‘The Last of Us’ Shocks With First Surprise Death of the Season

Just when you think things couldn’t look more bleak in the land of The Last of Us, the second episode comes along to sucker punch you right in the gut with a boatload of misery. I hope you all heeded my suggestion to get tissues—once again, I do recommend keeping them handy for every single episode.

Without further ado—mainly because my tears are still falling—let’s unpack all that happened in episode two of HBO’s The Last of Us.

(Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Last of Us.)

Much like the first episode, this second installment also opens up in the past. It’s Sept. 24, 2003, in Indonesia—two days before Outbreak day in the United States—and Ibu Ratna, a professor of mycology at the University of Indonesia, is being hastily escorted by the military to a hospital to evaluate a strange new case. Sadly, at this point, we all know what she is about to discover: Cordyceps is now able to survive and host within human beings, and it can be spread via a bite from an infected human. A warning to anyone squeamish: the gross little fungi have quite the spotlight in this episode, so be prepared.

Horrified by her findings and the news of how quickly the infection is spreading, Ratna gives the military some grim news: There is no vaccine for something like this, and the best course of action is to start bombing the city and everyone in it.


The show then jumps back to the present, as Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) contemplate what to do now that they know Ellie (Bella Ramsey) is infected and immune. Joel is not convinced that Ellie won’t turn into a ravenous monster, but as every minute ticks by without any change, Tess becomes more and more convinced that her immunity is the real deal.

Tess, played perfectly by Torv, confronts Ellie and asks for the truth about one not-so-simple thing—why is she so damn important to Marlene (Merle Dandridge)? Ellie, despite being instructed to not tell a soul the real reason of her importance, finally lets it spill. There is a Firefly base camp in the West with doctors working on a cure, and they think her immunity is the key to make a vaccine. Despite the revelation, Joel remains skeptical and wants to turn back, but Tess pleads that they press forward. Special shoutout to Bella Ramsey for channeling the Ellie sarcasm at the end of this heavy scene with a hilarious impression of the Infected.


Tess successfully convinces Joel to go along, and the trio continues on their journey through the devastated streets of post-apocalyptic Boston. Faced with two options—“the long way” or “the fucking you are dead way”—the three opt to make their way to a lookout point. As they walk, Tess prods Ellie for more information about her life, like where she was bit (in an abandoned Boston mall) and if she has parents or a boyfriend that will be looking for her (orphan and lol no, by the way).

When they reach their destination—an abandoned, flooded and overgrown hotel—Ellie messes around a bit in the lobby; after all, she’s never seen or been in a hotel before. It’s a nice little shout-out to a section of the video game, where this similar bit of childlike wonder is displayed and becomes a cute bonding moment for her and Joel. However, the presence of a dead body spoils the fun pretty quickly. (An important fact to note in this scene is that Ellie doesn’t know how to swim; to fellow gamers, don’t worry—there are no wooden pallets in this episode.)

The trio finally climb up to their lookout, and a ghastly sight awaits them, as hordes of the Infected are crawling all around the city. Tess clues Ellie in on the horrifying ways that the cordyceps are connected to those who are infected, and that while she may be protected from turning into a monster, Ellie is not safe from being ripped apart. In the games, there are areas that have a heavy amount of spores in the air, which forces the characters to wear gas masks so they don’t inhale them and become infected. In the show, spores have been replaced with tendrils; basically, the fungus that causes the infection also grows into the ground, and if you step on cordyceps in one place, you could wake infected miles and miles away. Worse, they would know exactly where you are, and they would come running. Terrifying, right?

With hundreds of Infected in front of one path, the group decides to travel to the Boston state house through the museum, which, like most places outside the Quarantine Zone (QZ), is abandoned and possibly (and probably) filled with Infected. Here, I am delighted to tell you, you will meet your first clicker. Did that very first click send a shiver down your spine? Welcome to the terror.

Clickers are one of the more prominently featured and most deadly infected creatures. They get their wonderful name from the clicking sound they emit to share their location. They are blind, but thanks to giant fungus plates growing out of their heads, they have excellent echolocation, meaning if you step on the wrong piece of glass—you better run. They are quick, aggressive, tough to kill, and very deadly. Joel, Tess, and Ellie’s intense encounter with these clickers really highlight just how terrifying they are. Did you hold your breath that entire scene, or was it just me?

Despite facing off against some especially hostile clickers, the group makes it out of the museum alive. They are extremely shaken, a bit bruised and Ellie got another bite mark, but hey, she’s immune, she can take it. Now comes the easy part—walking across a wooden plank to the next rooftop. After what they just faced, this is nothing. As Ellie says, “That was scary, this is wood.” As a self-described superfan of the video game, seeing the iconic imagery of Ellie crossing on the wooden plank gave me goosebumps. So did Bella Ramsey’s reading of the iconic line, “Man, you can’t deny that view.”

Joel, Tess, and Ellie finally make it to the state house, but they do not receive the warm welcome they expected. The group of Fireflies they were supposed to meet lie dead at their feet. Yet that is not the most devastating thing we are about to learn: Turns out that our beloved Tess has been infected. This cutscene was a particularly moving one in the video game, as it completely blindsided the player. The show honors that exact feeling by giving Anna Torv and Pedro Pascal the opportunity to absolutely rip your heart out, while putting its own spin on the scene. Like I said, keep tissues handy.

Tess sacrifices herself to blow up a giant hoard of Infected. Now a duo, Joel and Ellie continue their journey West to find the Fireflies. Next stop: Bill and Frank’s.

Remember: “Save who you can save.” Okay, I’m going to continue to cry now. See you next Sunday!

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

Share your love