The Last Of Us: Who Is Tess?

Quick Links

  • Tess’s Origins
  • Saving The World
  • Blaze Of Glory
  • Alternate Tess

Television adaptations of video games aren’t an uncommon thing; finding one that does its source material justice is. HBO took a stab at recreating The Last of Us, the compelling story of Joel and Ellie trying to survive hordes of infected monsters.

While the main focus is on Joel and Ellie, they encounter several characters on their journey, and without them, might’ve never survived. Before Ellie was in the picture, it was Joel and Tess. We take a deep dive into Joel’s smuggling partner and explain who exactly Tess is in The Last of Us and how her character differs from the game to the streaming adaptation.

Tess’s Origins

Theresa Servopoulos, otherwise known as Tess, is Joel’s partner and alleged lover in Boston. She’s universally respected throughout Area 4 of the quarantine zone, but it’s mainly out of fear. The HBO showrunners planned a backstory for Tess about her life before the outbreak but those scenes were cut.

In the scrapped backstory, Tess was originally from Detroit, Michigan, and her husband and only son were infected on Outbreak Day. Tess managed to kill her husband but she locked her son in the basement because she couldn’t bring herself to kill her only child.

Tess’s character design and attitude are more or less the same in both iterations of The Last of Us. She’s known as the brains of the operation while Joel is the muscle. In the game, Tess is extremely protective of Ellie when they agree to take her to the Capitol Building.

At first, Tess was a bit cautious regarding Ellie in the HBO show but after learning more about her immunity, she opens up and provides survival advice to her.

Saving The World

Initially, Tess only agreed to deliver Ellie to the Fireflies as a means to an end. Even after they scanned Ellie and she told them how she was immune and doctors were trying to develop a cure, Tess was still mainly thinking about earning a paycheck after a hard day’s work.

But her attitude changed after the museum incident. The group encountered a horde of infected and while they managed to fight them off and escape, Ellie was bitten. Up until now, Tess and Joel weren’t completely convinced that she possessed immunity but this proved it. Instead of focusing on delivering Ellie because it was a job, Tess believed they could save the world.

Blaze Of Glory

After the group arrived at the State House (Capitol Building in the game), they find the Fireflies they were supposed to meet dead. Tess tries to look for any clues as to where to take Ellie but Joel is reluctant to continue with the mission. Unfortunately, Tess reveals that she was bitten as well in the museum.

Tess begs Joel to continue the mission and deliver Ellie to the Fireflies. She forces them to leave the State House and dumps gasoline barrels to buy them time from the infected horde.

Tess ignites her lighter and the entire State House explodes, killing the horde and herself. Her death in the HBO show differs from the video game, where she was shot down by FEDRA soldiers.

Alternate Tess

Tess wasn’t always meant to be Joel’s partner and a brief mentor for Ellie. According to Neil Druckmann, Tess was meant to have been betrayed by Joel in some way and she was going to hunt him and Ellie down.

Luckily, Druckmann and his team couldn’t come up with a reasonable justification for Tess to hunt them down. They believed her friendship with Joel would propel him to protect Ellie himself.

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