Welcome to the Heavy Spoilers show, I’m your host Paul aka not your average Joel and this video we’re breaking down The Last of Us Episode 2. The series has had two really good episodes back-to-back and as a big fan of the game I’ve loved watching these first two entries. They do change some things up though and throughout the video we’re gonna be going over the easter eggs, game differences and also giving our thoughts on the series so far.
Huge thank you to everyone who checked out our video last week and like that one we’re gonna be saving the more spoilery easter eggs until the end so that people who haven’t played the game can enjoy all the twists and turns that come up in the show. I’ll give you a heads up before we hit that, and we start the episode off in Jakarta all the way back in 2003.
The Last of Us Episode 2 Explained
If you cast your mind back to last week then you may remember that they did an announcement over the radio that talked about the city and how something strange was going on there. Here we see it playing out with the outbreak of the infection being studied by a doctor. This wasn’t in the game, and I like how the series is slowly filling in the backstory of the virus. Both the beginning of last episode and this one had completely new bits in them and it’s possible that we might even get a new story slotted in at the opening of each entry that gives us way more details on the infection than what we ever got in the game.
When the title card’s first shown we can see this is taking place on September 24th, 2003, dating it two days before the outbreak. This of course shows how fast the virus spread and, in the game, we learned it was through products contain flour and yeast which we’ll talk more about in just a bit. Huge shoutouts to Dynamic Smurf on our last video for pointing out that 2003 was potentially chosen because it was one of the hottest years on record which a record-breaking heat wave happening that killed 20,000 people.
The subtitles used throughout this part of the show also highly resemble the captions from the game immersing us more in The Last of Us world.
We start with a sunny, seemingly normal, day in Indonesia which is when the military arrive and summon the scientist to a lab. Though the world destabilised The Last of Us Storyline is filled with different militant factions throughout that all tried to seize power to impose they’re rule. Fedra of course were a big part of these, and I love how in the backdrop there’s always this idea of us vs them. This is echoed in Ibu who is pretty fearful that she’s been taken in. She suspects they think she’s committed a crime, but they want her because she’s a professor of Mycology.
Mycology is the study of Fungi and she’s the top scientist in the country after having graduated from the University of Indonesia.
Now we did have suspicions that we might see parts of the country at some point in the series.
Ibu is escorted past a reception desk, and this actually leaked online when the show was in production.
She walks past several vaccine posters that are riffing on the we can do it poster.
We once more get it hammered home that there’s no cure in this episode which is why Ellie is such a paramount person in the entire story.
She examines the specimen and is then taken to one of the infected that we can’t show, can’t show it, trust bloody HBO, can’t help themselves.
The woman has a bullet hole in her head, and she clearly only stopped once she was shot.
Around her foot we see a bite mark and upon being opened up these spreads out like the ones from Mrs Addlers mouth last week.
In her mouth there are the cordyceps too and it adds a really creepy dimension to the entire thing. Now I didn’t wanna bring up the clickers last week as it could spoil some stuff for people who don’t know but we finally get to meet some in this episode. They don’t disappoint either and through their biology we can see how the Cordyceps work. They basically infect a person and then they spread throughout their body slowly replacing their cells with Fungi so that they very much become almost like a living Mushroom.
My man Toadstool from Mario ain’t got s**t on these and the fungus eventually completely devours their brain and the upper part of their head. This makes them blind and it’s why the clickers are called that because they use echo location in order to see their surroundings.
In the hotel Joel brings up how the majority of the infected die quite quickly but those that are sustained go on living. This is very much the case in the clickers with them being infected that have been around for decades and thus the fungi have managed to take over most of their body and transform them into these terrifying monsters.
I love the way that the Cordyceps are located in the mouth here and it hints at them slowly taking over the inside, but we can’t tell until the infection is further down the line.
Ibu Ratna has a cup of tea, and she learns that things started at a flour and grain factory.
