yes it is, My Dear. Yes, it is.

Putting one of the planks over the building gaps gets us the first of Joel's protective interactions with Ellie. He tells her to watch her step, and she brushes him off. Pointing out the significance of this would be kind of demeaning, so I'll just leave it. They climb down, and Joel moves yet another dumpster to yet another ledge with yellow tape on it.

This is why I like Uncharted better.

In the next area, there's a dead Firefly with instructions to make sure the girl is healthy. Well. That's reassuring.

The next area is a trek through a green marsh outside the capitol building. Ellie lets us know she can't swim, which will obviously be a problem looking forward. More importantly, the marsh is bright green. It gives you this sense of hope and bright shiny things. New beginnings. Ellie even thanks Tessa. Glory, glory, hallelujah.

But really, it's a dirty swamp in the middle of a street with broken down cars and trash everywhere. So that's a little clever fuck you to the gamer.

Once you run up the steps to the building, you're just shocked to discover that the guy who was supposed to meet us a dead, bloody mess on the floor.

Sigh.

Tessa has a nervous breakdown, demands they keep going, find Tommy. Tommy will know where to take the girl. Joel argues and says it's over. That this hysteria isn't like her.

YOU DON'T KNOW MY LIFE. YOU DON'T KNOW ME. THIS IS IT FOR ME. MY LUCK HAS RUN OUT.

Ellie, for some reason, is the smarter one who realizes Tessa is infected after they beat us over the head with it in the dialogue. Joel demands to see it. It looks pretty bad.

She tells Joel that Ellie's immunity is real. That Tessa's infection looks worse in two hours. If their partnership ever meant anything to him, he will take Ellie as far as he can. During this conversation, a tank rolls up. Tessa wants to stay behind and buy them some time to avoid turning.

In the next room, Ellie is shocked we left her behind. I don't know what she expected me to do. You can hear the shooting as you climb the stairs.

Yep, she bought us about a half second. At least the soldier reports that she took two of them with her.

There's a shotgun and some supplies. Sneak up on some soldiers to strangle them in the rooms upstairs. Get the rest of the supplies and head for the subway tunnels.

Joel is shocked that Ellie can just breathe in the spores with no repercussions. "I wasn't lying to you."

At this point, Joel is either dense, or Naughty Dog thinks we are. To be fair, if you live for twenty years with things a certain way, it might take you a while to realize they don't have to be.

There are a couple more soldiers down here. It isn't really a problem.

Then there's a swimming level. Some weapon parts are in a submerged room. Ultimately, you solve the puzzle or how to get Ellie across by taking a floating crate stand over to Ellie and dragging her to the yellow ledge with the ladder she knocks down for you. I just don't even.

Outside the subway, Joel gives his "First rule of Tessa's death is you never talk about Tessa's death" speech, followed by his "I say jump, you don't ask how high, you just automatically know what I mean and do it because I don't want to hear your annoying voice" speech.

Then it's revealed that Joel knows a guy named Bill in a nearby town who might get them a car, so they can drive to Tommy, who might know where the Fireflies want the girl. There are a lot of contingencies in this plan, but what can you do?

More really simple climbing puzzles to get over a couple fences. I am able to make a shiv to open a door to get some supplies. I don't want to deal with the clickers because I can't really kill them unless I beat them with my upgraded melee weapon or shoot them to death, and fuck that.

There's another conversation with Ellie where Joel is protective and dense. She just wants to open a gate, dude. They stumble across an old school fighting arcade game. Ellie wishes she could play it, and Joel doesn't get it. That's when I called it quits for the day.

So Tessa died. More importantly, she got infected. Joel lost his sense of direction twenty years ago, and now he has one again. It's a little girl, and it's the result of a death. So we're supposed to see the parallels there, I guess. Tessa invokes luck once more. Again, people are alive, not because they're good, or smart, or strong, just "lucky." The same way Ellie said earlier that she didn't ask for "this," meaning the immunity. She's just lucky. It's random. The same way spores randomly evolved to infect humans. The same way people are randomly born into poverty or randomly get laid off.

Yeah, we all get the message.

So the story has taken an important turn. This is no longer about the pay off. Joel is personally invested, and I'm sure we'll see this turn again from Joel being personally invested because of Tessa to Joel being personally invested because of Sarah to Joel being personally invested because of Ellie. I imagine Joel somehow sees Tessa as a sacrifice for his continued survival. They're "shitty people," so it's all very self-centered and focused on survival. Tessa wants some justification for her death, not salvation for humanity. So I like that aspect of it.

I imagine we will see Tommy again. That's the part of the story I'm most looking forward to because I'm not sure exactly how that will pan out. I'm also excited to see if I get to mow over zombies in my car. Only time will tell, I suppose.
Tags: games, last of us
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