What Episode Does Tess Die In The Last Of Us?

Tess death in The Last of Us Show

If you’ve played The Last of Us Game, then you know that Tess dies. But do you know what Episode Tess dies In The Last Of Us show? Well, we will talk about that and also about how they changed Tess’ death in the show in comparison to the game.

This is a significant change for the show, and in this article, we’ll discuss why they changed her death and what the scene meant. And if you haven’t watched the episode, we will also explain what exactly happened in the episode where Tess died at the end of this article.

This is your heads-up if you wish to avoid any spoilers because we’re about to take a deep dive into this game and series to talk about both the big-picture events and the specifics that took place in the episode.

What Episode Does Tess Die In The Last Of Us?

So, to answer it, Tess dies in the second episode of The Last Of Us. But before we go deep into that, let’s first see how Tess dies in the game and how it differs from the show. The events of the Last of Us games followed a similar path to the show.

Joel, Tess, and Ellie worked their way across Boston to join up with some fireflies, and this was to drop Ellie off. Tess got bit while traveling in a museum, and she ultimately died in a dramatic fire.

Tess' death in the Last of Us game

Tess’ death in the Last of Us game

The difference between the game and the drama is that Tess lost her life in a gunfight with Federer in the latter’s final moments. However, in the series, the area is overrun by the infected, and Tess detonates herself alongside the Horde.

Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, the creators of the series, talked about what actually happened at the beginning of it in the official Last of Us podcast after delving into the reasons why this was done. They said that Fedra’s behavior didn’t make sense in the big picture. 

Now, in the game, there was a scene during which they were all just outside of the wall, and Joel killed two guards after they checked Ellie. Once the alarm went off, you slipped through the area and killed who came in your way.

This kind of makes sense as to why Fedra had a vendetta against you, as you’d murdered at least two guards, and we’re making a run for it. In the show, though, Joel kills that one guard, and he doesn’t call it in and possibly isn’t even found until the next day. Mazin also said that the OZ’s operation wouldn’t really need people to run out and go hunting others.

For example, the Liquis is basically a big wall that’s built to keep people out. They patrol around the area to make sure no one can attack it, but they wouldn’t go out of their way to chase people down that had already left because they’re no longer a problem. It’s not worth risking soldiers to go and get three people, and with this in mind, it does make a lot of sense.

Why Did They Change The Tess Death In The Last Of Us Show From The Game?

Now, the reason why it was changed to the infected and not just a group of bandits was because the showrunners wanted us to see them in a new light. This was done primarily to show how they are a hive network and how the fungus could reach out to others in order to get them to swarm an area. This creates an idea of community, and the people behind the show have brought up time and time again how this series is actually about love.

Joel witnessing Tess' death in the game

Joel witnesses Tess’ death in the game

Not going to get too spoiled for what’s going to happen at the end of the series, but love is very much the thing that drives Joel to do both good and bad. In Episode one, his love for Sarah is what pushed him to attempt to save her, and her death is also what hurt him so much.

He’s likely going to do something with Ellie down the line that’s based on selfish love, and this will show how it can be both a good and bad thing. You also have the episode with Bill and Frank coming out that’s due to explore their relationship. So we have this theme constantly popping up.

That Creepy Tess Kiss Explained

This explains why that creepy kiss was done, and in many ways, it was meant to show the infected welcoming Tess into their hive mind. They said that they try to show this almost in a welcoming way, with a kiss being something completely weird and haunting. It almost felt like a tender moment rather than an attack.

Neil Druckmann, who directed the entry, also stated that he staged this in the same way that you’d stage a romantic scene. They wanted to shoot it in the most beautiful way possible because then there’d be this undercurrent that makes it even more messed up. You have two characters making eye contact and slowly getting closer and closer and closer.

Before this, the infected themselves are blurred out as well, and we have this one slowly coming into focus as he gets near her. By going over it, they said there’s a part of Tess that’s actually giving up by this point, but then another side of her comes through in the end.

