THE LAST OF US Explained: Every Stage Of The In...

THE LAST OF US Explained: Every Stage Of The Infected | Runners, Stalkers, Clickers, Bloaters & More

Credit: HBO (The Last of Us)

Welcome to the Heavy Spoilers show! I’m your host Paul, aka the guy who’s dealing with a staff infection like Jared Catching Cordyseps.

Sorry, just to clarify, I don’t have a staff infection. I’m just doing the worst pun possible to start the video. Now speaking of infections, throughout this video we’re going to go through the multiple stages of what happens when the cordyceps take over someone in the last of our universe.

This ranges from things that we saw on outbreak day all the way up to one of the creatures we encounter in The Last of Us, Part 2.

Because of that, there will be some spoilers, but I’ll give you a heads up on that before we get to it in case you just want what’s in the show. If you enjoy the video, then please hit the thumbs up button and make sure you subscribe for videos like this every day.

With that out of the way, a huge thank you for clicking this, now let’s get into the breakdown.

The Last Of Us Stages Of Infected Breakdown

Ok, so in the show and game, we learn that the initial outbreak of cordyceps happens due to people ingesting a mutated form of it through flour and yeast products. If enough of the fungi enters the body, they begin to hijack the brain’s motor functions, and they take over the host’s body. This is the first stage at which they become runners. The cordyceps are actually able to rewire the brain and fix disabilities so that one no longer carries them.

We saw this in the case of Nana Adler, who was up partying like it was 1899 again, and she was able to run after Sarah when she encountered her in the house. Now one thing that you might not have noticed is something that was brought up on the podcast in the case of Sam.

Credit: HBO (The Last of Us)
Credit: HBO (The Last of Us)

Series creators Neil Druckman and Craig Mazin said that the cordyceps actually fixed Sam’s deafness, showing the ability they have to figure out faults in the body. Now beyond injecting the cordyceps, the show also has the infection spreading through bites. The game adds an additional layer to it as well, with spores being something that can give someone cordyceps.

Though we don’t really see this in either version, the majority of those who were infected with the fungi ended up dying shortly after. These corpses would find somewhere to lay down and die, and from there, they’d grow into the wall and start firing out spores into an area. This was normally in dark and damp areas underground, which is why you’d tend to come across them in basements and abandoned buildings.

Breathing the spores in for even a couple of minutes was enough to cause infection, so people had to carry gas masks with them at all times to navigate these areas.

Anyway, upon becoming infected, the first signs of someone being taken over come in the form of muscle spasms and twitching. Episode 1 also showed us that depending on where you are, it can drastically affect how long things take.

Someone bitten in the leg or foot has 12 to 24 hours, whereas those bitten in the neck or face have 5 to 15 minutes. This is purely because the cordyceps need to travel to the brain, so the closer the bite, the easier it is. They’ve never shown this in the series or game, but I do wonder if amputating a leg after a bite can stop it in its tracks, and this is a tactic that’s of course been used in zombie shows and movies.

The infection slowly reduces them to their basic instincts, and not only will they attack people, but they’ll also go after animals too.

Now, over the course of two days, someone will turn runner, and at this point, they kind of go off into two possible paths. The first is where their body can’t really handle it; the body is then instructed to find a dark corner, and this is where they lay down and die.

In the game and show Sam asks if the people are still in there and I’ve always been someone who thought that they were. The wiki says that the twitching is people trying to fight back, and that the sad expression some of them have when attacking is because they are genuinely remorseful. They don’t want to be doing this, but the fungi are controlling them, and thus they’re being forced to do horrific things because of it.

What Are Clickers In The Last Of Us?

Stronger people will last through this though, and they’ll keep going, being runners and so on and so forth. Those they don’t pick up on light are alerted by sound, and upon hearing a noise, they’ll tend to run towards it. If they find a person, they’ll attack using their bear hands and do whatever they can to put the cords in them. The show adds an additional layer with some being located in their mouth, and it really elevates the level of horror with them.

Though it’s never explicitly stated, I think that the infected you find crying and sobbing away in corners are the ones who are probably going to be dead in a couple of days, whereas the ones who keep walking around are those that will become stalkers.

Now I actually think that stalkers are the scariest form of them. Anyone who’s played through that office block scene in Part 2 knows what I’m talking about, and the reason that they are so creepy is because of how they move.

Now, in the case of a runner, you could typically drop down somewhere and they wouldn’t be aware of you. You could then sneak around and stealthily kill them. If you got caught then you knew what you were dealing with and they’d run towards you and attack. There were two things that you were well aware would happen, but stalkers were so unpredictable.

As soon as you enter an area with them, they’re immediately alerted, but rather than running at you, they’ll hide around corners and stalk you through the level. Sometimes they’ll run at you and other times they won’t, but the fact that they’re so unpredictable is what makes them so scary. They might all ambush you at once, or they might just watch you. You really don’t know whats gonna happen which keeps you on edge at all times with them.

