Subscribe to Our Podcast


Become a Patron!

Listen to the latest SQUAWKING DEAD Episode!

⬇⬇⬇Listen to the most recent episode!⬇⬇⬇

Why miss out? Subscribe to our blog via E-Mail!

Saturday, January 28, 2023

[The Last of SQUAWKS: E2] Infected |The Last Of Us

Why miss out?
Subscribe to our blog via E-Mail!

⬇️Listen Now⬇️

⬆️Tap the above graphic⬆️
to listen to this episode
in your favorite Podcasts App

This episode of HBO's The Last of Us gave us a lot more motion and, oddly enough, contained another incredibly performed opening sequence that jumped us back to the past to give us more context to the thrilling events that occur in our characters' present. This episode contains both our initial reactions and follow-up thoughts on second watch, both of which you can get on our YouTube channel (we recorded the reaction LIVE for folks who just watched to join in the afterglow). Head here to both subscribe and enable notifications, so you don't miss a thing:
Consider following either our Patreon or Ko-fi accounts so you don't miss out on future recordings: recordings are FREE to attend, but schedules aren't posted on Social Media. If you'd like to support our work, buy us a coffee at or take it one step further (and receive more perks, in return) by joining a membership tier on either Ko-fi or Patreon for as little as $1 /month!

Tap the above graphic to grab the unedited full breakdown of this episode
on Ko-fi or tap here to grab it from Patreon!

David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Sherrandy Swift:
Bridget Mason-Gray:

Initial Reaction

  • Be sure to check out our last blog covering The Last of Us' series premiere, which contained some massive reference materials (be sure to tap the pictures, as they link to more articles)!
  • Although we covered much of what was in the first episode, between both the livestream and the blog, something we didn't mention was how the woman behind Marlene was mirroring a movement Ellie Williams made while Joel Miller and Marlene were talking.
  • Just like Henry Cavill is what got Dave's wife to watch the The Witcher, so too was Dusty Daddy Pedro Pascal what got her to watch some of The Last of Us with him.
  • Bridget, yet again, managed to play the game just enough to cover the events that transpired in this, the second episode. The same can't be said for her playthrough of The Walking Dead: Last Mile.
  • It was nice to see that this episode gave us a little more movement than the last, while still maintaining a healthy amount of world-building and backstory. As far as the latter goes, unlike The Walking Dead, this episode of TLoU wholeheartedly tells you where the parasitic fungal infection comes from and why there's no hope.
  • This CNet article discusses the very possibility of a Cordyceps outbreak:
  • As amused we are by the levity Ellie gave us this week, we still have our TWD brain on and want her to stop being stupid.
  • Someone stopped Takeerah to comment on her SQUAWKING DEAD hoodie. To get your own, head here.
    @tashiyama Squawking Dead hoodie close-up @squawkingdead #StemDrop001 #squawkingdead #twd #newhoodie #newmerch #fyp #foryoupage ♬ BIG MAD - Ktlyn
  • We love how realistic it is for both Joel and Tess Servopoulos to be incredibly cautious (to the point of being standoffish) towards Ellie, at first. Joel has personal reasons why he feels he must reject Ellie.
  • In many ways, since the infection isn't transmitted through spores on the TV Series, becoming infected is close to how it is on The Walking Dead. How easy it is to still become infected, despite the TV limiter of no spores, and how overwhelming the infected are is a whole other story. With the Mycelial Network on top of all this, TLoU has found so many ways to dread the end of days.
  • Nature making residence where civilization once was: as we open on the hotel foyer, it looks a lot like a bog, complete with a piano playing frog. It reminds us of photos taken of abandoned theme parks and malls. Also, Bladerunner's concept of kipple.
  • In real life, some fungus do release a chemical to alert itself and connected clusters of predators, just like the mycelial network of infected on the show.
  • (Not) Subverting expectations: since we don't know where the TV series will diverge from the video game, for a moment, we thought Tess might survive. In the video game, Ellie isn't bit again, but the show wanted to make it super clear that she is immune, despite Joel's earlier spiel about some infected surviving a month (or 20 years).
  • The stuffed animal our gang pass by, under the car, was relatively clean. This confirms what Joel was saying about many people trying to leave or enter the QZ, over the years, and getting caught in that large cluster of infected.
  • Along with their ferocity, it takes more than a one-and-done headshot to take the infected down.