As I watched it over and again, I kept asking myself, “Is it bait?” Because she’s still flipping the lighter, or are we witnessing her surrender at this point? And the final fight is the lighter. She understands she is lost. She flicks the lighter slower and less repetitively, and you can see that she is giving up because it isn’t igniting. And then, in the dying seconds, all that was left of her was one last attempt, and she succeeded.

The creepy kiss of death in The Last Of Us Episode 2

The creepy kiss of death in The Last Of Us Episode 2 (CC: HBO)

However, I appreciate how the creators did it since it highlights the concept of love and how it works once more. The fungus produces more of itself because it loves it as well. When we love one another, we act in that way. Many of us put more of ourselves forward. The species is likely to close in that way.

And there’s this feeling that, despite the fact that we may appear repulsive and that our reproductive ways may be gruesome and violent, the way this man approaches her is soft and not violent because she isn’t fighting. They could all see that they would destroy her if she ran or attempted to fight back. Yes, but she’s simply standing there as he shares himself very subtly, which is quite upsetting.

Any penetrative action is unpleasant and terrifying when dealing with monsters. And it just has a really weird, disgusting, and primitive feel to it. And yet, strangely, as Neil has mentioned, the manner, particularly the way he shot it. Therefore, there is a lot going on in that frame, which is why the makers wanted to do it. That’s a whole lot more interesting than, say, Fedra just showing up there and shooting her.

The Change Was Good

So this moment was changed for a number of reasons. And with this explanation, I think it might actually work better. When I was first watching it, I was taken aback by the whole KISS thing. But I do think it’s one of those haunting moments that really adds a new dimension to the infected. In the podcast, they said that Tess had run. Then the infected would have sprinted after her to tear her apart.

However, because there’s no struggle, it almost becomes a tender moment, which makes it infinitely more horrifying. There are also the connotations of assault and then very much forcing Tess to become one with them. That adds these extra layers that really elevate how frightening it is. I think these added dimensions really improve the scene and almost make it like a collective hive mind.

Tess trying the lighter

Tess is trying the lighter (CC: HBO)

It’s very much about how she is losing her freedom and independence, and in this final moment, she resists and sparks up the lighter. Throughout the show, we, of course, have the saying look for the light constantly popping up. Light is very much seen as something that will guide and help characters. So I think the symbolism is important here.

I also heard that they wanted Tess in the group originally, but they’re glad that she blew herself up because there wasn’t much room, so there wasn’t much room in the crew. They also talked about the backstory for Tess that they were originally going to show. The episode was going to open with a basement door, and I would hear banging coming from the other side of it.

Eventually, it would be revealed that Tess’s husband and son got infected, and though she killed the former, she couldn’t do it to the ladder. So she locked him in the basement, and Ellie very much represented a second chance at saving the son she couldn’t. This happened in the case of Sarah, too, and it’s sort of like poetry.

The Last Of Us Episode 2 Explained

The Last Of Us Episode 2 developed from the world, the characters, and the infection that we got introduced to in episode one. Following the quest to get Ellie to the Fireflies outside of the federal-run state in exchange for Joel and Tess to get the battery, this episode shows us that this show is going to be anything but plain sailing and that the journey that they’re going to go on is going to have deadly consequences.

The Last Of Us Episode 2 was titled “Infected”, and It’s safe to say that it’s certainly the doubt to its name. Showing us Clickers that were thriving in the abandoned city, providing information on how connected they all are to each other due to the ecosystem that binds them all together.

And also shows us our first protagonist falling victim to the infection that wiped out most of the civilization, allowing there to be an emotional and bleak ending to an episode. This felt like Joel and Ellie only made it out by the skin of their teeth.

It all started in Jakarta

It all started in Jakarta (CC: HBO)

What Happened In Jakarta?

The first scene in The Last Of Us Episode 2 took place in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the 24th of September, which was two days before when we saw the offense taking place with Joel and Sarah in episode one of the show where the outbreak happened in the states.

We saw that the infection broke out in a flower and grain factory on the West side of the city. And with the factory most likely producing products for distribution around the globe, that was most likely the reasoning behind why it hit the United State so quickly after. We saw that it actually happened 30 hours before the 24th of September.

