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The Last of Us - Infected - Review

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The second episode of The Last of Us opens with a flashback to a doctor investigating one of the first known cases of the cordyceps virus. It provides background into the origins of the virus and how fast it takes hold but when it comes to post-apocalyptic media, my interest has never really laid in the origins of how the world ended or changed. I'm much more interested in the exploration of a post-apocalyptic world and how characters live after such a life-changing event. 

We pick up back with Joel, Ellie and Tess as they begin their journey. One of the best things so far is how they balance little changes to the story to make it more suitable for the television medium with little callbacks to the game with identical dialogue that proves both a loyalty to and a love for the source material which is refreshing to say the least. 

They've also changed the way the cordyceps infection acts. In the game, there are areas covered in spores that can transmit the virus but in the show they've changed it to fungal tendrils that connect the infected like a hive mind. It's a cool concept - step on a vein and infected somewhere else will wake and know where you are. It allows for a more visual interpretation on the virus that doesn't require the actors to be wearing gas masks in half their scenes. 

We also get out first Clicker encounter in the show. They never really scared me in the games - I personally hate the Stalkers more - but here, there is a real Quiet Place vibe in that they have to be as silent as possible and it really amps up the horror aspect. The Clickers have a great design too, both in audio and visuals and what in the games is a simple stealth area where you can reasonably sneak by completely fine becomes a whole lot more tense and terrifying. 

Tess' death scene was just as impactful and pivotal to Joel's character as it was in the game only this time the threat is a horde of infected instead of FEDRA soldiers. Before Joel and Ellie run, she tells him to save who he can save, a parting line that is sure to influence some of his decisions later in the show. 

There were lots of little moments throughout the episode where Joel protected Ellie and bonded with her, including the famous scene from the game when they're standing on the rooftop looking out at the Capitol Building. Pascal and Ramsey are doing a great job of embellishing on and deepening the character dynamic and chemistry and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops as their bond starts to grow and develop beyond the initial matter of being forced into each other's lives.

What did you think of the second episode? Sad to lose Tess so soon? Sound off in the comments below!

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