Now, during this stage, the cordyceps have started to grow out of their faces and through their eyes. Stalkers usually develop after roughly two weeks and over the next couple of years after the fungi grows out of the host’s face, turning them into a clicker.

Now these are the infected that I think the game is most famous for. Completely blind, the clickers get their nickname from the fact that they use echolocation and clicks to scope out their surroundings. Possessing increased strength, they’re not only able to easily grapple their victims, but they can also take more bullets and hits than your typical infected. The fungus on them acts almost as armor plating, and sometimes you’ll have to land multiple head shots against one to take it down. This can be extremely tense if they’re running towards you, swiping the air like, “I’m not touching you. Don’t get mad. I’m not touching you.”

In the game, until you unlock the Shiv Defense skill, they’re one-hit kills that only have to reach you to give the game over screen.

If you know what you’re doing, it is possible to navigate them pretty safely, and you can use bottles and bricks to create noises that will draw them away.

Credit: HBO (The Last of Us)
Credit: HBO (The Last of Us)

Now the next stage up from this is the boss, and in the game, this is pretty much a recurring boss character. In the series, they first encounter it after escaping Kansas City, whereas in the game, you come across it at the school with Bill.

When discussing this creature, the creative team said that this was someone who was really strong in the real world, like a bodybuilder or YouTuber.

Most of these were infected decades ago, and they’ve kept going, whereas clickers normally tend to just lie down and die after a while.

They were basically annies back then, and thus they had resistance to the cordyceps. They became huge, hulking figures that could throw acidic spores at you, and in the game, if they grab you, they’ll stick their fingers in your face and tear you apart. This is a similar fate to what Perry experienced in the show, but we can’t show it because of f**king YouTube demonetisation. Anyway, the blowers are of course blind, so they can be navigated if they’re not alerted to you, and even though they’re extremely powerful, it is possible to beat them.

Due to them being heavily covered in fungus, they’re also extremely vulnerable to fire. Molotov cocktails and flamethrowers work extremely well against them, but they do take a while to kill. Now for the next part of the video, I’m going to be talking about the two infected that were introduced in the second game.

The first is a shambler, which shares several characteristics with the blowers. Like them, they’ve been infected for years, but they aren’t as large or as powerful as the blowers are. They also attack by using acidic spores that are much stronger than your typical grunt.

Death isn’t the end for them either, and upon being taken out, they’ll explode and spread more acidic spores into the air.

Part 2 also has the most gigantic infected creature that you come across in the two parts.

What Is The Oldest Form Of Infected?

When you’re playing as Abby, you head to the WLF hospital base in order to get medical supplies for Yara. Unable to get them on the surface you have to travel deeper into the location in order to find more.

Now this takes you to an area that was ground zero on outbreak day. When things went down, no one knew what was happening, and the hospital staff desperately tried to help the infected. They went into the basement, where they worked as the situation got worse. It got so bad that the entire area had to be quarantined, and there were several sanitary tunnels set up along with highly secure doors so that things could get locked down.

This didn’t stop it from spreading, though, and it got to the point where the military realized they couldn’t handle the situation. Thus they locked the doors, destroyed the stairs in and out, and never went back.

For decades, those that were infected have remained down there, and upon searching the area, you come across the Rat King. This is a creature that was created by several of the infected combining into one being to make a ginormous monster that’s capable of extensive damage.

The Rat King is terrifying, and even if you manage to damage it, it will simply have the infected that are part of it break off and chase you around the basement. Eventually you’ll be able to take it down, but then you’ll have to deal with one of the offshoots, and it’s a horrifying encounter.

Credit: Naughty Dog (The Last of Us)
Credit: Naughty Dog (The Last of Us Part 2)

Now, that’s people who were infected on day one, so we can pretty much gather that that is all of the stages.

However there may be more and if we get part 3 then who knows how many years into the future that is gonna take place. Potentially, if we get a ten-year time jump, we’re going to be about 34 years away from outbreak day, and this could lead to even more grotesque versions of the infected.

Anyway, that’s a video for another time, and now I wanna hear which infection is your favorite—or least favorite.

Basically, which one do you s**t yourself when you come across?

Comment below and let me know, and…

We’re running a competition right now and giving away The Rocky 4K Boxset to three subscribers on March 15. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is like the video, make sure you subscribe with notifications on, and drop a comment below with your thoughts on the episode. We pick the comments at random at the end of the month, and the winners of the last one are on screen right now, so message me at @heavyspoilers if that’s you.

If you want something else to watch, then make sure you check out our breakdown of the perfect scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming. We break down the entire thing, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you want to know more.

With that out the way thank you for sitting through the video, I’ve been Paul and I’ll see you next time. Take care,  Peace

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