The Last of Us Episode 2, “Infected” carried forward the momentum from the pilot in a big way and delivered nerve-wracking tension at its finest. The episode perfectly captured the dread and threat of the infected as we finally got a first look at a “Clicker”.
This episode, directed by Neil Druckmann (Game Director of The Last of Us), was a riveting look at the threat of the infected. The HBO series carefully adds elements to the mix that wasn’t present in the video game. While this is usually cause for concern, every addition has been rather meaningful so far.
Here, we take a look at some of the biggest moments from this extremely tense episode and figure out how each of them will affect the series going forward.
Ground Zero – Jakarta
Much like the pilot episode, the second episode shows us the world moments before it was ravaged by the Cordyceps fungus. We follow the character of Ibu Ratna, a professor of Mycology brought in to examine the fungus that has jumped to humans. Ratna examines the Cordyceps and what appears to be one of the first few people to have been bit.
Post-inspection, Ratna solemnly confirms that there is no chance of a cure and that bombing the city is the only way forward. The news from the radio hinted at Jakarta being ground zero for the infection and this episode confirms that theory. Eagle-eyed viewers were able to put two-and-two together as to why both Sarah and Joel avoid getting infected. The pair seemingly missed their morning coffee (probably originating from Jakarta) and the pizza (the flour from the Jakarta factories carried the fungus).
Upon the professor’s advice, Jakarta was probably bombed in an effort to stop the spread. This was obviously futile as the world was ravaged only months later. We see how American cities followed suit as Ellie examines the craters outside of the Boston QZ.
The Infected are connected
One of the coolest additions to the show was the introduction of how the Infected essentially ‘communicate’. It is revealed that the Cordyceps fungus grows on the ground and connects vast swarms of Infected with each other. In effect, this means that stepping on a patch of Cordyceps in one place will alert swarms of the Infected close by.
This comes into play towards the end of the episode as a swarm’s attention is called to the State House. This will likely come into play more times in the show. So far, the HBO series has added elements that make the show a lot more interesting from a practical standpoint. All of it put together makes for far more interesting television than if the show simply followed suit from the game.
An absolutely terrifying debut
Clickers finally make their debut in the second episode of The Last of Us, and boy, did they have an immediate impact. Ellie’s comments about the infected earlier in the episode seem to suggest that there is still a lot of misinformation about them. However, some rumours appear to be true as Ellie asks Joel and Tess whether there are Infected that use sound to see in the dark. This perfectly sets up the arrival of the Clickers, an evolved form of the Infected that may be blind but can use a clicking sound as a form of echolocation to hunt down targets.
So far, we’ve seen two forms of Infected – Runners (the usual swarmy kind) and Clickers. The trailers have hinted at more as we’ve seen a Bloater make its way out of the ground. The Bloater is a gigantic Infected with fungal plating as armour that can spew caustic fungus and spores. It will be interesting to see how the Bloater functions in the show since the HBO series has decided to do away with spores entirely.
In the game, the Cordyceps fungus would spread through spores in the air. In the HBO series, it appears that the fungus makes it way through bites and possibly other forms of contagion.
Pedro’s Joel doesn’t mess around one bit
Pedro Pascal’s riveting turn as Joel is already generating a lot of buzzes and this episode further showcases the efficient brutality of the character. Joel is a pretty scary dude from the game but HBO’s Joel might just be even more terrifying. As the episode jumps back to the present day, we see Joel pointing the gun right at Ellie, prepared to pull the trigger if she “so much as twitches”.
Joel is a man constantly on edge, and now, without his better half at his side, this is a man unleashed. We were given a glimpse into the feral brutality of Joel as he fractured his own hand pummeling the FEDRA guard to death at the end of the pilot. In this episode, we see him dispatch Infected with ruthless efficiency.
During the episode, Joel solemnly considers the possibility of having to shoot Ellie. Although he is prepared, we see some semblance of the man he used to be as he would much rather let someone else shoot Ellie than him. This already is hinting at the character’s arc in the show as him and Ellie begin to build a much stronger bond as the show progresses.
Tess’ tear-jerking explosive goodbye
Anna Torv’s Tess was one of the most exciting parts of the show and fans would be saddened to see her character go out like that. Her death simply reinforces the brutality of the world and how sheer luck is going to come in handy for Joel and Ellie on their journey. Despite being two extremely capable survivors, Tess finds her journey cut short prematurely as she falls prey to the Infected.
Tess reveals to Joel and Ellie that she has been bit, and in an effort to delay the swarm of Infected rushing to the State House – goes out in a blaze of glory. The character’s death was extremely touching and powerful and will obviously affect Joel for the rest of the journey.
It is also hinted at that Joel and Tess have been horrible people in the past and getting Ellie to the Fireflies is her way of redeeming herself. She trusts Joel to finish the job and possibly help the militia finally find a cure. Even though this is something Joel does not care for – Tess’ final wish will probably be one of the things pushing him on his journey with Ellie.
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