How Is Jackson Commune Different From FEDRA, Fireflies And Kathleen’s Revolutionary Group In ‘The Last Of Us’?


At the beginning of the series, “The Last Of Us”, we got an idea about what kind of policies FEDRA had employed to govern the cities under its control. We knew what the general public thought about the regime and if they had any complaints about its governance. It could be said that when the military took control after the outbreak, they had bona fide intentions, but somewhere down the line, their ways and means caused a lot of resentment among people for obvious reasons. In a state of utter chaos where the entire world is plagued by a deadly Fungi, the game completely changes when what was once taken for granted becomes the most prized possession. 

The basic parameters of having a quality life drastically changed as, in a world that was falling to pieces, everybody was merely trying to survive. FEDRA controlled the supply chain of all the necessary items, like food and medicine, and it tried to create a setup where nobody was deprived of anything and didn’t have to face crises like food shortages or any other issue of unprecedented proportions. But as we have seen, power always attracts those whose conscience is tainted with greed, and once they come inside the legislative setup, the foundation is weakened, and the whole motive is destroyed. Corruption is an inevitable part of any bureaucracy, and with time, even FEDRA fell prey to the vice. 

It is a universal fact that only the poor pay for corruption, and once that started happening, their faith in the regime dwindled. Apart from the policies that failed to deliver, FEDRA had an extremely strict criminal justice system, and people started seeing the fault lines in it. There was custodial violence and awarding death sentences had become quite normal. People wouldn’t have had a problem with the strict laws if the military had done its duty with sincerity. But it was not so. The common people, who didn’t have any contacts higher up the food chain, were starving to death, and there was no one to address their grievances.

Fireflies and Kathleen’s Revolutionary Group

In the series, “The Last Of Us,” we saw how institutionalized violence prevailed, and FEDRA failed to evenly distribute the resources among the masses. It was then that a group of individuals who believed that they would bring about a better world formed an alliance that came to be known as Fireflies. Fireflies were known for their violent ways and were probably the only organized resistance group that was making its presence felt. But there is a basic problem that is probably encountered by any and every revolutionary group throughout history. 

FEDRA had the ears of the people, and they were able to portray the Fireflies as a terrorist organization. Though Fireflies were constantly trying to do something for the welfare of the masses, they were not trying to make their reputation better and make their ideologies known to the public. What they needed was support, and they could have easily displaced FEDRA from its position of power. But a chunk of people still saw them as violent anarchists and didn’t feel safe in their presence. There was a need for people like Marleen, the leader of the Firefly organization, to come out in the open and try to win the trust of the people. If she had had the majority on her side, she would have been able to tip the scales in her favor. But then, even she couldn’t be blamed, as she didn’t have the kind of resources that FEDRA had, and fighting a fully-fledged military force isn’t an easy task.

In the fourth episode of the series, “The Last of Us,” we saw that there was a separate revolutionary group operating from Kansas City that was trying to achieve a similar feat as the Fireflies (at least, that’s what they told their followers). This revolutionary group was led by Kathleen, but her motivations were so flawed that we knew that she could never be mainstream and would cease to just be a disorganized terrorist group that would keep operating from the sidelines. We explicitly call Kathleen’s group terrorists and not revolutionaries because her agenda was not to bring justice to the masses but only to take revenge for her brother’s death. Kathleen’s group was worse than FEDRA, and if she ever came into power, she would lead the people to their doom, and they wouldn’t even know it till the last moment.

Was Tommy And Maria’s Commune Sustainable? Is It A Last Ray Of Hope For The Doomed World Of “The Last Of Us”?

In the sixth episode of “The Last Of Us,” Joel and Ellie reached Jackson City, Wyoming, and that’s where they met Tommy and Maria. Joel and Ellie were taken aback by the elaborate setup, especially because it was in a remote sub-Western region of the United States of America. When Maria took Joel and Ellie on a tour of their entire settlement, she told them about how they had built it brick by brick and how nobody knew about it. Maria had come there with her people approximately seven years ago, and Tommy joined after that. Being in the middle of nowhere actually helped them keep the place hidden from public view, and they were so particular about it that even people living nearby weren’t aware that such a settlement existed in the west. 

We saw Ellie and Joel meet the elderly couple in the beginning of “The Last Of Us,” Episode 6, and they didn’t have any clue as to what existed beyond the river. Maria and the people who were a part of the governing council made sure that nobody advertised what they had built, and they mostly stayed away from the radio to not make anybody suspicious or leave trails for people to follow. That’s why Tommy had stopped replying to Joel when he became a part of the community, as he was not allowed to go on air. Joel felt bad about it when he came to know that in spite of Tommy knowing how paranoid it would make him, he adhered to the rules and didn’t try to establish contact. But that is how strict the rules were, and that is probably the reason they were able to thrive until then. 

Though Tommy hated calling the group a communist settlement, Maria unabashedly told Joel that she had no qualms about accepting that they were a commune. There was a democratically elected council with collective ownership of all the resources. People were allowed to practice any religion they wanted, and the council didn’t intermingle much in matters of faith. They drew power from a nearby dam, which was made functional a couple of years ago. There was no shortage of food as there were greenhouses and livestock that made sure that there was an adequate supply at all times. Over a period of time, the council was able to develop an efficient sewage and drainage system, and they also had heaters in place as the region experienced extreme cold. They had horses to travel on and had enough ammunition to protect themselves from small-time invaders or the infected who strayed there once in a while.

Jackson City’s settlement, where Tommy and Maria stayed, could be called the most sustainable setup among the ones we have come across throughout the series. But we cannot deny that it didn’t have its weaknesses. The commune had closed its eyes, and started believing that the world couldn’t see them, but that was not the case. There would come a time in the future when their safe haven would be discovered by FEDRA, and a problem would arise, as they were not in a position to defend themselves against a force so formidable. Also, it was only a matter of time before the population of the community increased, and individuals with greed and hunger for power ruined the delicate balance of the system. Also, they were not seeing the bigger picture like the Fireflies did and they were not making any effort to find a cure for the infection.

But it hadn’t happened yet, and we can safely say that the probability of the Jackson settlement thriving in the future was higher compared to any other regime in the United States. In the coming episodes of “The Last Of Us,” we will get to know if the commune was able to stand the test of time and promote the economic and social well-being of its citizens.

- Advertisement -
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

Must Read

DMT Guide

More Like This