Now the reason why I think Jakarta was chosen is because it has the biggest flour mill in the entire world. The Bogasari Flour Mill ranks as the largest on the planet in terms of size and scale and thus this is likely why they picked here.
She refers to it as being the perfect substrate and in biology this is a term that’s used to describe the surface in which fungus lives. Cheers google.
Enzymes can also be found here that cause chemical processes and this may be how the Cordyceps mutated.
Now when it comes to how the fungus spread, the game mentions how it got into the food and a flour and yeast factory would be the perfect place for this to happen. When we look back at Episode 1 there was actually a lot of food that would contain this ingredient.
The younger Mrs Adler also made some cookies that Sarah didn’t eat because they had raisins in them.
Mr Adler could also be seen feeding the elderly Mrs Adler and this could be where the infection started out at. When offered some food Joel said, “I’m on Atkins,”.
In case you don’t know is a low carb diet meaning that things that have a lot of flour and yeast in are avoided.
On the morning Tommy was gutted that they weren’t having pancakes because Joel and Sarah had bacon and eggs…again avoiding flour products. They also didn’t have a birthday cake either, so the entire day was them just avoiding it.
I dunno if Joel would’ve completely skipped out on bread when food was sparse but ey at least they kept up with it.
He says the woman bit three other co-workers and that they were executed but that they don’t know who bit her. 14 other workers are missing as well and there’s not really any way to put a lid on this now. Even if they locked down the country the Cordyceps have mutated and it’s only so long before someone stumbles into them out in the wild.
She says that the whole city has to be destroyed and we see how this was a strategy adopted worldwide due to the craters later on. In the game I always just assumed they collapsed parts of the street due to lack of maintenance, but you should never assume cos it makes a…out of you and me.
Anyway, there is no hope, and she wants to spend the remaining hours she has left with her family.
It’s a really bleak way to intro the episode and we know that the following 20 years were likely hell on earth due to how fast the virus spread and how it turned those infected against everyone around them.
Joel, Ellie and Tess in The Last of Us Episode 2
Again, Ellie very much represents this hope for a cure, and it’s shown symbolically with her sleeping under a literal ray of light that shines down on her. Joel and Tess sit in the dark whereas she’s anointed almost like it’s a painting of Jesus or something.
A butterfly flies over her and imagery of these have appeared throughout the series so far. Butterflies actually carry their own meaning and typically they’re used to represent rebirth, transformation and a change in a positive direction. Ellie of course could be this and she has the potential to cure humanity and take us back to the way things were where everyone was nice in the YouTube comments section.
Again, she’s wearing the same t-shirt that she had on last week and if you missed that then we thought it was put on to give a nod to young Nathan Drake in Uncharted 3. Not just pulling that out of thin air, has a reason and Naughty Dog made both Uncharted and The Last of Us.
Nothing but net.
There’s still pretty sceptical over whether she’s immune or not and Ellie ends up having to go to the toilet. She’s tossed a magazine, and, in the game, she ended up coming across beauty posters which she was a bit stunned by.
This happened just before the Hotel which we end up visiting in the game though it appeared way later on.
This entire take scene in a beauty salon which is completely f**ked juxtaposing the idea of beauty against the devastation that the world is now in.
We she Joels hand trembling which he diagnoses as a hairline fracture after beating the crap out of that guy last week.
Hands trembling are of course a sign of infection and it’s something that Tess later has so you can see why she questions it here.
When she returns, they end up eating and Joel and Tess each some crap bars whilst Ellie has a delicious chicken sandwich. This was given to her by Marlene, and it hints to how important she is since they’re willing to give her what would be top of the range food in the apocalypse.