So with the infection usually taking a matter of hours to occur, it would make logical sense for that to be the birthplace of the Cordyceps infection that went on to become a global pandemic and wipe out a lot of the population.

We also had what we saw in episode one reiterated to us in the opening scene. Here we saw that the doctor stated that there wasn’t a medicine or a vaccine that could be created in order to stop this. So the best thing to do to contain the infection and stop it from spreading worldwide was to destroy the city. However, it was already too late by that point.

This moment also once again highlighted to us how important Ellie is in the show and the value that she holds in being able to quite literally save the world from the darkness that it’s currently in.


Joel was relatively quiet throughout this episode. But I feel that was mainly down to the skepticism that he had over the legitimacy of Ellie being able to be immune from the infection. We saw that he was leading the way to the Fireflies, where he hoped to be able to get the battery for his vehicle as he wanted to go on and search for his brother Tommy.

Joel in Episode 2

Joel in Episode 2 (CC: HBO)

Tess was the individual that was making Joel see sense throughout most parts of the episode. Due to the fact that he wanted to turn back because he felt as though Ellie could turn at any moment and put them both in danger.

However, we saw that she didn’t. We saw just how brave of a character Joel is in this episode and the care that he has for the people that he was with, due to the fact that he was facing the clickers head-on and was prepared to be on the frontline in order to keep them safe. He even came to save Ellie, which was a big change for the character.

We saw that the killing of the guard was something that was playing on Joel’s mind from episode one. And even the killing of the infected at points due to the question that Ellie asked. When she asked if he ever thought about them being human at one point, it made you realize that he does it in order to survive, and you can tell that he takes no pleasure in doing so.

Joel and Tess had a history together, and when we saw Joel find out that Tess was bitten when they encountered a Clicker inside of the museum, we saw his whole demeanor change. He didn’t seem too upset like we saw when Sarah was killed, but I imagine 20 years of fighting and trying to survive hardened him up, and his most probably far less emotional than he once was.

With him running off with Ellie at the end, we saw that he was going to head off to Frank and Bill, who we saw in the trailer last week, where it seems as though he’s going to need to convince them of Ellie’s immunity and hope that they’ll be able to help him further down the line.

There was a brief moment where we saw Joel look at the watch that Sarah got mended for him 20 years ago in this episode. So it showed that even now she was still in his mind, and I imagine stepping into the free world and being alongside Ellie, a 14-year-old, somebody who was of a similar rage towards Sarah when she was killed, brought back something in his mind.

I imagine he’ll want to protect her and not fail her. Joel was our educator in this episode, along with Tess. And we’ve learned a lot about the infection through his educating Ellie.

Ellie in Episode 2

Ellie in Episode 2 (CC: HBO)


The Last Of Us Episode 2, like the first, allowed us to see more of Ellie’s sharp personality that she’s known for. We didn’t learn much about the character’s back story, but we saw her start to bond with Joel and Tess, more so with Tess, which I think was the main reason why we saw that she reacted the way that she did when Tess was left at the end, fighting and screaming.

Ellie was bitten during the encounter in the museum, just like Tess was, but we saw the speed in which her body could fight off the infection, and in the short amount of time that followed, we saw that it had taken hold of Tess quite badly, but Ellie had healed tremendously fast.

This episode showed us that despite the sharp tongue and confident attitude that Ellie embodied, she’s just a kid and doesn’t know much about the dangers that lie ahead. She was fearful, wasn’t able to fend for herself, and would have definitely died if Joel wasn’t there, and I think she actually appreciated that.

She was amazed by the world that she was looking at, a world that once was, that she was never raised in. We saw that she was 14, so that confirmed to us that she knew nothing of the world that was before, where the infection wasn’t present.

With the final shots of her looking at Joel as he walked off, we saw that she admitted a sigh, which was almost like reality hitting and her coming to the realization that things are most probably only going to get worse, more dangerous filled, and that there’s a full-on journey ahead.

