Warning: Spoilers for The Last of Us ahead.
Viewers should already know. With any zombie apocalypse show, don’t get too attached to the characters. They’re wandering a world full of mortal people-eaters, and hey, even big-name star actors shouldn’t be making plans for the next week. Anyone could die at any time. Was that enough of a spoiler warning? Here we go…
, and one of the brave and intriguing characters that stuck with viewers throughout the episode won’t be back. Tess (Anna Torv), Joel’s (Pedro Pascal) smuggler partner, was bitten and, knowing she was doomed, she sacrificed herself to blow up the gold-domed Massachusetts state capitol, which was swarming with the infected.
But it was the way it turned out that made Tess’s death all the more baffling. As her trembling fingers tried to light a lighter to set the spilled gasoline on fire, an Infected approached her. Instead of fighting him, which she has proven to be an expert at, Tess stood there and let him come to her for an open-mouthed kiss, allowing the restless cordyceps mushrooms to enter her mouth. GAHH! This was a difficult scene to watch.
Difficult as it is, series co-creator Neil Druckmann told Entertainment Weekly that there was symbolism to the eerie kiss.
“These things don’t have to turn violent unless you’re fighting to keep them from spreading.” [the infection] further,” Druckmann said. “It’s done in this beautiful way, but horrible with Anna.”
The Infected are wired into a strange type of hive mind, aiming to spread their infection to others, even if it has to be mouth-to-mouth with a living person. So instead of just gnawing on Tess, this particular Infected was ready to get all Romeo and Juliet with her to help the Cordyceps brain infection spread and survive.
The Last of Us was a video game before it was a show, and gamers will note that there are similarities and differences in Tess’s death. In both, she becomes infected while the characters fight the Infected at the Boston Museum. In the game, she is shot dead by soldiers in the capitol, but in both cases, her death gives Joel and Ellie time to escape her.
As we reported in our, there are no soldiers in the death scene of the TV show. Co-creator Craig Mazin told the Washington Post that soldiers were unlikely to venture so deep into dangerous territory to hunt down fugitives who would likely end up killed anyway, so the show took a different route.
But the eerie bean sprout-like tendrils from her mouth are an unnerving and effective addition to the show, even if it doesn’t seem like Tess will just stand there and get kissed to death. And if you look closely, the kiss doesn’t actually happen. She manages to get the lighter to work and torch the place just before the lecherous Infected spreads the infection. This kiss was actually a miss.
According to HBO, episode 2 garnered 5.7 million viewers on Sunday night, up 22% from episode 1, and marked the highest week 2 viewership growth for an HBO original drama series in HBO history. chain.
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