The Last of Us: Infected   Show Only 
January 22, 2023 9:06 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Joel and Tess continue traveling with the always sarcastic Ellie, we get a more information about how the cordyceps work, there's a museum with the worst guests ever (they can't stop clicking), but it's all redeemed by a particularly beautiful kiss.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (31 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Gentle wriggling reminder that this is SHOW ONLY thread.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:06 PM on January 22


I may or may not make it through this show. There's a disgusting element to the tendrils of the infected that gives waves of revulsion and is uncomfortable to watch. Kudos to the creative time for managing that!

That said, Ellie is charming character because she's very believable as a 14 year old teenager who's seen a lot shit. Generally unfazed and testing boundaries, but also scared just like the rest of the characters.

Joel remained Joel, but it was interesting how rapidly he felt easy around Ellie. Pedro Pascal did a great job of selling the body language of someone who's been through a lot but has found someone to repair a bit of his heart, yet not realizing it just yet.

Overall the the story is fine, but how long can it last? The essence of most zombie stories is that humanity is the true monster. We were beat over the head with that in The Walking Dead, plus we get daily reminders from life these days about that sad fact. So what can TLoS bring to that table that's different? That's unknown but for the moment that cast and crew are doing a good job of presenting that characters and situation to us.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:19 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


They absolutely tricked me with Tess. I had figured the daughter was toast in the first episode -- because the vibe in the trailers was that Joel was projecting some dead daughter feelings on Ellie -- but I wasn't expecting Tess to die so early in the season. Kudos to the actors and the writers for developing that character so well I was shocked (and pretty sad tbh) she wouldn't be there longer.

I agree re: Ellie being charming. She's great. I found Lyanna Mormont from Game of Thrones -- same actor, kinda similar character -- to be utterly insufferable, so this feels like a real achievement.
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:02 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Enjoyed this one more than the first episode, though I kind of agree with the question about what new ideas this is going to bring to the zombie apocalypse story.

I figured Tess wasn't going to be around long, but dammit I really liked her and Anna Torv was fantastic. That creeping tendril "kiss" at the end was just freaky.

Also, really cool to see one of the major routes into downtown here turned into an apocalyptic wasteland.
posted by nubs at 6:52 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Did anybody catch Tess's explanation why there were so many infected on the ground blocking the long route?

I played it back a few times, but didn't understand what the reasoning was.
posted by ishmael at 8:40 AM on January 23


> Did anybody catch Tess's explanation why there were so many infected on the ground blocking the long route?

I think the argument was that it had been safe before but people trying to move in and out of the QZ had opened up the buildings to take shelter letting out the infected that were trapped inside and also getting infected themselves, until a huge hoard of infected had gathered.
posted by dis_integration at 8:49 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the explanation dis_integration! I was trying to take in a lot of info, and my mind just couldn't grok that part.
posted by ishmael at 9:18 AM on January 23


The Last of Us Recap: Good Night, Beantown [Vulture / Archive]
‘The Last of Us’ Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: Exit Through the Gift Shop [NYT / Archive]

Sad to see Tess go, I had looked at the 'books' included thread and got spoiled on that but still a shame. This was a scary episode, I'm not great with horror but I'm fast-forwarding tense/scary bits!
posted by ellieBOA at 9:54 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


I think the argument was that it had been safe before but people trying to move in and out of the QZ had opened up the buildings to take shelter letting out the infected that were trapped inside and also getting infected themselves, until a huge hoard of infected had gathered.

That was what she said. One thing I noted about that scene, and maybe it was just me - but did it seem like the infected lying on the ground actually moved more when the sunlight was on them?
posted by nubs at 10:07 AM on January 23 [3 favorites]


The infected definitely moved when the sun hit
posted by glaucon at 10:27 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Really enjoying this show. I dipped out of the game halfway through—years ago, when I finally decided that stealth games just aren't my bag. I could tell it was a well made game, just not for me.

