The HBO Original Series The last of us, based on the video game franchise under the same name season 1, episode 2 titled “Infected” kicks off with Pedro Pascal’s Joel Miller, Anna Torv’s Tess and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie as they drive through what’s left of Boston on their way to a firefly outpost because Joel and Tess made a deal with them . Meanwhile, Joel and Tess have a moment where they both argue about the possibility of a vaccine being made from Ellie due to her immunity to the fungus. Here the viewer sees that Tess is willing to believe in the hope of a vaccine much to Joel’s dismay. In her mind, she sees this as a potential way to find redemption for all she’s done to survive. Deep down, despite her best efforts to show that she’s a tough survivor, she still has enough humanity to ask for forgiveness. However, Joel doesn’t believe there is a possibility of a vaccine and thinks the fireflies are stupid for trying to find a vaccine. This can be seen as Joel not caring at all following the loss of his daughter.
Also, in a surprising turn of events, Tess and Ellie end up having a slight mother-daughter moment when they travel with Joel. Only Joel is the one who thinks they act so close is redundant as she is just cargo. In her mind, Tess sees Ellie as a troublesome girl. However, as she gets to know her, she sees that Ellie is a tough, resourceful girl whom she respects. Deep down, her closeness to Ellie could be a clue to what she was like before the outbreak.
Later in the episode, the viewer gets to see the terrifying new monster they all must face in order to survive. It’s here that the viewer enters an intense scene where Joel explains that monsters can’t see instead, they can hear using an echo slot similar to bats. This is an interesting part because of how the fungus managed to change the physical aspects of a human being. From what the viewer can see, the entrance to one of the infected monsters is covered in giant mushrooms while only the mouth apparently remains unchanged. Also, an even more interesting part is how they click when using their echo slot. This makes the scene with the trio even more intense as no one can make any sound due to the monsters finding them. At a certain moment, the spectator also feels the need to join the trio by not trying to make noise. It shows just how great the show’s scene is with the dim lighting, eerie atmosphere, and clicking noise that overpowers all background sounds.
At the end of the episode, the viewer sees that Tess is infected during the fight with the monsters. And later, she decides to stay to help Joel and Ellie escape the horde of infected. In her mind, now that she’s infected, she can’t go with them anymore. Not to mention that she also knows that she will have to be killed by Joel. Basically, leaving Joel was the hardest decision she had to make. From the look on her face, the viewer can see how much she loves him and wants him to live. Presumably Tess is hoping for a vaccine so that Joel can continue to live only now in a safer world. Somehow, she found her redemption, which is why she seems to be at peace with her decision.
Also, compared to the game franchise, the new monsters never get proper names in the series whereas in the game they are named clickers. Not to mention that the game lacks the interesting aspect such that all the infected are connected by a hive mind due to the fungus. Another aspect is how the infected congregate during the day as they seem to be in some kind of hibernation. However, in the game, they don’t congregate like they do in the show, nor do they hibernate during the day. By far the best added aspect is how the infected have a tendril kiss that seems to connect a recently infected person to the hive mind.