'The Last of Us' Episode 2's Opening Scene Amps Up Ellie's Importance (2023)

Editor's note: The below contains spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 2 as well as The Last of Us video game.One question that viewers of last week's premiere of HBO's The Last of Us might be asking is whether it is worth it to take Ellie (Bella Ramsey) on what feels like a suicide mission through bombed-out, infected territory in post-apocalyptic Boston. Episode 2, "Infected," written by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann and directed by Druckmann as well, seeks to answer that question by explicitly stating the difficulty of containing the cordyceps fungal outbreak before proving that Ellie is in fact immune to infection.

In a pre-pandemic flashback sequence, we meet Professor Ibu Ratna (Christine Hakim) who is tasked with finding a way to cull the spread of the fungus or develop a medicine to treat those infected by cordyceps. This harrowing cold open reiterates what fans of the video game will already know: there is no hope for a vaccine or cure until Ellie's immunity is revealed. "Infected" shows us a cordyceps expert who is incapable of stopping the outbreak, then provides the counterpoint that Ellie might be humanity's last hope of quelling the cordyceps.

(Video) Pedro Pascal & Bella Ramsey Get To Know Me | The Last of Us | HBO Max

RELATED: How 'The Last of Us' Changed Robert Compared to the Game

The Jakarta Sequence Shows That Humanity Has No Cure for Cordyceps

The second episode's cold open is a flashback taking place in Jakarta, Indonesia on September 24, 2003, prior to the events in Texas from last week's episode. Ibu Ratna, a professor of mycology, has her lunch interrupted by military police. She is taken to a secure government laboratory and told to inspect a sample, which she quickly identifies as "ophiocordyceps." When she is told that this sample was taken from a human, she confidently responds with, "Cordyceps cannot survive in humans." The military policeman's look of concern suggests that unfortunately, Ratna is about to be proven wrong.

Ratna dons a hazmat suit and enters a secure morgue to inspect a corpse containing cordyceps. When she opens the corpse's mouth to procure a sample with some medical scissors, she collects a few tendrils of the freaky fungus that immediately start writhing toward her as if sentient and malicious even when disconnected from their host body. Ratna drops the scissors holding the tendrils in fright and exits the morgue. Visibly shaken in the next scene, she speaks plainly and directly about the devastating nature of a cordyceps outbreak and why it is unlikely that any plan to stop the spread of the fungus will succeed.

(Video) Episode 2 - "Infected” | The Last of Us Podcast | HBO Max

The military officer wants Ratna's advice on how to handle this burgeoning crisis and prevent the spread of cordyceps, saying, "We need a vaccine or a medicine." After hearing how quickly the fungus spread between people via bites and learning that there are still infected humans at large in Jakarta, Ratna puts down her tea, her fingers trembling slightly, and tells the military policeman that their chances of survival are slim to none. "I have spent my life studying these things," she says. "So please listen carefully. There is no medicine. There is no vaccine." When the MP asks how they should proceed, she solemnly tells him to bomb the city "and everyone in it," then asks amid tears if someone can take her home so that she can be with her family.

Why Ellie Is So Important

'The Last of Us' Episode 2's Opening Scene Amps Up Ellie's Importance (2)

The cold open of "Infected" establishes the unlikelihood of a medical solution to the outbreak, given cordyceps's rapid spread and the lack of an existing treatment or vaccine. The fact that a leading scientific mind calls for violent military intervention rather than research and clinical trials is all the audience needs to know about the deadly stakes of the outbreak. This is a doomsday scenario for Professor Ratna, one so despair-inducing that she quickly accepts the imminent demise of everyone around her, as evidenced by her asking to be with her family in her final moments. This flashback explains exactly why humanity was powerless to combat the virus during its initial outbreak, and how terrifying the concept of cordyceps in human beings would be.

20 years after the outbreak, in a bomb-ruined Boston where infected rule the streets, Joel (Pedro Pascal) makes it clear that he is too jaded and traumatized to believe in basic optimism, let alone a miracle cure that could stop cordyceps. Joel lived in the time before the outbreak as well and knows firsthand that there were no medical solutions even at the height of humanity's scientific power. He also makes it clear in this episode that he has heard claims about miracle cures before and that they have all been either snake oil or similar scams. This is why Joel is so mistrustful of Ellie, despite her claims that her bite mark is from weeks prior, thus proving that she is immune to cordyceps.

