Why The Last of Us Episode 2’s Grossest Moment Was Necessary

Tess and an Infected The Last of Us

The Last of Us’ Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin explain how Tess’ final moment with an infected provides more information on the nature of the fungus.

Fans were shocked (and a little disturbed) by the kiss between Anna Torv’s Tess and an infected at the end of The Last of Us Episode 2, but the series’ creators have now explained why that moment was necessary.

“We were already talking about tendrils coming out, and we were asking these philosophical questions, ‘Why are infected people violent? If the point is to spread the fungus, why do they need to be violent?'” co-creator Craig Mazin told Variety. “We landed on that they don’t. They’re violent because we resist, but what if you don’t? What does it look like if you just stand perfectly still and let them do this to you? Then we landed on this nightmare fuel. It’s disturbing and it’s violative. I think it’s very primal in the way it invades your own body.”

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In the game, Tess’ final moments culminate in a showdown with a group of soldiers and not a horde of infected. Series co-creator Neil Druckmann says the kiss partly resulted from this change. “We had a long conversation about what’s more thematically appropriate for this episode, which is called ‘Infected’ and is about the threat of the outside,” he said. “Because we’re cruel to the characters we love so much, it felt like she knows she’s done for, and then the lighter doesn’t work, and we take her all the way to the edge of horror before we finally give her an out.”

Fans React to Tess’ Final Moments

Many fans have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the now-controversial moment between Tess and the infected. “That Last of Us episode was so damn good, but can anyone give me one solid reason as to why that infected had to shove its tongue down Tess’ throat and deliver one of the most disgusting looking kisses I’ve ever seen on live TV??” asked one fan. “WHY DID TESS JUST STAND THERE AND GET FRENCH KISSED BY INFECTED??” asked another.

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Mazin attributes Tess’ receptiveness to the kiss with the infection taking over her mind and body. “I found myself watching, re-watching it, going, ‘Is it bait because she’s still flicking the lighter, or are we watching this transition of her giving in and the lighter is the last fight,” said host and Joel’s original voice actor Troy Baker on The Last of Us Pocast. “Yes,” said Mazin. “It’s that. She knows she’s lost. The lighter isn’t lighting. She flicks slower and less frequently. You can see her giving up, and then, in the last moment, whatever final bit of humanity is saying, ‘Try one more time,’ and she gets it.”

Mazin said the kiss is also meant to show that the fungus has the ability to love as much as the human beings it infects. “The fungus loves too,” he said. “It makes more of itself. That’s what we do when we love each other. A lot of us make more of ourselves. That’s how the species is propagated. And there’s this sense of, you know, what we are may look disgusting, and the way we reproduce may be horrifying and violent, but it is tender.”

Episode 2 of The Last of Us is available on HBO Max, while Episode 3 drops on Jan. 30.

Source: Variety


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