The Last of Us episode 2 recap: Joel, Tess and Ellie leave the QZ behind

Joel and Ellie startled and up against a wall in The Last Of Us episode 2
Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us (Image credit: HBO)

NOTE: this article contains major spoilers for The Last Of Us episode 2, "Infected." 

The Last of Us episode 1 set the stage for Joel (Pedro Pascal), Tess (Anna Torv) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to begin their journey. Having escaped the Boston Quarantine Zone, the two smugglers are ready to face the very real danger that comes with their latest mission: bringing Ellie to the Fireflies.

The trio of survivors explore Boston trying to find a route to the point where Marlene (Merle Dandridge) sent them to hand over Ellie: the Massachusetts State House. In order to do so, they've got to navigate the ruined city beyond the walls of the QZ and face whatever dangers may come their way. What could possibly go wrong?

Cordyceps abroad

Professor Ibu Ratna (Christine Hakim) in The Last of Us episode 2

Christine Hakim in The Last of Us (Image credit: HBO)

Episode 2 begins with a pre-title sequence set in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2003, giving us more background info on how the cordyceps infection spread. A group of Indonesian soldiers seeks out Professor of Mycology, Ibu Ratna (Christine Hakim), to examine the corpse of someone who had been infected with the cordyceps fungus, which she says can't survive in humans. 

In hazard gear, she begins to examine the bite wound before extracting some of the tendrils from the person's mouth. These tendrils start to react and pull toward her, so she rushes out of the room. 

An officer asks the professor to develop a cure or vaccine for the infection, to which she scoffs, Ratna saying the only solution to stop the spread is to bomb the city, and everyone in it, before asking if she can head home to be with her family.

Joel, Ellie and Tess together

Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) sit together in the Last Of Us

Pedro Pascal and Anna Torv in The Last of Us (Image credit: HBO/Liane Hentscher)

Ellie wakes up to find Joel and Tess watching over her, rifle in hand. Joel is still incredibly suspicious Ellie's going to turn into an infected monster, though Tess is more interested in finding out why the Fireflies think Ellie is so important.

Ellie reveals there's a Firefly camp out west with a team of doctors who are tying to develop a vaccine; since she's immune to the infection, Ellie could well play a vital role in humanity's recovery. Hearing this, Joel begs Tess to find another way to get the battery for his truck, as he's heard rumors about a vaccine or "miracle cure" before.

Tess convinces him they might as well get Ellie to the Fireflies at the State House, so they begin exploring the bombed-out ruins of Boston. Trying to make their way through a hotel, Tess finds a route through a blocked corridor, while Joel and Ellie open up to one another briefly.

Upstairs, the trio look out over the city and spot a huge group of infected. Tess explains to Ellie the monsters are "connected" by the infection, as it expands underneath the ground like a network, linking the creatures together. Essentially, this means if they step on a patch of fungal growth, you can wake any number of infected, who'll converge on your position. With their original route blocked, Joel and Tess decide to reroute through a museum. 

Through the museum

The silhouette of one of the Clickers' arms in The Last Of Us episode 2

A Clicker hunts down Joel, Tess and Ellie (Image credit: HBO)

After checking one of the growths outside the main entrance doesn't summon any fresh infected, the gang head inside. Exploring the museum, Ellie finds a fresh corpse covered in different wounds, much to Tess and Joel's horror. In response, the two smugglers inform her that, going forward, they aren't just going to move slowly and quietly, they have to be silent.

They head into a room before the ceiling behind them collapses, blocking the exit. The loud noise summons the creature Joel and Tess were so afraid of; a Clicker. So-named due to the horrifying sounds they make, these creatures are at a more advanced stage of infection, and the growths all over their faces make them blind, leaving them to hunt by sound alone. 

A second one is drawn into the room and tensions rise. The trio try to stay as quiet as possible, but Ellie's fear gets the better of her and she lets out a breath that alerts one of the Clickers. The two creatures attack, splitting the group up as they fight for their lives.

Joel slips away to reload his revolver after losing his rifle in a struggle with one of the monsters. He crunches some broken glass underfoot and the creature leaps on top of him and Ellie, but he eventually shoots it dead. The other Clicker stumbles in, Tess strikes it with a hatchet and Joel finishes it off with his rifle. 

They finally reach the rooftop and cross the roof to the other building. Ellie sustained a fresh injury in the struggle (good things she is immune) whilst Tess is complaining of a twisted ankle. Regardless, they resolve to push on to the rendezvous point.

Tragedy at the State House

Tess and Ellie stood near an overgrown abandoned car in The Last Of Us episode 2

Bella Ramsey and Anna Torv in The Last of Us (Image credit: HBO)

Upon arrival, something is clearly wrong. The Fireflies they were supposed to meet are dead; Joel suggests some of them got infected and the group was wiped out as they fought one another.

Tess rushes around the room frantically looking for a map to the facility, before revealing she has been harboring an infection and she was running out of time. She begs Joel to finish the job and deliver Ellie to Bill and Frank and to convince them to take her on from there. 

One of the group steps on a patch of fungal growth, summoning a horde of infected. Tess floods the place with fuel and Firefly grenades and begins striking up a lighter to prevent the monsters from following her companions.

Joel drags Ellie out of the building, and the infected soon rush the building. Tess stays behind, trying to strike her lighter. The infected creatures initially ignore her, but one particular infected embraces and kisses her, transferring the cordyceps tendrils into her mouth. In shock, Tess finally strikes a flame and drops the lighter, and the place explodes into flames.  

New episodes of The Last of Us premiere every Sunday on HBO/HBO Max in the US; Mondays on Sky TV's Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at

Martin was a Staff Writer with, where he produced a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. Now he works for our sister site Tom's Guide in the same role.

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.