HBO The last of us is a surprisingly faithful adaptation of its video game source material. Aside from a few small changes, most of the show feels like the game was translated straight to the screen, at least in the first two episodes. There are even a few moments that look like near-perfect recreations of in-game footage.
But a point of total deviation came at the very end of the series’ second episode when Tess’s (Anna Torv) script was updated.
[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for The Last of Us the game and the first two episodes of the series.]
Tess’ death at the end of Episode 2 isn’t a total shock, exactly. While it might come as a surprise to newbies, players knew she would die early on, but not necessarily the way the show plays out. As Tess dies at almost the exact same time in the story in 2013 The last of usthe actual events surrounding it are quite different.
In the game’s story, Tess is actually killed by FEDRA soldiers, though the fact that she is already infected and sacrifices herself for Ellie and Joel remains the same. On top of that, Joel (and therefore the player) actually witnesses Tess’ death, whereas in the series he obviously only sees the ensuing explosion.
There are several reasons why the series could have made this change, one of which is that FEDRA was simply barely established in the drama of the series. While the government’s response has played a small part in the story so far, it certainly hasn’t been enough to make FEDRA’s presence felt. Tess’ death at the hands of the infected also serves to make the virus and its hosts genuinely dangerous, especially after being largely absent from the show’s pilot.
Games aside, the show’s execution of Tess’ death is unsettling and weird. While the show clearly loves its weird, grossly infected, with their twisting mushroom strands constantly twisting and fluttering, always on the lookout for new hosts, the prolonged voyeuristic “kiss” is almost ogled for a show that often isn’t. not and does not. t need to be. Seeing a zombie fungus infect Tess like this doesn’t do much to further our understanding of the Cordyceps curse that killed humanity or give a more impactful feeling to Tess’ death.
According to showrunner Craig Mazin, the goal was to explore what happens when someone gets infected peacefully, and not everything has to be violent. “What does it look like if you stand perfectly still and let them do this to you?” Mazin asked in a interview with Variety. “Then we landed on this nightmarish fuel. It’s disturbing and it’s violent. I think it’s very primitive in the way it invades your own body. Perhaps the best explanation of the scene is Mazin’s own description: “To use an overused word, it triggers.”
While there may be more unspoken and practical reasons for the change, showrunners Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin proved with Episode 2 that they still have surprises in store for both viewers discovering the story for the first time through the show and for series veterans. video game.