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Last of Us Zombie Kiss: Showrunner Discusses Character’s Death


Anna Torv as Tess.
Image: HBO

After only two weeksit should be pretty clear that HBO’s The Last of Us is catching on with audiences. From its spot-on adaptation of elements of the video gameto its dark extensions of that lore, to the terrifying reality of it world, fans and non-fans of the game like seem to be eating it up. And, in the latest episode, there seemed to be less eating and more… kissing, which some may have found curious.

Image for article titled About That Last of Us Zombie Kiss Everyone Is Talking About

As discussed in our extended recapepisode two of The Last of Us ended with Tess (Anna Torv) sacrificing herself to save Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey). She kind of had to, as she’s been bitten and is certain to turn into a mindless killer soon enough. But as the infected storm her location, and one of them notices her, instead of running at her in a fit of rage, he approaches slowly and gives her an open-mouth zombie kiss, with his living, squirming tendrils moving into her mouth.

It’s a moment that’s curious for a few reasons. One, it’s not in the game, so a decision was made to specifically do this. Two, we’re used to infected being incredibly violent with their victims, and this one is quite the opposite. And three, if Tess was already infected, was there any real point to it?

That third point can’t really be answered (maybe the kiss sped up the transformation or was just cool-looking), but the first two can and, in a new interview, co-showrunner Neil Druckmann talks about it. “These things don’t have to get violent unless you’re fighting them from spreading [the infection] further,” Druckmann said Entertainment Weekly. “That is realized in this beautiful, yet horrific way with Anna.”

So, because she’s made peace with becoming a zombie, she’s kind of brought into the mix in a non-violent way. Sure, we can buy that. But what about the tendrils themselves, which are also a new addition?

“Craig [Mazin] 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 added. “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.”

And, if you thought this act of violence/romance was something, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Check out the moment in the latest episode of The Last of Us.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Warsand Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TVand everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.



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