the last of us death

The Last of Us Explained: How the TV Show Changed a Major Character’s Death

The second episode of The Last of Us ended on a high note as fans saw one of the main character’s death—warning: spoilers ahead for The Last of Us Episode 2.

What Happened to Tess in The Last of Us?

Tess Servopoulos (Anna Torv) died at the end of The Last of Us Episode 2. Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess put their smuggler skills to work to deliver Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to the Fireflies, hoping to receive the battery-charged truck as part of their bargain with the revolutionary militia group. In turn, the Fireflies were interested to see Ellie safe and sound as she seemed to be the only person who survived the cordyceps infection without turning into a zombie.

It wasn’t an easy path that led the trio to the Fireflies’ base at the Massachusetts State House. The protagonist trio sneaked through an old museum full of Clickers after noticing their traditional route was occupied by an army of Runners and Stalkers. In spite of their best efforts, Joel, Tess, and Ellie didn’t manage to pass unnoticed through the Boston ruins as the Clickers attacked them. The trio survived the mushroom horde assault but paid a salty price. Somewhere during the clash, Tess was bitten by one of the creatures, but managed to survive and hid the truth from the others. “Infected” provided more details on how the infection worked, showing all the infected were connected through a sort of underground fungal network.

Much to the protagonists’ dismay, they found the Fireflies’ base full of corpses, who warned the other zombies of the trio’s presence through the fungal network. When Joel looked to leave Ellie behind and return “home” in the Quarantine Zone, Tess told him the truth about her condition and asked him to bring Ellie to the Fireflies to be studied. Ellie was the only person to be bit and survive to tell the others without transforming. “Save who you can save,” said Tess, urging Joel and Ellie to run away. Tess then prepared to welcome the zombie horde into the Massachusetts State House with grenades and plenty of combustible material.

How Did Tess’ Death Differ From the Game?

Tess’ death is where the series took a different direction from the Naughty Dog video game. In the game, Tess sacrificed herself after being bitten by taking on a platoon of militaries by herself, and she was quickly put away by a gunshot. In the live-action adaptation, Tess desperately looked to light her lighter before the horde noticed her. One of the Stalkers approached and kissed her as the cordyceps tendrils reached out from the corpse’s mouth to the woman. At the very last second, Tess ignited her lighter and tossed it away, causing a tremendous explosion. What the two deaths had in common was Tess unwillingness to become a zombie, preferring to die rather than lose her humanity.

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