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TV Show Review: The Last of Us (HBO) Episode 2 – Establishing a New Education



After its smash premiere, The Last of Us episode two, aptly titled Infected, showed why the property is in safe hands. As Joel, Ellie, and Tess venture outside the walls of the Boston Quarantine Zone, we get our first exposure to the show’s Infected, plenty of Ellie banter, and of course, more fun infamous scenes from the video game.

We were surprised to find that episode two takes us back to its pre-2003 setting, this time two days before the deadly outbreak in Jakarta. Like the 1960s talk-show scene from last week, the episode opener begins rather clichéd. A certain science professor is whisked away to investigate some disturbing findings. We’ve seen it a million times. However, with Mazin and Druckman’s writing as well as some great performances, we’re blown away again. It serves as a reminder that The Last of Us is at its best when the quiet reality of horror kicks in.

Flash forward two decades to the crumbling ruins of Boston, and a Cordyceps infection is front and center after being relatively absent in the premiere. The show takes some bold new swings with its infected, which are as surprising as they are terrifying. As big fans of the game, our hackles raised a bit as this new story was established, but as Druckmann – in his TV directorial debut – takes us further into the city, the effectiveness of these changes becomes very apparent. is


As Joel, Tess, and Ellie venture deeper, the city takes on a terrifying new atmosphere. One that is very quiet and empty, its evils lying dormant in the shadows. This approach adds a whole new element of dread to the Boston segment that we’re reluctant to say was missing from the game, but one that definitely feels enhanced here. And the annoying tension comes to a snapping point with the introduction of the infamous clickers, which not only look incredible in live-action, but are far scarier than anything we’ve got in the game.

The juxtaposition of Ellie’s inexperience with Joel and Tess’s menacing gaze is what makes this terrifying trek to Boston all the more interesting. Their wry smiles as Ellie rattles off long-held rumors outside expertly heighten the moments where seasoned smugglers feel they’re in real danger. And we move easily between each of these moments, as we have our first good time with Ramsay’s Ellie.

We still don’t quite feel that Ramsay has nailed the role in the same way that Pascal has, but there were moments when we actually laughed out loud as Ellie annoyed Joel with some witty comments. There’s something really cool between the two characters that we can’t wait to see play out as the season progresses.


Fans of the game will be happy to see some of the game’s hallmark scenes recreated in episode two. While some words are similar, others have that HBO spin, and there’s one particular moment that proves divisive for fans.

Overall, though, this latest episode was another great showcase of adapting a game. The changes in Infected are pitch-perfect for television, and the horror of its setting will no doubt exceed the game for some. We’re still in the early days of season one of The Last of Us , but Mazin and Druckman are two for two, showing no signs of slowing down. Bring on next week!

To find out when you can tune in for the next episode, click us Where to watch our TV show In addition to the guide, our Full cast list Provides more details about actors and characters. Once you’ve watched the first episode yourself, cast a vote in our poll and share your first impressions in the comments below.


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