After watching The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 2, we can safely say that this is the best video game adaptation ever.
It’s tricky to pull off cliffhangers, but the resolution is even more challenging because you need to give viewers satisfaction after waiting with bated breath for the next chapter.
“Infected” was a stellar follow-up to The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 1 because it expanded on the bombshell surrounding Ellie’s immunity.
Inevitably, Joel and Tess had questions and apprehensions. They were questioning everything they thought they knew about the mission.
That’s where your mind will go when the wind is knocked out of your sails after such a revelation.
Deep down, they knew there was importance surrounding Ellie getting to the Fireflies, but based on their reaction, they’ve heard people talking about cures in the 20 years since the outbreak.
When hope fizzles out, people look for solace in very different ways.
As a result, Joel and Tess probably heard people speaking about potential cures throughout their time in this world brought to its knees.
They wanted to look at Ellie as cargo they had to transport, but throughout the hour, you could see they were both apprehensive about her well-being.
It was subtle things, like body language, and then there was Tess trying to drum into the teenager that she may be immune from the virus but not immune to being torn to smithereens by the infected.
The dynamic between Ellie and Tess was interesting because, after playing the games and seeing the marketing material for the series, it was obvious it would be short-lived.
Tess was surprised by how to the point and unscared Ellie is of things she should be scared of, and you could see the surprise on her face when Ellie opened up about going to the mall.
Tess and Joel are accustomed to seeing kids being shielded from the infected, with little way of escaping the supposed safe zones.
If Ellie can get out of these so-called safe zones and enter a mall, she must be more resourceful than they give her credit.
It was hard not to laugh when Ellie commented on her having a free hand as they entered the building with the clickers, but Joel’s reaction was very telling.
His daughter’s death was at the hands of a gun, so the thought of a child with a gun, even in these dire times, is not a thought he’s willing to entertain.
Who can blame him? The world has become such a messed up place, so why would you hand a gun to a child who hasn’t used one before?
It’s not like they are in a Fedra training facility where they could teach her how to use a gun safely.
The fight with the two clickers was nail-biting because Clickers are fast, and one wrong noise can end you.
Tess was terrified when she noticed the Clickers, but a part of me is wrestling with whether that fear stemmed from having a 14-year-old with them.
Despite looking at Ellie as cargo initially, a part of Tess wanted to teach Ellie about the dangers of the world.
Even Joel looked a bit uneasy and had the same expression since being told he was transporting a kid.
Tess’s immediate mood change after the fight with the Clickers made it obvious she had been bitten, but I figured Joel would have picked up on it.
Maybe he didn’t want to believe it, or perhaps he was genuinely oblivious, but my heart broke for him when Tess revealed the truth in the museum.
We don’t know much about their relationship, but you can’t deny that they were ride-or-dies.
Losing people is never easy, but losing people in a world where the population is dead must be significantly more complicated.
Tess is a badass, so she wanted to go out by clearing a path for Joel and Ellie.
It’s hard to imagine what was going through her mind when she tried to light the lighter as the infection consumed her.
The information about touching a part of the fungus the infected is tethered to was terrifying, but it gave Tess’s demise a greater meaning.
She didn’t waste a minute. She was ready to make her death worthwhile and take some of the villains down.
What more could you ask for?
Joel’s struggle to compute what was happening radiated off the screen.
He knew he was losing Tess, but he was also grappling with the fact that he would be Ellie’s sole carer until someone else took her off his hands.
It’s hard to tell whether he couldn’t say goodbye to Tess or if he knew he had a small window of time to get Ellie to safety.
Pedro Pascal is the best person they could have cast as Joel. He can pull off every aspect of Joel’s personality from the games to perfection.
The mission to Frank and Bill will be difficult because Ellie will be trying to come to terms with the loss of Tess. They only knew each other for a short time, but there was a strong bond.
Ellie didn’t want to leave Tess alone, but it made it more evident that she wouldn’t make the best decisions.
If she stayed there any longer, the infected would have attacked her, making everything that’s happened to date for naught.
Ellie might resent Joel for pulling her away from Tess before the explosion, but in time, she’ll understand that it needed to happen.
The flashback to Jakarta that showcased the origins of the fungus was flawless.
The TV show expands on the source material in ways I didn’t think possible.
Hearing the scientist conclude the only way to contain the virus was with bombs landed with a thud.
As much as she wanted another way, she knew the only way to salvage humanity and contain the virus was with bombs.
“Infected” was an excellent hour of TV, setting us up for one of the best hours of TV in years (The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 3).
What are your thoughts on losing Tess?
Do you think Joel is struggling with becoming a carer to Ellie?
What are your thoughts on the flashback?
Hit the comments below.
The Last of Us continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.