I was kind of disappointed by the way the clicker zombies (the ones in the museum) looked in the show. They just seemed like thin actors who could move well wearing big rubber mask-helmets. I thought some of the enemy design in the game was more interesting and horrific. Still, that sequence was well acted, shot and directed. Just a nitpick compared to the amazing fungal set dressing.

All of the acting in this series is good to great. The dialog sounds natural, and the writing works efficiently in the way they present characters, motives, plot and background. I was genuinely sad to see Tess go, because I like the character and actor so much. The rebel organization name "Fireflies" is the most eye-rolling thing so far, but it's pulled directly from the game.

I'm genuinely surprised by the overall quality of the production—and I really, really wasn't looking forward to yet another zombie story. But they've completely hooked me.
posted by SoberHighland at 12:24 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Didn't play the game, so I've only been spoiled by commercials for the show, which is how I figured that Tess would be gone at some point. Loving it so far, and interested in trying the game again (I bounced off it when it first game out)!

That being said, could someone please just retire the "oh no, the lighter won't light!" gimmick already? It doesn't build tension, just my annoyance.
posted by Mogur at 2:12 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


I'm a microbiologist who worked on a (non-fungal) project in Indonesia for several years. Loved seeing the representation of female Indonesian scientists, which was very much in line with my experience, despite the dire plotline.
posted by emd3737 at 6:27 PM on January 23 [14 favorites]


- I loved Lyanna Mormont, but think that she was a bit one-note; she was a great little badass, but she was always a great little badass. Bella Ramsey gets to do more and different things here, either fourteen-going-on-twenty-four or fourteen-going-on-four, depending.

- Had gotten the feeling that Tess wasn't long for the world, or at least the plot, based on the previews, but still bummed to see Anna Torv go.

- That preview, and just the way that the mycologist says, "Bomb"... [shivers]

- The bit about the mycelial network is based in fact; a more cosmic version of that is also a plot device in Star Trek: Discovery.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:10 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


The Last of Us recap episode two – nightmare at the museum [Guardian / Archive]

Also I thought this was an interesting question on AskMe: Can I watch this show that's scaring me?
posted by ellieBOA at 12:38 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


How tense was that museum scene? Also--and I know I keep harping on this point, but still--I really appreciated that they were in a dark building, but you could still see everything that went on.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:23 AM on January 24 [8 favorites]


great episode and genuinely scary!! I too was bummed to lose Tess so soon and that kiss - ugh!! * shudder*

the fungus covered museum building was really beautiful. I like the art direction so far.
posted by supermedusa at 9:27 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Still struck and amazed by how scary the prologues have been. There’s something about seeing experts realize that the situation is fucked that is overwhelmingly terrifying.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:32 AM on January 24 [9 favorites]


agreed ^^^ that whole sequence is great not just for featuring female scientists being competent and trusted and interacting together (while the military man just stands in the background awaiting their words) but yes, the impending sense of doom. I was genuinely shocked when she said "bomb" like, what? like, with bombs? explode a city? no. explode all the cities. truly terrifying.
posted by supermedusa at 10:02 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


I thought the first episode was meh. Pretty paint by numbers. How is this episode? Is it markedly better?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:49 PM on January 24


It's tenser, certainly, and given a lot more pace than episode 1.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:45 PM on January 24


> So what can TLoS bring to that table that's different?

Maybe the fungus collective aspect. But does it really need anything new? My favorite thing about this kind of show is wallowing in the exploration of an abandoned world, and now we get to do that with with HBO's budget and production quality! But yeah, eventually it's going to have to be "humans are the real monsters" because zombies by themselves get boring. They're not smart enough to be a true adversary.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 3:57 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Agreed that the dialogue and acting are very good in this so far. Also guessing we'll see Tess again in flashback; there's so much history hinted between her and Joel that I'd be surprised if they don't explore that, along with what I'm sure will be flashbacks about Joel's brother and Ellie's past, and along with (I hope) more SCIENCE! flashbacks.

