The Last of Us Episode 2 is finally here and it gave fans something truly terrifying that they simply could not stop talking about. In the last few minutes of Infected, a Clicker does the unthinkable and leaves viewers with an understandably bad taste in their mouths. So what's with THAT Clicker "Kiss"? Showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann explained why it was necessary to show us Tess' uncomfortably close encounter with a Clicker.
In The Last of Us Episode 2, Joel, Tess and Ellie finally made it to the State House only to discover that the Fireflies have been killed by the Infected. Her disappointment leads to Tess revealing that she was bitten by a Clicker and when the Infected start coming for them, she sacrifices herself so Joel and Ellie can escape. As Tess tries to ignite a lighter to blow up the building, she is approached by a Clicker who leans in to "kiss" her.
So why show us something as terrible as this? Showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann gave interesting explanations for the scene.
"We were doing early research on how fungus appears in reality. I found this image that an artist had created of somebody that had become subsumed by fungus and in their mouth, there were mushrooms," Mazin told Variety.
"We were already talking about tendrils coming out and we were asking these philosophical questions, 'Why are infected people violent? If the point is to spread the fungus, why do they need to be violent?' We landed on that they don't. They're violent because we resist, but what if you don't? What does it look like if you just stand perfectly still and let them do this to you?" he continued.
"Then we landed on this nightmare fuel. It's disturbing and it's violative," Mazin added. "I think it's very primal in the way it invades your own body. To use an overused word, it's triggering. It's [a] remarkable combination of Neil's direction, Anna Torv's acting when there isn't obviously anything there and our visual effects department doing this gorgeous work to make it all come together and feel real and terrible."
Interestingly, Druckmann's explanation is shorter and decidedly more sadistic.
"Because we're cruel to the characters we love so much, it felt like she knows she's done for, and then the lighter doesn't work, and we take her all the way to the edge of horror before we finally give her an out," he said.
Overall, it's a moment that none of us is going to forget for a long time.
The Last of Us Episode 2 is now streaming on HBO Max.
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