Now tying back to the whole bread thing, it is possible that Ellie was given this because she’s immune to cordyceps and therefore there’s no risk of her getting infected. Joel and Tess have to eat those bars because who knows what’s in the crops though that might be me going a bit too far. Interestingly there was a real-life case in France that happened in the 50s that could have inspired this. I’ve done a full in-depth breakdown of this on our video about how the infection started which is up on the channel now. Just for the cliff notes though, there was some Ergot that ended up in bread and this caused severe food poisoning and hallucinations. There was a man who thought he was an airplane and he ended up jumping off a 2-story balcony. In episode 1 the scientist said that there could be LSD like hallucinations given and this ties back to that. A child also attempted to strangle their own mother showing how it could affect someone’s rage. All in all, 250 people were affected by it and 50 were condemned to an asylum. It’s a really interesting story and like I say I’ve done a longer video on it.
Also, I was talking about this episode with Ryan Arey, bloody Ryan Arey and he spotted that the first line in this episode is ‘I apologize for your lunch.’ It just brings it altogether and adds to this theme but also f**k Ryan Arey
Ellie says that they’re trying to get her to an outpost out west where there’s doctors who can work on a cure. Joel really doesn’t believe this at all, and we’ll talk in our spoiler section at the end how this sets up what’s to come. Tess just wants to finish the job, but we can slowly start to see her coming around. If Ellie is indeed able to help with a cure, then that would make her one of the most important people that have ever lived but it just so happens that she’s been slotted up with some…let’s say morally grey characters.
Joel shifts a cabinet out the way of the door and often you’d drop these over ones when escaping in order to stop people or the infected coming after you. Speaking of the infected I was sure I heard the sound effect of a clicker used when they open the door.
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Now speaking of the game, they actually skip over a big section with the two skyscrapers. I was actually a bit gutted that we didn’t get this bit as it’s such a major part of the game early on. They also finished last week’s episode by showing a shot of it to tease what was to come and it’s one of the most memorable parts of the game for me.
Now as we see from the Skyscrapers, they would probably be impossible to climb and descend in real life due to the angle that they’re at. In the game you go in one climb up it and descend the other during the night that you escape from the Fedra camp. As you make your way through you come across fresh bodies and also encounter the clickers for the first time after seeing one grown into the wall like the guy, we saw last week. One leaps out at you as you open a door, and you have to navigate past them as you make your way through the structure. I’m guessing that they just wanted to have one big clicker scene for the episode and due to the budget, they probably thought that the Museum later on would be the best place to do it.
This too is a location that features in the game as well with the Civil War display being a major part that we’ll get into later on.
You have to climb scaffolding and due to one of the skyscrapers being at an angle they do some really cool things with the physics where everything’s kinda slanted. Eventually you make your way through a train station in what’s one of the tensest parts of the game before you finally escape downtown where you’re swarmed by clickers, and we get this awesome scene where they almost grab them from behind a shutter.
Had to hand it to them…I love this moment.
Now in the show they go the longer scenic route and Ellie tours a city for the first time looking at the bombing and what the government tried to do in order to stop the spread.-
Along the way she walks pass a stuffed Giraffe toy and these actually appeared throughout the game at several points. They appeared in Sarah’s room, and you’d often find them lying about at place. They foreshadow a big thing coming down the line that we’ll talk about in the super spoiler section.
They make their way alongside a highway littered with cars and I absolutely love the look here. Really recaptures the game, turning this into an urban jungle where nature has taken over once more.
Ellie brings up how she got bit in a mall inside the QZ that she snuck into. This all took place in the Left Behind DLC and Ellie says that she was just in there alone which…again…super spoiler section at the end. Which we’ll also be discussing some of the other infected she talks about.
Anyway, after hearing the cry of the infected the decide to head into a hotel. In the show this happens much earlier than it does in the game with it not appearing until the Pittsburgh chapter. They’ve really managed to recapture the look of it with the central stairwell and flooding being present. You made your way behind the reception desk and could catch a bell boy trolley similar to what we see in the show.
There’s also a grand piano that makes an appearance and it’s here that Joel talks about his love for coffee.
