“The Last of Us” Episode Two: The Scenery Sure Looks Pretty in a Scary World

The episode “Infected” has to be my favorite episode yet of “The Last of Us.” Without the need for excessive exposition, this episode focused on the scenery of the outside world. The beginning was a short and seemingly unrelated opening that could be its own short film. It explained the scientific basis of the fungus and thoroughly terrified me since it was so plausible.
Then, the story began again with Joel and Tess arguing over what to do with the supposedly immune girl. Usually, the banter is entertaining and natural, but the arguments so far felt like they went on for too long. When they finally decide to move the plot forward, the surroundings genuinely come into focus. Moss-covered skyscrapers toppled sideways under abundant pops of diverse flora and fauna. Despite being a wasteland for undead creatures, they reside in mesmerizing environments to the point where I would not mind being turned into the living dead if it meant I could see such beautiful tropical cities.
Ellie got closer to both Joel and Tess, mirroring a parent-like relationship. This episode was gorgeous, words simply cannot describe how beautiful the flora-covered buildings were. The banter between all the characters is almost identical to the dialogue within the game. I cannot wait to see Ellie and Joel grow as people and interact more.
Out of werewolves, vampires and zombies, zombies always seemed like the weakest link. They are slow, feeble, and only scary when in excess. However, when watching the episode, the guttural and unnatural clicking entered my ear and made me feel physically queasy. Multicolored toadstools splitting a former human’s head attack Joel and he fights to defend himself and his companions. Clickers (another type of zombie) are humans who have been infected for over a year. Since the cordyceps cover half of their faces, clickers are fully blind and only communicate via clicks to find prey. As the characters hide and stalk the blind clickers, the audience is almost peeing themselves in suspense, myself included.
Thankfully, this episode portrayed my favorite type of horror, silent horror. Without dialogue or hopeful music, it is just pure anticipation for what lurks in the dark. This type of horror works well in interactive media, like video games, but is hard to implement in cinema. Nonetheless, it was depicted beautifully along with the rest of the episode.