The episode takes key steps to prove that Ellie is not part of an elaborate scam and that her immunity is legitimate. Ellie has survived long past the normal transformation period, shown no signs of becoming a raving flesh-hungry lunatic, and her bite wound lacks the telltale tendril-like scarring of a typical infection. Joel's hardened heart and diehard pessimism make him more likely to shoot Ellie dead than continue with their proposed plan to take Ellie to a group of Fireflies, the freedom fighters who oppose government control and are searching for a cordyceps cure. Tess (Anna Torv) convinces Joel to continue on with the mission, reminding him that even if Ellie is not the key to a vaccine, they can still get paid for doing the job regardless. As Joel and Tess munch on what appears to be ancient jerky, they realize that the Fireflies have equipped Ellie with a rare commodity: a delicious-looking, sizable chicken sandwich. Though this is a relatively small detail, the fact that the Fireflies care enough about Ellie to give her such a decadent treat reiterates to Tess and Joel that the Fireflies are treating her like someone special, though the disparity between the quality of meals certainly doesn't endear Ellie to Joel any further.

(Video) The Last of Us | Official Trailer | HBO Max

An encounter with clickers, hideous sightless infected that use echolocation to find their prey, also proves that Ellie is telling the truth about her immunity to infection. Though Joel survives a fight with the clickers without getting bitten, Ellie gets bitten for the second time, but she isn't particularly upset about it, given her immunity. Her lack of concern is another reminder to Joel that she does not believe she will transform into a rabid infected creature. Later when it is revealed that Tess suffered a bite in the same encounter, it is shown that Tess's bite mark is already worsening, with fungal tendrils spreading from the site of the wound to the rest of her body. In a matter of minutes, her condition has rapidly deteriorated, which is telling when compared with Ellie's relatively tidy bite marks. Though Joel is still deeply skeptical of the plan to transport Ellie and find a cure, Tess convinces him to continue on with the mission, sacrificing herself to buy them time. Her dying efforts are another reminder of Ellie's importance to both Tess personally and the hopes of humanity's survival.

(Video) The Last of Us | Inside the Episode - 1 | HBO Max

Ellie Is Humanity's Hope for a Cure

'The Last of Us' Episode 2's Opening Scene Amps Up Ellie's Importance (3)

Whether Joel truly believes that a cure is possible or that the Fireflies can be trusted to find one, he has at least accrued enough evidence by the time "Infected" ends to believe that Ellie is being honest when she says she is immune to cordyceps. Ellie is an anomaly in this world; she is the hope for something that even mycology expert Prof. Ratna did not believe was possible. She is such a rare chance for a hopeful future that Tess made it her dying wish for Joel to continue on with his mission. Because of his relationship with Tess, Joel is bound by this promise to Tess in the video game and continues on with Ellie, even when facing perilous and seemingly impossible odds.

This is how the second episode of HBO's The Last of Us heightens Ellie's importance: by raising the stakes regarding the impossibility of medically treating cordyceps and painstakingly showing the viewer why Ellie's immunity is something special.

New episodes of The Last of Us premiere every Sunday on HBO and HBO Max.

(Video) How The Last of Us TV Series Makes Its Opening Even More Heartbreaking

Read More About ‘The Last of Us’:

  • 'The Last of Us' Movie by Sam Raimi That Never Happened

  • Every Character in 'The Last of Us' Series Who Is Not in the Games

  • 'The Last of Us': Every Zombie Type Explained, From Runners to Bloaters


Is The Last of Us Episode 2 Scary? ›

The arrival of the much-anticipated Clickers delivered some truly horrific jump-scares, but more importantly managed to capture that same sense of dread and chill as Joel, Tess and Ellie crept their way around the fungi-filled museum.

What city is the Last of Us episode 2 in? ›

The episode opens in Jakarta, where the disturbance is given some terrifying context. A female professor of Mycology (Christine Hakim) is hastily escorted from her lunch to examine a body infected by the Cordyceps virus.

Who is Tess in the last of us? ›

A hardened survivor living in one of the last remaining quarantine zones, Tess operates in the black market of a city under martial law. Partners with Joel, they have become known within the criminal underworld for their ruthlessness.

How long is last of us ep 2? ›

The Last Of Us episode 2 length and runtime

Although episode 2 runs in at just shy of one hour, you'll be thrilled to learn that The Last Of Us episode 3 runtime will deliver yet another long episode.

Is Abby a villain in Last of Us 2? ›

Abigail "Abby" Anderson is the main antagonist of Naughty Dog's 2020 video game The Last of Us: Part II, serving as the main antagonist of Ellie's storyline and the protagonist of her own storyline upon switching from Ellie's perspective in the story.

How inappropriate is The Last of Us 2? ›

The game contains some sexual content: a couple disrobing and briefly engaging in a sexual act; the couple is heard grunting/moaning as the screen turns black (depicted from the waist up with female toplessness). Some zombie creatures are depicted with exposed breasts and genitalia.