Ellie asks if they’ve ever stayed in a place like this.
This is a nod to this line in the game when they first enter it.
Tess is dead at this point in the story, and I think they’ve included this bit as a nod to the game, but I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be returning here again in the show. They end up ascending which is when Tess climbs through a gap in order to unlock a door for them. In the game you grabbed a ladder and navigated your way up the building which is where you encountered some bandits. There were other things that they ran into which we’ll save for later in case they adapt it into a later part in the show.
Either way here they use the time for character development with Joel and Ellie being forced into an awkward conversation with each other whilst they wait for Tess. Joel is clearly a closed book at this point, and he lies about where he’s from and won’t even answer about whether he and Tess are an item. It’s important to bear in mind that at this point in the story Joel is pretty much just a shell of his former self and due to the death of Sarah he refuses to get attached to anything. He knows the pain that comes from loss and his sole focus is just on making it day to day. Because of his past he also knows that surviving means that you often have to do awful things and thus he really doesn’t like to make alliances in case it comes to a point where it’s him or them standing in the way of tomorrow.
Ellie once more brandishes her knife, and this is a weapon that she used throughout the game.
Now out on the hotel balcony we see piles and piles of infected. They’re way more overpowered than they are in the game, and we learn that they almost have a hive mind due to the fungus. In the game if you killed a group of them that was it and you were safe. However here even if you kill one, they have the ability to reach out for backup. The fungi work like a connected brain and the vast strains that live underground are almost like telephone wires joining up locations. If one dies somewhere, it can signal others and thus the survivors are constantly on the run trying to get away. Even killing an infected person doesn’t mean you’re out of danger and I love this added dimension to them.
Now this massive pile of infected could also tie in with episode 1. We of course opened up the time jump by following a child trying to make their way to the QZ. They’d been with a larger group and it’s possible that these newly infected people here are where the kid broke off from.
Now they also use the landscape to very much show the objective and where you need to head. Naughty Dog had some incredible level design and throughout the game you’d often see where you needed to get to demonstrated by it being yellow. In Boston they had the golden dome of the state building constantly off in the background which is something that the show also does too. I’ve never been to Boston myself, but I’ve seen The Departed and obviously it’s a sign of status in that movie as well.
Haven’t been to Boston but I’ve seen the Departed, Five Stars on Trip Advisor.
The Museum and Clickers in The Last of Us Episode 2
Realising they have no other way around they go to the museum which is ripped right out of the game. In here there is wooden beams blocking a doorway similar to what happens later on when they get trapped. The game had this separating Joel from Tess and Ellie and you had to navigate past clickers and the infected so you could catch back up to them. In it you run into a Civil War display which is something that also appears in the series as well. It was lined with display cases that harboured old muskets and rifles which are another thing that they perfectly bring across into the series. There was also an officer’s uniform which appears in the lobby as they step inside.
The building initially seems safe because the roots outside have rotted but the open-door signals that something else is going on. They catch a staff member grown into the ground and also a recently killed soldier who has been ripped apart.
Tess is optimistic that they were attacked outside and crawled in here to die but all it does is signal that there’s something else in the building.
Now for me the Clickers were something that was gonna make or break the series. Typically, in zombie stuff you tend to get your typical grunt zombies and it’s rare that it goes beyond that outside of Resident Evil and Left for Dead. One of the big downsides of the Walking Dead is that they just kept the Zombies and didn’t really elevate things from there, so you had this repetitive enemy rather than them evolving. The clickers add a new dimension though and playing those encounters for the first time in a dark room with headphones on was absolutely terrifying. If you so much as made a sound, then they would spring on you and the worst thing is that they were one hit kills.
On higher difficulties even opening up your backpack around them could alert the clickers to your location and every encounter was intense.
They were extremely dangerous and absolutely terrifying. I’m pleased to say that the show has managed to recapture the tense atmosphere of them, and I even found myself sitting in complete silence because of how nail-biting it was.
