The Last of Us | Episode 2 review: The Infected

Join us as we dissect every episode of the long-awaited adaptation of The Last of Us. In episode 2, we encounter the first infected.

the last of us episode 2 infected

The wait is finally over. Join us every week as we dissect every episode of the long-awaited adaptation of The Last of Us, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. 

In episode 2, Joel, Tess and Ellie continue their journey and face off against the deadly Clickers. 

Spoiler alert: These reviews will include spoilers for each episode, so if you’d rather go in cold, we recommend you return to this review after watching the latest episode.

Episode 2 of The Last of Us begins in Indonesia and chronicles the very beginning of the pandemic that would bring humanity to their knees. The similarities to COVID-19 are terrifying, but maybe that’s exactly why now is the time to bring The Last of Us to the small screen.

We are introduced to a scientist specialising in fungi, who quickly realises what’s happening with the cordyceps, which has infected and transformed its first victims is no joke. Even scarier is that the police are unable to tell who was the first person infected or what infected them. Genuine chills. 

We then come back to 2023 and join Tess, Joel and Ellie as they’re trekking towards the Massachusetts State House. If you, like me, are a bit impatient and keen on seeing more infected, you may be itching for it by now. We’ve seen very little of the infected, especially up close. Where has all that HBO money gone?

the last of us tess joel

Credit: HBO

Fear not. There will be plenty of action later on, but for now, it’s baby steps. The Last of Us is purposely a little light on the zombie action; the focus has been shifted to humans, mostly to show how we, as a species, are coping with the shitshow that has become Earth. 

The second episode, titled ‘Infected’ does give us a lot more action involving the infected. Relatively early on in the episode, our group runs into the infected, including a Clicker. Gamers will shudder just at the sound of those buggers; they are the worst kind of infected you deal with in the game. Deadly, but notoriously difficult to defeat or sneak around, these bastards are truly nasty. 

The entire sequence in which the gang hides from the infected is tense and riveting. The Last of Us steers very close to the source material and in all honesty, some of the scenes which would be stealth missions in the game, suffers slightly from the passiveness that comes with a TV show

Tess, Joel and Ellie finally make it out alive and continue their journey. Tess is in a sudden hurry and when they reach the State House, we finally find out why. The Fireflies are long gone from there and Tess completely loses it. 

the last of us episode 2 ellie

Credit: HBO

Turns out, she got bit earlier by one of the infected and now only has mere hours before she, too, will become a flesh-hungry monster. It’s a nasty fate and showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have established it’s something to be avoided at all costs. These people would rather die than turn into one of these things. 

While she initially held some hope that bringing Ellie to the Fireflies in time might help her, Tess has no choice but to admit that this is the end of the road for her. Even if Ellie, immune to the cordyceps infection, holds the key to the cure, it’s too late for Tess. She tearfully forces Joel to take Ellie and continue their journey, go see Bill and Frank for supplies and then find Tommy in Wyoming, perhaps he knows where the Fireflies now are. 

As the infected loom closer, she stays behind, being devoured by the infected as a horde of them break through the doors into the building. The tendrils, once again seen in close-up, are truly grim. They squirm and move and the idea of those burrowing into you is horrifying. The Last of Us is becoming a very visceral experience and we’re fully digging it so far.   

Episode 2 is where Mazin and Druckmann are beginning to change things up ever so slightly. Here, Tess is killed by the infected rather than soldiers like in the original game and we believe episode 3 will bring the biggest changes of all. So far, The Last of Us is an early contender for the best TV of 2023, but a lot can still change. 

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