The changes seen so far in HBO’s The Last Of Us are ultimately for the best, making the Infected even scarier while also supporting the new medium.
Caveat! This post contains SPOILERS for episode 2 of The Last of Us.
The last of us Episode 2 features some significant changes from the events of the original video game series, though the changes are major improvements to the overall story and new medium of a live-action television series. Following Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) and Tess Servopoulos (Anna Torv) as they venture out of Boston’s QZ to smuggle in Ellie Williams (Bella Ramsey), the trio of survivors face off against the Infected for the first time in the new series. However, HBO events The last of us Episode 2 features some compelling changes compared to the narrative seen in the first game.
So far on the new HBO series, the first two episodes of The last of us have been very faithful to the games thanks to the direct involvement of the original creators and writers. However, there have still been changes, bringing some dynamic surprises and giving the show a more unique style. The series feels like a second draft of the original story rather than something entirely new, keeping the core narrative consistent. For example, many of the changes observed in The last of us Episode 2 helps make the show even stronger (and scarier).
The Last of Us changes make the infected much scarier
One of the biggest changes to the games was the decision to introduce tendrils instead of spores that come from the monstrous Infected in The last of us episode 2. In the original games, the cordyceps infection featured clouds of spores, requiring players to wear gas masks to get through these dangerous sections of the game. However, the decision was made to have tendrils instead, a change that is more in line with how real mushrooms like cordyceps work.
A nearby horde can feel their footing on a section of the tendrils, like the one seen in downtown Boston, beginning to make a beeline for the state house after Joel inadvertently alerts them to his presence along with Tess and ellie. In this way, the show’s Infected act as a hideous interconnected hivemind, capable of responding and reacting to potential new hosts across massive distances. Not only is it undeniably scarier than the airborne spores, but it’s arguably easier to depict on screen as opposed to having Joel and Ellie constantly needing gas masks.
Why Last of Us changed Tess’s death from the game
Another big change was the death of Tess in The last of us episode 2. In the first game, Tess becomes infected with a Runner instead of a Clicker, as seen on the show, though her final death comes from a group of Phaedra soldiers when she decides to stop them so Joel and Ellie can escape. However, the images of BTS for The last of us Episode 2 reveals why the Infected replaced the soldiers. It was decided that the original death would not be as tenable for the show, and the creators chose to keep the episode’s focus on the Infected as the episode’s predominant threat.
Like the changes with TLoU‘s Infected, altering Tess’s death while maintaining core story beats makes these changes solid improvements. Ultimately, nothing is lost, and the events of this episode, in particular, feel much more cohesive as the Infected are introduced. Having the soldiers kill Tess like in-game probably would have felt pretty abrupt in this new TV medium after all the time spent building up the Infected peril. Here’s hoping for the changes seen on HBO The last of us continue to feel like improvements.
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