The Last of Us episode two has aired and has inspired plenty of discussion and debate, and we will be highlighting a particular aspect of the episode concerning its ending and a major character so be warned if you haven't seen it already… spoilers ahead.
Episode begins with a flashback to the origins of the cordyceps infection, with a segment shot in Indonesia and featuring an excellent performance from famed Indonesian actress Christine Hakim. After this we're back with Ellie, Joel, and Tess as they've learned the girl is positive. Tess wants to go ahead with their Fireflies mission and Joel reluctantly agrees. By the end of the episode however, as those who've played the game will be aware, one of these three will no longer be with us.
The show makes changes from the game. In Naughty Dog's The Last of Us, players see Tess' death at the hands of FEDRA soldiers although her infection and sacrifice are the same. In the HBO adaptation we don't see Tess' death but it's demonstrated by an explosion as Tess sacrifices herself and lights up the Capitol building in her final moments. We also see that she was bitten by a clicker as they escaped the museum on the way to meeting the (dead) Fireflies. Here things get a little plot hole-y…
In The Last of Us' first episode we get a brief glimpse of a poster showing 'Time To Full Infection'. The poster shows that those bitten on the neck, face, or head have only five to 15 minutes before they become fully infected. For those bitten on the torso, arm, shoulder, or hand, it's two to eight hours, while leg and foot infected have 12 to 24 hours.
In the show, Tess reveals that she's been bitten, pulling her shirt collar away to show a bite on her lower neck area, which viewers can see is clearly infected as veins of cordyceps are spreading outwards. Tess was bitten in the museum by a clicker, after which she takes a break to wrap up her sprained ankle. They then have to make it over the rooftops, climb down, and head to the Capitol building. With this much exertion and time, surely Tess will have been fully infected by the time they reached their rendezvous.
But in the show, we see Tess still fully cognizant of her mind and body. She is aware enough to know she wants to sacrifice herself for Ellie and Joel, and sufficiently competent physically to prepare the place for a fiery explosion. While her hand does betray her infected state, as it starts to uncontrollably shake and twitch, she isn't jumping around like grandma was in the first episode. Tess must have a strong immune system to show only a shaking hand after being bitten in the neck, and warding off full infection and turning into a runner, with the time it took to leave the museum and get to the Capitol building.
But this might be only a small plot hole and isn't likely to spoil anyone's enjoyment of the show. Infection rates can vary among individuals and it could be that Tess, even with a sprained ankle, was able to get to the Capitol building within 15 minutes of leaving the museum and getting bitten. Whatever the case, we will surely still be tuning in for the third episode, which has been talked about as one of the standouts. See you on Sunday!
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