The Last of Us: Infected   Books Included 
January 22, 2023 8:09 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

After escaping the QZ, Joel and Tess clash over Ellie's fate while navigating the ruins of long abandoned Boston.

As before, "books included" means the original playstation games.
posted by dis_integration (19 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Heh. You know, I kind of wanted an entire episode of thoughtful, decent, terrified people realizing they were going to fail to contain the plague in Jakarta.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 8:40 PM on January 22 [7 favorites]

They're cutting all the right stuff from the game, as far as I'm concerned. The middle-of-the-night route through claustrophobic office buildings is great for gameplay, but shitty for cinematography. And the confrontation at the State House swapped out FEDRA for infected. Joel's kill count (for humans) is, miraculously, only 1 after two whole episodes.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:21 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]

When Joel boosted Tess up to get past an obstacle I held my mental triangle button down. All they need now is to hold open a rusty metal garage door halfway while someone grabs a conveniently placed rolling cart to hold it up.

Clickers were really well done in this, very terrifying. Based on how hard they were to kill, we’re playing the game on Grounded.

Really i was annoyed when it ended, theyre doing an incredible job with this making me care about characters when i already know exactly what will happen. next week’s episode looks like it’s gonna be rough
posted by dis_integration at 4:54 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]

I'm waiting for the best weapon in the game to make an appearance: The Brick.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:49 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]

The mycologists' realization of just how terrified and desperate the military actually was, and the fact that she had to shift gears from enjoying a quiet cafe meal to herself to condemning an entire city and everyone she knew to death, absolutely gutted me. The trope subversion was great - instead of the science specialist frantically trying to leverage their expertise to prevent a reactive military from resorting to force, the military are the ones trying to find a restrained solution and the mycologist has to make the call for total escalation and sacrifice. Then we get a brief aside later on where the trio see bomb craters in the street, and Joel notes that the bombing is in fact the reason that anyone survived at all... granted, that might be survivorship bias, but still is another interesting invert of the classic 'nuclear option didn't work / made things worse' trope.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:34 AM on January 23 [10 favorites]

Great episode. The scene in the museum was just as tense as the game. The clickers sound perfectly recreated, too. I thought Tess’s death was very well adapted and horrifying.

I loved all the winks and nods to the gameplay in this one. The plank, the crashing down of the building to block the exit, Tess getting lifted up, Joel shooting the clickers in the head multiple times to get them down…well done. This episode was directed by Neil Druckmann, too.

Excited for what’s next. Make sure you check out the companion podcast for the show if you haven’t already. The Chernobyl podcast with Craig Mazin was fantastic, as was the companion podcast to the Last of Us games. Worth a listen - here’s more.
posted by glaucon at 7:37 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

The trope subversion was great - instead of the science specialist frantically trying to leverage their expertise to prevent a reactive military from resorting to force, the military are the ones trying to find a restrained solution and the mycologist has to make the call for total escalation and sacrifice.

There was an added layer of tension that I think Dr. Ratna (played by Indonesian icon Christine Hakim) portrayed perfectly.

Indonesia was under a military dictatorship, first under Sukarno (1945-1967), then under Suharto (1967-1998), so in the timeline of the show (2003), this was recent memory.

Dr. Ratna would definitely be uneasy about the military picking her up in the middle of the day for questioning about something.

I think she said something to the effect of "are you sure you have the right person?", and the military officer says yes, you're a doctor of mycology, we have the right person. Frightening even outside the knowledge of zombie apocalypse.
posted by ishmael at 8:25 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]

I should say that before Sukarno, that Indonesia was under the military colonial dictatorships of the Japanese during World War II for 3 years, and the Dutch before them since the 16th century.
posted by ishmael at 8:34 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

Loved the ep, even more than the first i think. The lighting, the colour grading, the bookshelf at a 45 degree angle in front of the door and the move Joel makes to clear it. I wish the infection hadn't started in Asia though.
posted by Iteki at 2:17 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Also, the absolute tension in the museum scene was great. I quite like the.mycelium network instead of spores thing, it's a fair trade. The horde lying on the ground squirming was awful (positive).
posted by Iteki at 2:23 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

I wish the infection hadn't started in Asia though.
Definitely. No reason or couldn’t have kicked off in the Amazon, or noisy and fetid England.

And the confrontation at the State House swapped out FEDRA for infected.
I’m conflicted about this. It was neat streamlining, but I’m hoping they don’t avoid the whole corrupted-federal-military thing completely - it’s such a key part of the game world.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:12 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Oh shot and just now learning in-game the fungus originates in South America.

Yeah. Wish they hadn’t blamed Asia
posted by coriolisdave at 3:24 AM on January 24

It does tie in with the contaminated flour thing, though--Jakarta apparently has the largest flour mill in the world.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:14 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]

Another thing about the infection starting in Indonesia – Indonesia doesn't even grow much/any wheat, so pretty much all of the flour they mill is made from imported wheat from countries like Australia, Ukraine, and Canada. In the game, the outbreak started with contaminated grain from South America, so it could still be that both can be canonically true and the show wanted to open up a window into a part of the world most viewers in the West don't think about often. Also, Ophiocordyceps is distributed globally in tropical regions, including temperate forests in the US, so there's no reason to think the original contamination came from Indonesia itself.
posted by wakannai at 9:12 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]

RIP Tess. They can't even kiss goodbye ;_;

From here on out I don't care much about the story until they get to the winter and some dread and awfulness gets paid off. The game was kind of a slog from here to there, sprinkled with some really cool white-knuckle playing parts with some meaning (like the scene where Ellie saves Joel especially) but I don't know if they will necessarily be engaging.

In the E2 podcast Craig Mazin says a recurring theme in the show will be, "love can be bad", which is definitely a big part of the ending but I don't know how much it needs teasing out of everything up until then. GoT kinda did that idea into the dirt.

I definitely did not connect the dots between flour fungus vector and no pancakes/cake in the the E1 intro.
posted by fleacircus at 10:11 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]

Oh they will totally be doing the Ellie saves Joel scene. She's asked for Checkovs gun like eight times on two eps. And anyhow you absolutely have to put some pondus and desperation against the choice to arm a child.
posted by Iteki at 12:15 AM on January 26

I'm sure that they will do it, I'm just wondering if it will be enough dramatically to overcome the blahness of the middle 80% of the game, at least how I remember it.

It's funny that in the show-only thread, someone says: knowing it's a video game, they can feel like dialogue menus and decision points in the game....
posted by fleacircus at 11:01 AM on January 26

Absolutely, I mean that shot when Joel was beating the snot out of the guard literally had a *ding* "Ellie will remember that".
posted by Iteki at 11:49 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]

I mean TLoU doesn't have dialogue menus or decision points or different endings, so it's kind of funny for people to claim they can detect those things in it.
posted by fleacircus at 9:18 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]

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