As they get through the door the beams collapse and even the shape of how it falls down looks like how it was in the game. We see the mannequins in the display cases, and these add extra human shapes to the surroundings really elevating the paranoia and fear in this scene.
One appears behind a glass case and I kinda got flashes of the T-rex scene in Jurassic Park when they’re in the jeep and the dinosaur is on the other side.
The clicks suss them out and it leads to a big fight with the two whilst Ellie crawls her way out and Joel uses sound to distract them. In the game you’d throw bottles and bricks, but he tips over a statue in order to distract one. He’s also able to keep his flashlight on and in the game absolutely none of the infected reacted to lights because the fungi just didn’t pick up on it.
Joel reunites with Ellie, but the Clicker senses them after they step on broken glass. You had to be really careful when navigating around them as there would often be piles on the floor that could alert them at any second.
Anyway, they manage to take them down, but we later learn that Tess got bit during this. We’re not sure exactly when this happens but, in the game, you find her pushed up against a cabinet and have to save her which is when I’ve always thought that it happens there.
As they step outside, and she sits down we can also catch a bloodstain on her coat. This is probably from where she got bit and the clicker pulled back and then dribbled the blood from the bite on her.
Ellie walks across a plank and this scene is pulled directly from the game. After escaping the Museum, they have to cross one and we get an almost identical shot to when she makes her way across the beam.
Tess clearly knows she’s on borrowed time and she wants them to see the positive news in her surviving the bite rather than Joels doom and gloom.
And Joel also looks longingly at his watch. This brief glance at it carries a lot of meaning as it of course reminds him of Sarah. Ellie sort of becomes a surrogate daughter to him and it’s almost like he has a moment remembering his old life before it all went to hell.
This is a really important moment as the watch broke when Sarah died. This is very much when the world ended as well, and time stopped for Joel in the exact second that his watch broke.
Anyway, they make their way to the building with Joel still suspecting Ellie might not be the real deal. She has a bandage to cover her bite and, in the game, when you’d patch yourself up with a Medi-kit you could also see bandages like this over the wound. Now after arriving at the state building, they see a truck full of dead Firefly soldiers also I think it’s worth pointing out Joel has an assault rifle for this whole episode whereas in the game I always saw him as being more of a pistol and shotgun man but moving on.
On the way to the location, you came across a soldier with a firefly logo on his arm that had a note detailing that they had to look after the girl.
Tess’s Death in The Last of Us Episode 2
Inside they discover the dead and we discover that one of them got bit which led to everyone turning on each other. Tess is in this situation too but after revealing her bite they let her handle things on their own terms even if Joel is a bit apprentice at her coming towards him.
The scenes play out really similarly with us getting these lines of dialogue that mirror each other.
Now they do differentiate how her death plays out in the game and after revealing her bite we hear Fedra soldiers storming the area. Tess buys them some time to escape, and she stays behind to shoot it out with them which is when she’s killed.
Here the infected are alerted with them scrambling from the area before to swarm the state building. Tess tips over the explosive barrels and grenades so that she can take them all out. It’s such a tense scene watching them swarm as she struggles to spark up her lighter due to it not triggering and her hands trembling because of the infection.
Tess is given the kiss of death as she drops the lighter taking them all out. Now in the game at this point you descended into a subway station which is where Fedra followed you until you ran into infected, and they decided to cut their losses and leave. Here though I actually like the impact and time that they give to Tess’s death. You really didn’t get a moment to breathe originally but I just love the devastation that kind washes over this scene. Joel as always just continues moving but Ellie stays still, hit with the realisation of just how quickly things can change in this world. It really is one of life and death and it speaks to both their characters.
In the game, Ellie would even press Joel to talk about Tess and he’d refuse to because dwelling on it would make him face up to what happened.
It’s a devastating way to the end episode with them now on the other side of the building and that golden dome hanging in the background.
