While The Last of Us has done an impeccable job of adapting the critically-acclaimed video game into a compelling drama series, the show has already made some noticeable tweaks in the jump from Playstation consoles to HBO. One such moment is the death of Anna Torv’s Tess, who was taken out by a completely different set of characters than in the game.
In the show, Tess reveals she was infected during a terrifying encounter with a trio of Clickers while traversing through a rundown museum in Boston. Knowing full well that her time is limited, she encourages Joel (Pedro Pascal) to not abandon their mission of delivering Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to the Fireflies. Ellie was also bitten in the attack, but unlike Tess, she’s showing no signs of infection, which only further proves that Ellie is somehow immune to the cordyceps outbreak.
As Joel and Ellie leave Tess behind in the old statehouse, she attracts a horde of Clickers to her as she attempts to detonate spilled barrels of gasoline. As Tess finally gets her lighter to work, one Clicker approaches her and sticks his tendrils in her mouth in one of the show’s grossest moment. (Fans were freaking out on social media.) Fortunately for Tess, the “kiss” doesn’t last long as the place goes up in flames.
In the game, things play out differently. Via PopBuzz:
However, instead of being attacked by the infected and blowing herself up, Tess dies at the hands of FEDRA in the game.
The Federal Disaster Response Agency (FEDRA) manage to catch up with Joel and Tess, as they try to get hold of Ellie. Tess then stays behind and acts as a distraction while Joel and Ellie move on. Tess attempts to kill as many as possible, before dying off-screen. The gameplay shows Joel overlooking the lobby as it’s confirmed Tess has been killed.
As for the reason for the change, showrunner Craig Mazin explained that it made no sense for FEDRA to be in the area, and more importantly, they wanted to emphasize the connective nature of the Clickers.
“We wanted a chance to show a different result of being infected, which was not one of mere violence or horror, but rather a sick kind of community,” Mazin told HBO’s The Last of Us Podcast. “Now, at the end, we had an opportunity to show how connected they were.”