Who gets pregnant in The Last of Us 2? ›

Halfway through Dina and Ellie's mission to avenge Joel's death, Dina reveals she is pregnant with Jesse's child. This puts a strain on their relationship.

What does JJ stand for in The Last of Us 2? ›

The beginning of The Last of Us Part 2's final act sees Ellie and Dina living on a farm with their baby, J.J. It's never really addressed, but “J.J.” is short for Jesse Joel, a name commemorating two of the fallen characters in the game.

Does The Last of Us 2 have multiple endings? ›

The Last of Us Part II already has an emotional and provocative ending, but with the introduction of a new Grounded difficulty mode, Naughty Dog has added a bit of a secret ending that could leave some players in tears.

How far into Last of Us 2 Do you play as Abby? ›

The campaign is mirrored across three full days; you'll also play as Abby briefly in the Jackson and Santa Barbara acts. However, the main part of her story spans the second set of Seattle Day 1, Seattle Day 2, and Seattle Day 3 acts.

How hard is The Last of Us 2? ›

The Last Of Us Part II is a difficult game. Not just in its story content, but in the challenging combat encounters, puzzles and set pieces that it throws at the player across its 30-hour campaign.

Who did Tess love? ›

The other milkmaids at Talbothays cannot harbor any ill feelings toward Tess, as she is the one bound to marry Angel. Thus, she becomes a character with no discernable negative qualities. Also, Tess is passionate in her love for Angel and her hatred of Alec.

What gender is Tess? ›

Tess is a feminine given name, typically a diminutive form of Theresa or Tessa.

Is Tess a villain? ›

Type of Villain

Tess was intended to be the main antagonist of the 2013 video game The Last of Us.

Why did Ellie let Abby go? ›

She chooses to forgive Abby, as she eventually came to forgive Joel for eliminating humanity's final chance for a vaccine. Still, that last hunger for revenge comes at a heavy price.

Is Ellie the villain? ›

Despite being an anti-hero, she becomes more villainous in the sequel where she is blinded by revenge and uses extreme methods of violence against her enemies, leading to her accidentally killing a pregnant woman in self-defense and threatening to kill Lev, an innocent child.

Who kills Abby? ›

Allen charged with murder in 2017 killing of Libby German and Abby Williams. DELPHI — After more than five years of unanswered questions, Indiana State Police has named 50-year-old Richard Matthew Allen as the primary suspect in the 2017 killings of Abby Williams and Libby German.

Is the last of us 2 LGBT? ›

In addition to Lev, Ellie, the game's protagonist, is a lesbian, and Dina, Ellie's love interest and fighting partner, has romantic relationships with men and women.

Is The Last of Us ok for a 12 year old? ›

Violence and Gore: Is Too Scary For Kids Under 17? In a word: yes. This is a bloody, gory, and violent end-of-the-world saga that is likely too scary for most kids under 17.

How old is Ellie in The Last of Us 2? ›

Shortly after turning 13, Ellie arrives at the Boston quarantine zone on a bus, to the sight of the military scanning a man for infection. She thinks nothing of it until the scan reads positive and a man is forced to his knees at gunpoint.

Who does Ellie fall in love with? ›

Ellie writes gorgeous love letters to Aster for Paul, and even texts Aster on his behalf, too. The two fall for each other over French literature and classic films. Well, Ellie falls for Aster.

How did Ellie get pregnant? ›

Apparently, Noelle drugged Ellie's food or something, and when she passed out, she performed some kind of "procedure" to impregnate Ellie.

Who did Ellie have a baby with? ›

Background. Near the end of Dina and Jesse's relationship, the two had a sexual encounter that resulted in Dina becoming pregnant with JJ. She revealed her pregnancy to Ellie near the end of their first day in Seattle while they were sheltered inside a theater, thus explaining Dina's recent bouts of sickness.

Who is Ellie's dad? ›

That Awkward Moment (2014) - Joseph Adams as Ellie's Dad - IMDb.

How is Ellie immune? ›

The infection caused Ellie as a fetus to be exposed to the cordyceps and this is the cause of her immunity.

Why did Ellie leave Joel's guitar? ›

For Ellie to move past her need for vengeance and anger over Joel's murder, she needs to leave both the guitar and the watch behind. They're both relics of the past, and the only way for her to finally move forward is to leave them behind. On some level, Joel was never able to let go of his own past.

Who is Dina's baby daddy? ›

The Last of Us 2 makes it very clear that JJ is the son of Jesse. At the beginning of the game, players learn that Dina and Jesse had just broken up after several years together.

