The Last Of Us – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

The Clickers

Episode 2 of The Last Of Us starts in Indonesia 2003. Authorities show up and take a woman away. This is Ibu Ratna, a Professor in Mycology who happens to be working at the nearby University. They need her help to try and combat what’s happening with the infection. She’s brought to the lab and shown a specimen of the cordyceps.

Specifically, this happens to be an infected human, who has been bitten on her left leg. Ibu is convinced they can’t survive, but we know they can. If you’ll remember, this show is not using the same cause of infection with the spores as the games. Ibu examines the woman and notices tendrils in her mouth, the same that we saw from the infected in episode 1.

Ibu is shocked to learn that “Patient Zero” (the first person to spread the infection by biting) is still out there, but Ibu has been brought in to try and try and find a vaccine and cure what’s occurring. “There is no vaccine.” She says chillingly. Instead, she suggests they start bombing the city, with everyone still inside.

Meanwhile, Ellie wakes up with sunlight beaming down on her. She’s inside a building with Joel and Tess both eyeing her suspiciously. She brings up her tests and how Marlene locked her up, checking to see if she gets infected every day with her counting.

As for Joel, his wrist is broken with a hairline fracture but he shrugs it off, claiming it’ll heal soon. In fact, he wants to take Ellie back and find another way to get the car battery, but Tess talks him into continuing.

Tess tries to get more details out of Ellie, demanding to know her importance. Ellie rolls her eyes and eventually points out there’s a Firefly base camp out West where they’re working on a cure. Joel again decides they need to head back but Tess, again, convinces him to continue.

As they venture out, we learn most of the big cities were bombed in the wake of this infection. The State House is about 10 minutes away but it’s a precarious trip. Joel is at the back while Ellie and Tess talk. Ellie points out she was 14 when she was infected, and reveals that she’s grown up an orphan. There aren’t swarms of infected roaming the streets, but that’s not to say there aren’t worse things out there.

An ominous scream from the distance confirms as much, as the group press on through a flooded hotel. Ellie replicates a few of her jokes from the game but given they come with ringing the bell loudly (and there are inevitably infected around) it’s not a smart move. Anyway, thy make it up 10 floors and miraculously, the gang are completely dry. Now, that’s game accurate!

Eventually, Ellie and Joel talk but they barely say two words to one another without it turning into scathing retorts to one another. Ellie mentions the guard he beat to death on the subject of regretful deaths but before Joel can reply, Tess returns. Having secured them a route through the building, they press on and find all the infected together, down on the streets and spilling out a nearby building. Tess points out that the Cordyceps is all connected and stepping on a piece in one area can bring in others from a different area. This is a great bit of foreshadowing, as we’ll see from the moments ahead!

With the “long way round” a no-go, the only solution is to go directly through the museum (the “short cut”) although the place looks to be overgrown by fungus. Outside though its all bone-dry so the trio decide to press on and continue through the building.

Unfortunately, they run into bigger problems when a clicker shows up. The sound design here is fantastic, especially as this creature shambles into the room… and is joined by another. Joel tells them all not to make a sound… so Ellie does and it causes Joel to fight one off. There are some genuinely tense scenes here, as Joel and Ellie try to survive. It’s Joel who manages to get the killer blow on both foes and they come away with Ellie scratched and Tess sporting a twisted ankle. Now, this is why they should have crafted some shivs!

After the clicker encounter, the group head up to the roof. Tess has twisted her ankle, so Joel helps her out. Tess bemoans Joel’s negative attitude and encourages him to go and see Ellie instead. The scene is perfectly worked from the game, with Joel and Ellie looking at the State House in the distance. It’s a brief moment, before they continue on.

The group make it to the State House, where Joel goes forward and investigates. Blood spatters – fresh ones – indicate someone is inside the building. Tess goes ahead with Ellie where they find several deceased on the floor. Joel takes up the rear and observes the damage. It doesn’t look like FEDRA are involved (unlike in the games) and all the Fireflies have been killed after being infected.

Tess decides to stay, pointing out that she’s infected. Now, instead of the guards banging at the door and Tess’ sacrifice being one to save the group, gut-wrenching because of the lack of time they have, instead we get a much slower-paced goodbye.

Tess convinces Joel to press on and go to Bill and Frank’s place. “You keep her alive and you set everything right,” Tess says, showing Joel Ellie’s healed arm. When one of the infected moves on the ground, Joel shoots it in the head. The tendrils move, as it seems the Infected have been roused and are coming.

Tess decides to try and buy them some time, making sure the infected don’t follow by pouring oil all over the floor, followed by a handful of grenades. “Save who you can save.” She says, as Ellie and Joel take off together.

Tess struggles to get her lighter to work as floods of then infected pour into the building. I mean, she could just shoot a grenade on the floor right? Anyway, she eventually manages to get her lighter to work, but only after one of the infected assaults and kisses her with its tendrils sticking in her mouth.

The whole place erupts into a brilliant explosion, as Joel and Ellie manage to get out without a single infected following and press on to their next destination.

The Episode Review

The second episode of The Last Of Us changes big parts of the game’s story and while some parts are quite intriguing (like the beginning in Indonesia) other parts are not. Before we dive into that though, it’s worth pointing out the excellent parts of this chapter.

The whole encounter with the Clickers was absolutely pitch perfect, with the sound design throughout being absolutely fantastic. The changed lore with the infected, showing off the tendrils that are all connected, is a nice touch too, but it also negates Tess and Ellie’s bit of dialogue where they discuss the infected giving off fungal spores when killed.

The production design looks great and some of the moments ripped from the games – like Ellie pretending to be a customer at the hotel or those moments on the roof – give off the most authentic version of this young girl. Unfortunately, everything else leaves a lot to be desired.

A big part of the game’s allure comes from the developing relationship between Joel and Ellie over time. They go from strangers who dislike one another to essentially a father/daughter tie, with some great moments along the way. The TV show though disrupts that slightly with the bizarre flashback at the end of episode 1, and then takes 26 minutes before Joel and Ellie even say anything to one another.

In fact, all those sequences with Ellie and Tess talking to one another would have worked so much better if Tess and Joel switched places, allowing Joel to learn more information about this young girl. The relationship between the pair could still become something special in the future, but right now the ties between them aren’t anywhere near as good as it was in the games.

However, there’s enough to like here to stick with for the long-haul. Roll on next Sunday!

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2 thoughts on “The Last Of Us – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review”

  1. Hey Fraser, thanks for commenting! I’m glad you’re enjoying the show and I am aware a lot of people are in the same boat as you which is great! I’m certainly not expecting them to have that bond (which makes the flashback in episode 1 all the more bizarre) but a bit of interaction between the two would have been nice. They basically just bickered at one another and had half a moment together on the rooftop and that’s it. However, some of the later episodes are supposed to be really long so hopefully that will alleviate any issues I had with this.

    Appreciate you taking the time to write this!

    -Greg W

  2. So you want Joel and Ellie to go from disliking each other to being father/daughter in two episodes? Come on. The pacing is spot on so far.

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