Fans of The Last of Us should check out FOX’s new series The Passage


The Passage is a series that fans of The Last of Us (which is currently stuck in film development hell) might find enjoyable because the main characters’ relationship is very similar to the one that Joel and Ellie share.

The Passage deals with an impending flu epidemic that is set to hit the United States. In order to prepare for it, a clandestine organization known as Project NOAH has begun testing out a new vaccine that will create immunity to all diseases. But there is a cost to this magical cure. All drug trial participants develop medically-induced signs of vampirism.

Due to these side effects, Project NOAH agents have been recruiting undesirables, people who won’t be missed by anyone, specifically death row inmates.

As of yet, the vaccine has not been perfected. Dr. Major Nichole Sykes (Caroline Chikezie) realizes they will need to experiment on someone younger to induce the right reaction to the drug. Agent Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselar) is recruited to retrieve a 10 year old girl named Amy Bellafonte (Saniyya Sidney) who has recently become orphaned after her mother overdoses.

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Except, the more time Wolgast spends with Amy, the harder time he has agreeing to hand her over to unknown experimentation at the hand of his organization.

I’m impressed with the pilot episode of The Passage. The relationship between Amy and Brad is clearly going to be the anchor of the show and while watching it I was reminded of a similar bond, also in an apocalyptic setting: Joel and Ellie from the 2013 video game The Last of Us.

Beware of unmarked spoilers for the premiere episode of The Passage below.

Like The Last of Us, the story of The Passage is around world-ending circumstances. In Amy’s narration of the episode, she says, verbatim, “This is how the world ends.” Thus we can assume Project NOAH’s experiment is not going to end well for the human race and given the creepy dream-traveling from the recently turned Dr. Tim Fanning, I can imagine he has violent intentions in mind.

Where the stories diverge is in their timelines, The Passage begins before the chaos and The Last of Us takes place during. Also in the video game, it is Joel who is reluctant to bond with Ellie and in The Passage, Amy is the one who is hesitant to trust Brad.

But in both relationships we have a strong young girl who will be pivotal in saving the human race and a damaged older man who has lost a child and finds a surrogate daughter in the new child they’re put in charge of, whether or not by choice, it is a fate they accept.

Again, another parallel crops up when we learn Brad too has a deceased daughter, just like Joel. In the first episode, he has a conversation with his ex-wife (played by Emmanuelle Chriqui) and she mentions the tragedy and reassures him it wasn’t his fault. We don’t yet know the details of her death as we did with Joel, but I still thought the similarity was too big to not take note of it.

THE PASSAGE: Saniyya Sidney THE PASSAGE premiering Monday, Jan. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX Broadcasting. CR: Eliza Morse / FOX

The Unicorn

Brad and his partner are instructed to collect at Amy at any cost and find it more difficult than the mission initially appeared. After all, she’s a 10-year-old girl, could she really be that much of a handful? Turns out, yes.

But while Brad’s partner could care less about the girl’s comfort, Brad is consistently checking in on her well being, helping her out when she gets carsick and eventually taking her to a carnival they pass by on their way to the facility. While there, Brad wins her a stuffed unicorn, which is a nice allusion to Amy’s status as a special one-of-a-kind little girl. We don’t know exactly what is so special about Amy yet, but based on the trailer for the remainder of the season, she has some kind of special abilities.

THE PASSAGE: L-R: Saniyya Sidney and Mark-Paul Gosselaar in THE PASSAGE premiering Monday, Jan. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX Broadcasting. CR: Eliza Morse / FOX

Ellie too, is a “unicorn” in The Last of Us universe given she is the only known person to have immunity to the cordyceps virus.

Winning the stuffed animal cements Brad’s compassion for Amy. He realizes the full extent of what they’re doing in bringing her to Project NOAH and makes a silent vow to protect her. After knocking out his partner, Brad and Amy go on the run.

Again, like Joel and Ellie as Joel is willing to save Ellie’s life rather than allow the Fireflies to kill her in the hopes of creating a cure for the virus. The two relationships parallel each other along every step of the way thus far.

At present, The Last of Us is stuck in film development purgatory so fans of the franchise may find a kindred spirit to their favorite duo in The Passage to tide them over until we actually get a live-action adaptation – or at least until the release of The Last of Us sequel game.

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If you really enjoyed The Passage, consider checking out the trilogy of best-selling novels written by Justin Cronin. The series is based on them!

A new episode of The Passage, titled “You Owe Me a Unicorn,” will air January 21st on FOX.