Tess in Episode 2

Tess in Episode 2 (CC: HBO)


Tess was the character that provided the level-headedness in this episode. She trusted Ellie, and she trusted that she was the thing that could save the state of the world. Tess gives out advice to Ellie throughout the entirety of the episode, showing that she does have a caring side to her despite coming across as tough.

During the scene where they were inside the museum, we saw that she was bitten by a Clicker and that the infection had spread rapidly around her body. And this leads her, in her final moments, to persuade Joel to get Ellie to Bill and Frank. This was after it was revealed to us that all of the Fireflies had been killed, so there was no way of getting the battery in exchange.

This then leads Tess to sacrifice herself in order to buy Joel and Ellie time to escape. There was a really haunting scene that had one of the Runners getting close up and personal with Tess. Where the fungus was moving all around its mouth, it showed just how disgusting it was, and Tess didn’t want to become what was right in front of her very eyes.

She wanted to die the way that she remembered herself. And that did happen as the building went up in flames, buying Joel and Ellie the valuable time that they needed.

The Last Of Us Episode 2 Ending

The whole reason why the other fireflies aren’t at the rendezvous is that they’re all dead. One of them went up, turning, and it caused this domino effect that led to them all killing each other. This is why Joel winds up taking Ellie all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah, but only after another call to action from Tess. Like he still needs a little bit of convincing, even after he knows that she’s going to die.

The Last Of Us Episode 2 ending

The Last Of Us Episode 2 ending (CC: HBO)

The scene of them finding the bodies is also right out of the game. All the stuff is right out of the game, as is the scene of Tess revealing that she was infected and telling Joel why it’s so important that he take Ellie all the way with the hope of finding a vaccine to save humanity, making things right.

And remember, the reason why this is meant to be so heartbreaking is that Joel actually genuinely did care about Tess. Like they’ve been together as a couple for a long time, even though, as Tess said, they’re not nice people. He’s genuinely heartbroken again like he opened himself up again finally, and it just wound up biting him in the ass like the person that he loved wound up dying again.

They also use this as a way to prove Ellie’s immunity because, as Tess shows her infection, she’s only been infected for, like, less than an hour, and see how quickly it’s progressed, and Ellie hasn’t changed at all.

They also pay off Tessa’s earlier reference about the way the fungus grows tendrils underground and can alert other groups of infected when they kill that remaining infected, and the tendrils continue growing and alert the others that come racing towards them. Her sacrificing herself to make sure that they can get out of Boston the rest of the way in and find Bill and Frank.

The look on their face at the end as they see the building blow up. And Ellie looks up at the sky like, “Oh, here we go,” which is really where she starts to depend on him, kind of like a father figure.

But they still don’t view each other as like a father-daughter duo yet. That’s a little ways off. You see them slowly warming up to each other, like she’s relying on him. Like she’s like, “okay, I’m putting my hands in him. Hopefully, this goes well”.

Ellie realizing the danger

Ellie realizes the danger (CC: HBO)

And Joel’s kind of like, “here we go again, tamp down those terrible feelings inside about what just happened to the person that I love to Tess”, feeling just like he did when his daughter died. But he will keep having moments as he did during episode one, which is protecting Ellie and hallucinating his daughter, just associating the two together.

This Episode Gave Us A Lot Of Information

I thought this episode was a good one. It wasn’t as long as the first episode, and it didn’t mean to be. It felt like an educational episode where we learned about the origin of the infection, how it’s all connected throughout the city, and how one wrong move could cause a chain reaction that could expose the location.

We were introduced to a few different types of stages of the individuals once being bitten. We set their world to a character that brought out the good in Joel, and we also got to see the importance that Ellie held and where the journey we’re watching unfold is worth the risk.

Infected was the perfect title for this episode as it was solely based on the infection. The real journey has only just begun. It was dangerous enough just being over the wall and being in the city. So now that we’re in parking on a cross-country trip, I feel it’s only going to get worse and far more dangerous.

Also Read: Is The Last Of Us Show Based On The Game?


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