After last week’s episode, I had high expectations going into the second episode of the Last of Us Series. The series had me feeling nostalgic and made me want to play the game again. So I redownloaded it onto my PS4 and began reliving the emotions, excitement and terror within the game, refreshing my mind on the original storyline and opening my mind to new plotlines being added via the series.
After watching the trailer for episode 2, I knew what was in store for episode 2 – or so I thought. Once I saw that Neil Druckmann was directing it – the creator and the mind behind the game’s beauty- I knew that this episode would be just as good, if not better, than the first.
The second episode started similar to the first – as it went back to 2003, two days before outbreak day in Jakarta, Indonesia. In the first episode, the radio mentions Jakarta and something occurring in the city. Whilst it is brushed over in the episode, in reality, it was vital information that would have warned everyone of what was to come. Despite the flashback not being essential to Joel and Ellie’s journey, it provides compelling information that provides a new context for newcomers to how fungi work in stages and those familiar with them.
This episode showcases Neil Druckmann’s willingness to expand this world beyond his original story play – it is done so well and beautifully that it genuinely feels like part of the game’s storyline–instead of feeling like extra filler.
The character interactions in this episode are clear to see the dynamics of each character, from Joel, the take no bullshit character, who has lost hope for any positivity that may be since outbreak day; to Tess (played by Anna Torv), a hardened woman, who is hopeful of the future since meeting Ellie, more optimistic and easy-going opposed to how she was initially.
Before the show aired, it was mentioned that there would be some things that would be different compared to the game; things such as the ‘spores’ side of the virus, which is the air-born section of the virus, where you enter rooms filled with it and have to use a gas mask – if not breathing it in can get you infected and cause you to turn.
Whereas in the show – they replaced it with ‘Tendril’s’, which to me, is just as good – if not adds an extra element of tension and horror to the idea. In the show, the virus is a hive mind, to where if you step on an active Tendril – it sends out messages to the infected in the area, spanning miles away, and a hoard will then be coming after you. This is a dynamic that I love as it is something different and makes more sense in a way than the spores in the game.
Some scenes were not in order of the game – for example, the Hotel scene. For someone who has played the game and played the same chapter the same day as watching the show, I can say that it didn’t bother me – it felt like it was written perfectly into the storyline without feeling misdirected.
In this episode, we are introduced to a different level of infection – we are introduced to the Clicker – which is the third stage of cordyceps infection. The long-time effect has allowed the fungus to spread all over their bodies, blinding them and forcing them to use echolocation to find their prey. This was portrayed perfectly in this episode as you could see and feel the fear through the screen – the whispering made you want to whisper, the tension made you feel tense, and the fear had you feeling scared and worried about what could happen to the trio that was Joel, Ellie, and Tess.
Overall, this episode did not disappoint; it was just as I expected and even gave more. I will try not to watch the trailer for next week’s episode but knowing myself – that won’t happen.
Episode 2 Rating: 5/5