The Last of Us Episode 2 Gave Us a Kiss We'll Never Forget

IMAGE LIANE HENTSCHER/HBO

This morning, I would be incredibly remiss to carry on with my daily life without mentioning the zombie kiss from last night’s The Last of Us episode. If you missed it, congrats! Hope you slept well. If not, just know that Anna Torv's smuggler, Tess, not only dies at the hands of a cordyceps-infected herd—but one of them plants a kiss on her during the melee.

It’s something that I'm not sure will ever leave my mind. even if it's an inventive way to establish that the show's “infected” aren't your typical zombie fare. Hopefully, the Internet will be on my side in calling this gnarly and insane, and I won’t find a weird, horny subculture buried in all of this. Regardless, I say that we let the memes roll. This was one of the weirdest deaths I’ve seen in a long, long time.

For starters, it’s safe to say that Tess does not open-mouth kiss the infected in the original The Last of Us game. Still, for a video game adaptation, the HBO series keeps it (unconventionally) close to its source material, and Tess meets her end in that very same building, all the same. After Joel and Ellie find out that she was bitten, they make their escape while Tess stays behind. The only difference in the game? She dies fending off FEDRA soldiers instead of the infected.

But in the second episode of the lauded HBO series, a mushroom monster calmly walks over to Tess and plants a big ol' smooch on her to spread the fungal infection. Neil Druckmann, creator of The Last of Us and director of the HBO series’ second episode, explained to EW, “These things don't have to get violent unless you're fighting them from spreading [the infection] further.” Their unique way of spreading the zombie-like affliction is therefore “realized in this beautiful, yet horrific way with Anna,” he said, that also expanded upon his source material.

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Watching frame-by-frame comparisons to the video game and the HBO series, viewers can see just how close Druckmann and showrunner Craig Mazin have adapted the zombie drama—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas that still leave room for improvement. “Craig smartly said, 'What can we do to separate our infected even further from zombies?' It's more than just a bite. There's something else going on," Druckmann recalled. "I wish we had that aha moment immediately, but we brainstormed so many different things that they could be doing. Some of them were pretty outlandish." Mazin also added that he thought the kiss was “very creepy, which I love." Uh-oh. Maybe there is an Internet subculture for this.

FromEsquire US

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Josh Rosenberg
Josh Rosenberg is an entertainment writer living in Brooklyn, keeping a steady diet of one movie a day; his work can be found at Spin, Insider, Vibe, and on his personal blog at Roseandblog.com.
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