Overall the the story is fine, but how long can it last? The essence of most zombie stories is that humanity is the true monster...So what can TLoS bring to that table that's different?

Yeah, it's got so many of the apocalypse tropes I've seen in the far-too-many apocalypse stories I've read or watched, so there's no way it *can't* feel a bit clichéd, or at least overly familiar. The worst has been the Fireflies, presented as a terrible caricature of vague and useless rebellion/protest - a trope I got tired of long ago. All that was missing was a protest with signs like "Freedom Now" and "Get Ridra of Fedra" or something. I mean, 20 years into a rage fungus plague and the entire crew in the State House wipes *itself* out? A day after another whole rebel crew gets almost entirely wiped out in a battery deal gone wrong? That was kinda ridiculously convenient to the plot, and out of sync with the rest of the mostly realistic human interactions we've seen so far.

I'm genuinely surprised by the overall quality of the production—and I really, really wasn't looking forward to yet another zombie story. But they've completely hooked me.

Yep. I'm in for a while.
posted by mediareport at 7:02 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


I keep thinking back to the "Instruction for a Help" stories by Zack Parsons and comparing them. The concept for that is fresher -- the perspective of the fungus hive-mind itself and the concept that it might have a positive aim and an appealing vision for peace, together with the bent prose that I loved. But the character element isn't there the way it is here, and that's what a show really needs. I don't like your basic grimdark post-apocalypse setting, but this show really sells it. Presumably the game does too -- I was fascinated when I watched a video of the first scene. But I knew that either I wouldn't be good enough at it to get to the emotional payoffs or it would wreck me before I could finish the game.

Boston doesn't look much like Boston, but to be fair, I've been in and around it since the '90s and a lot of it already doesn't look like Boston anymore. There are some impossible views, though, and I kept wondering where everything was supposed to be. (Where was the ocean? Did the kid come from Brookline?) As it was, though, I loved seeing a climactic battle in a place by which I commuted to work every day.

Found myself lying awake trying not to think of the zombies. It's the tendrils, they're so ... they're so dry. They're so dry under the skin ...
posted by Countess Elena at 10:44 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


Boston doesn't look much like Boston,

I'm not surprised - a lot of the outdoor scenes were shot in Alberta, Canada, including using Calgary and Edmonton as stand-ins for Boston. The overpass scene from this episode - which shows a lot of city in the background - is the 4th Avenue overpass in Calgary, which was shutdown for a weekend in Oct of 2021 in order to facilitate the filming (very hard to find photos of the view from the overpass, as it is cars only, so most of the views are from ground level along Memorial Drive, which they also had jam packed with cars in the background.)

Travel Alberta is keeping an updated page of filming locations as the episodes air.
posted by nubs at 11:07 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


Anna Torv is one of my all-time favorite TV actors, so I'm super-sad to see her go.

“The worst has been the Fireflies, presented as a terrible caricature of vague and useless rebellion/protest - a trope I got tired of long ago.”

Glad to know it's not just me.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:45 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


The problem is that we don't know why the Fireflies even exist. Sure, they're against FEDRA, but why exactly?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:32 AM on January 27


Season 2 confirmed! [Vulture / Archive]
posted by ellieBOA at 3:11 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


That being said, could someone please just retire the "oh no, the lighter won't light!" gimmick already? It doesn't build tension, just my annoyance.

Tell me you've never been frantically trying to cover your tracks in someone's guest bathroom without telling me.

Fucking things never light when you need them.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:11 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Sure, they're against FEDRA, but why exactly?

Marlene mentions freedom and democracy, in contrast to FEDRA's dictatorship.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:09 AM on February 5


I can't help but know that I'm watching one videogame cutscreen after another. But I'm not only surprised I'm not bothered by it, but that I'm kind of drawn in. I find most horror movies are unintentional comedies, but this is directed in a way that raises my pulse. Tropes get used, but probably because those tropes work so well; will keep watching.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:01 AM on February 5


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