How old is Ellie in Last of Us Part 1? ›

In the game, Ellie is also 14, and in The Last of Us Part II, she's 19 years old.

Are there jump scares in The Last of Us 2? ›

We get some cool jump scares throughout the episode, but the whole museum sequence is fantastic in how it builds up dread and creates an image of horror.

Is The Last of Us a scary game? ›

The Last of Us franchise has many threats in its horror-filled world. While the main dangers are clickers and the infected, this series in its two epic games have reminded us that human's capacity for evil is arguably unmatched. The most horrific acts in these games are more often than not done by willing human hands.

Does The Last of Us have jump scares? ›

And for horror fans, it also dishes out bone-chilling jump scares and proper hide-behind-your-cushion moments that will leave you with 'clicking' nightmares for the rest of 2023. Trust us, episode 2 will shred your nerves and scare the holy heck out of you.

Is The Last of Us 2 gory? ›

The Last of Us series will only keep the essential violence. The Last of Us is a pretty gory game. It's a series renowned for its relationships between characters and the journeys they go on, but it also likes to indulge in the odd gruesome death animation from time to time.

What is the scariest part in The Last of Us? ›

The scariest moments would be the Hotel Basement and the part of the Sewers with Stalkers and Clickers. Stalkers are the reason for both moments. The confrontation with David was pretty unnerving too.

Which Last of Us is scarier? ›

The Last of Us Part II perfectly blends a hard-hitting and emotional storyline with tense gameplay that sets players on edge. Although the first game had its scary moments, such as when players are forced to explore a flooded hotel basement alone, the second game significantly ups the horror.

Is Last of Us 2 too hard? ›

That said, The Last of Us 2 is clearly much more difficult than its predecessor for a number of reasons. Though there are some quality of life changes that have been made since the first game, they don't outweigh the increased difficulty brought about by some of the newer features.

Can a 12 year old play TLOU? ›

Kids say. First things first I have played this game before and I let my son play it when he was 10 it is definitely not for kids of that age group. It has some horror themes but its not nightmare level scary for kids 13 and up. The language is not worse than they have heard.

What is the hardest mode in The Last of Us? ›

Grounded: "The most challenging and realistic experience. Listen Mode, HUD, and other gameplay elements are altered in this game mode."

What game has the most Jumpscares? ›

14 Horror Games With The Most Heart Attack-Inducing Jump Scares, Ranked
  • 8 The Evil Within 2.
  • 7 Alien Isolation.
  • 6 Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul.
  • 5 Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
  • 4 The Exorcist: Legion VR.
  • 3 Condemned: Criminal Origins.
  • 2 The Outlast Series.
  • 1 Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
Jun 19, 2021

What movie has the most Jumpscares? ›

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia is far and wide the most 'jumpy' horror movie ever made with 32 jump scares to enjoy throughout the film. Set in 1993.

What movie has the biggest jump scares? ›

The five biggest jump scares:

A Quiet Place II (John Krasinski, 2020) – 123 BPM. Host (Rob Savage, 2020) – 129 BPM. The Conjuring (James Wan, 2013) – 130 BPM. Sinister (Scott Derrickson, 2012) – 130 BPM.

Is the last of us OK for kids? ›

Nope. The Last Of Us is definitely not for your little kids, but it might be for the older ones.

Why is there controversy last of us 2? ›

Most of this criticism stemmed from the new character Abby, voiced by Laura Bailey. Abby was not a well-liked character due to her actions in The Last of Us 2's story, leading some fans to go too far in terms of their hatred of the character, even sending death threats to Laura Bailey.


1. Episode 1 - “When You’re Lost in the Darkness” | The Last of Us Podcast | HBO Max
(HBO Max)
2. A Father’s Love - Building The Last of Us Episode 1
3. The Last Of Us Episode 2 Aftershow
(John Campea)
4. The Problems with the Sensemaking Scene w/ Ellie Hain and Tarn Rodgers Johns
(The Stoa)
5. The Last of Us Part II: Two Years On
6. Unboxing The Last of Us Part II Ellie's Guitar | 2020 Taylor 314CE LTD | Joel's Song Guitar
(The Trogly's Guitar Show)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tish Haag

Last Updated: 01/06/2023

Views: 5916

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tish Haag

Birthday: 1999-11-18

Address: 30256 Tara Expressway, Kutchburgh, VT 92892-0078

Phone: +4215847628708

Job: Internal Consulting Engineer

Hobby: Roller skating, Roller skating, Kayaking, Flying, Graffiti, Ghost hunting, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Tish Haag, I am a excited, delightful, curious, beautiful, agreeable, enchanting, fancy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.