Now that takes us into the super spoiler super doper trademarked greatest of all time spoiler section. If you haven’t played both games, then duck out now and please hit the thumbs up on your way out.
I love you.
Anyway, there’s a couple of things in this episode that link to larger parts of the game. Initially when they talk about how the fireflies are working on a cure Joel says that he’s heard this a thousand times before and he’s extremely sceptical over it. This could be the show setting up why down the line he decides to do what he does at the end. Joel eventually gets Ellie to the Fireflies, but he learns that in order to make the vaccine that Ellie has to die because Cordyceps attach to the brain. Thus, he kills all the fireflies and surgeons before they can operate. This line hear adds weight to him not believing that its worth sacrificing her for something that might not even word and I appreciate that they added in it.
In this scene, Joel also refuses to let her have a gun when she asks.
This was mirrored in the game as well and was only after the hotel where she saved his life that he started trusting her with one.
Now the Giraffe toy was also a nice little touch too.
The end of the game has a major scene in which Joel and Ellie come across some and it shows that though humanity is doomed there is hope for the rest of the world. Nature and wildlife have flourished and it’s one of the most memorable moments in the game.
Now in the PlayStation classic they get a ladder and climb up the hotel which is when they run into bandits before making it to an elevator shaft. Here everything goes to hell and Ellie and Joel are cut off from each other which is when you descend into the basement in what’s one of the
I think they might have skipped over the section in this too in which you properly navigate it and go into the basement in what’s one of the tensest scenes in the entire game. In these dark and dank corridors, you run into the infected and also a Bloater which Ellie touched upon earlier in the episode.
She asked if the rumours about ones that threw toxic gas at people were true and this is a reference to the giant infected that you run into in the game. The longer someone is infected the longer they mutate and in Last of Us 2 you come across the Rat King in the basement of the hospital. This was ground zero for where it all went down and, on the day, it kicked off they destroyed the stairwells and locked the door. Thus, he’d been down there for about 25 years and it’s incredible how messed up he got.
Now they also have some neat little Nods to The Last of Us Part 2. Butterflies went beyond appearing in episode 1 and we could also see one on Joel’s guitar and Ellie even got one as a Tattoo.
Huge shoutouts for Devaney Maldonado for also pointing out that the shirt Ellie wears in the second game is also what Joel had on in this and episode one.
Now lastly, we have mention of Bill and Frank. In the game this was the next location with Joel and Ellie arriving at Bills town to find it riddled with booby traps. We discovered that Frank had left Bill and that he’d made his way to a part of the town that Bill refused to venture out to. However, he did in order to help Joel and Ellie and they went out to a school in order to get a military truck battery. This wasn’t there but they kept pushing through and eventually found franks body which is when they learned he’d taken it and had placed it in a car. Frank had been bitten so he’d taken his own life and it was pretty heartbreakingly for Bill even if he didn’t show it.
Now judging by the trailers, it looks like they’re changing things for next time and we’ll of course be back for that so make sure you’re locked in.
As for my thoughts on this episode I think it was handled really well and these two entries have been the best video game adaptations that I’ve ever seen. They nail the tone and aesthetic of the game, and every character is really knocking it out the park in terms of their delivery and actions. Plus, the clickers were great too and I loved this trek through the landscape of an overgrown Boston that was full of danger.
Now I do kinda wish that we’d got the skyscraper bit in live action, but I can understand why that probably wasn’t achievable without completely blowing the budget.
There’s also the Hotel as well which I hope wasn’t the only time that it’ll appear in the series because both these locations had major moments with the infected that I think would translate so well to the show after seeing how they handled the clickers.
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on the series so make sure you comment below and let me know.
If you want something else to watch we’ve got a video linked on screen right now. If you’re watching this right after the show, then I appreciate you staying up late with me and I hope to see you on the next one. You take care of yourself, peace.
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