  • Sherrandy cracks a joke about tomatoes screaming when they're distressed: reminds Dave about a Tool song, Disgustipated.
  • Both Dr. Neuman (opening scene of the first episode) and Ibu Ratna Pertiwi confirm that parasitic fungal infections in humans would likely be untreatable. Antifungal medication is toxic in large doses and aren't guaranteed to always work. This is why the Cordyceps are so effective at decimating humanity. Check out this article from Chemical & Engineering News on the subject.
  • Bridget goes through some of the differences between the events that occur in the TV Series and the games:
    • Events and characters from the opening flashback scene in Jakarta, Indonesia are not in the game.
    • The discussion over a meal - while Tess & Joel eat jerky and Ellie eats a delicious chicken sandwich - are only in the TV series.
    • The hotel scene, altogether, was not in the game. The museum and capitol building are there, but there are differences. The game has a whole subway scene that is completely removed from the show.
    • Tess doesn't sprain her ankle in the video game and Ellie actually has dialog as she crosses the plank across the museum's roof to the other building.
    • The scene in the hotel foyer where Ellie says she can't swim happens right in front of the capitol building in the video games (as they really do have to swim across deep waters to get to it).
    • Bridget takes a moment, while discussing differences, to attribute the lack of gas masks in the tv series because actors have egos. Dave explains it's because it brings your wives in to watch Daddy Pascal when they otherwise would never watch the show.
    • The Cordyceps Mycelial network is actually in Part 2 of the video game series, so it might not be readily apparent to those who are just starting out in their gameplay (like Bridget).
    • Tess' sacrifice, in the video games, is not against the cluster of infected rushing to attack, rather Fedra soldiers.
  • Watching Ellie take joy in and be in awe of even the most disgusting things was a really wholesome and inviting experience for some watchers.
  • Someone in the chat calls out Fear The Walking Dead for having too many clean zones, compared to the ruin, filth, and dilapidation everywhere and on everyone in TLoU.

  • We're all eager to see how the bond forms between Joel & Ellie, with Takeerah saying that this might be at the expense of many newly-introduced characters. Equally eager to see where the tv series differs from the games.

  • Takeerah's husband points out how The Clickers resemble an enemy in the Halo series called The Flood.
  • Worst make-out session, ever, between Tess and the last infected she ever sees. We almost didn't think she would be able to light the payload (considering the divergence the show may have from the games).

  • Dave takes a minute to appreciate how immersive our first encounter with Clickers was in the museum and the getaway scene in the pick-up truck was in the 1st episode. It felt like you were there, with them, much the way a video game would be.

  • To some of us, the mycelial strands that come out of both the living and dead infected look like beansprouts. Dave says young spruce leaves.

  • Please don't add VR to either the game or the tv series. Bridget is already having a hard time with the video game. Dave takes a moment to showcase the Thief series of games, made by Eidos & Looking Glass Studios, for their level of immersion. Thomas says we should just stick to Jackbox Games.
  • The frog "playing" the piano (somewhat well) also reminds Dave of the scene in Tales of The Walking Dead with Davon playing the piano (also well).
  • The mycelial network alerting other clusters of infected reminds us of both the movie Tremors and A Quiet Place.


  • The return of Rachael! …who wanted The Last of Us to be terrible so that we could be like other podcasts and destroy these episodes, in the style of Sherrandy.
  • Which brings us to Sherrandy taking the slightest of issue with Joel & Tess not informing Ellie why she needs to be silent (so that The Clickers don't hear them). Rachael has kids, so she knows exactly why you need to go out of your way to explain things to them. Dave mentions something his friend, Chris (who hosts a YouTube Channel called On Tap), told him about film: show; don't tell.
  • On the note of The Clickers, when they find that mangled, fresh corpse in one of the first rooms of The Bostonian Museum, we wanted to pick apart why Joel & Tess were in denial about there being anything dangerous in the building. At first Dave thinks it might be because they aren't completely informed about the horrors and varieties of infected, but the ladies point out that, just like Tess complaining about having to climb 10 flights of stairs, maybe they are getting too old for this…stuff. Oh yeah, and Seth LoRusso pointed out to us that The Bostonian Museum isn't real.
  • On the note of getting too old, Sherrandy points out a terrific visual element: as the story brings us back to the present (after the title sequence), the scene opens with Ellie sleeping in the fetal position, inside a structure whose floors are lush with plant growth. Ellie is born into this world anew. This also reminds her of Nick Clark's final episode on FearTWD.

  • Whether the infected are dead or alive, the fungus continues attempting to infect living hosts. Rachael expresses how disgusting it was to watch Tess make out with the infected at the end. Couldn't she have done anything else? Sherrandy and Dave take a moment to explain: she was either already succumbing to the side effects, being collectively controlled by the fungus, or most-likely didn't want to risk being attacked like the fresh corpse was near the museum entrance by making any sudden movements. Dave takes a moment to re-read the Time to Full Infection chart we posted in the last blog (on the wall of Fedra's border crossing).

  • The mycelial strands in the mouths look like living hair, which was the most disgusting scene during our watch party of The Old Ways. We take a moment to try and explain why anything coming in or going out of "what appears to be a mouth" is so gross.
  • Neil Druckmann, co-president of Naughty Dog Entertainment (co-creator of The Last of Us video game) and writer and director of the TV series explains in another CNet article that anything that would've prevented an infected person from infecting another host would've resulted in violent retaliation. This validates what Dave says earlier that Tess doing anything else in her final moments would've resulted in a wasted sacrifice to save Ellie and Joel from the infected horde.
  • After receiving even higher initial ratings for this episode than the series premiere, HBO is probably kicking themselves for turning down The Walking Dead, more than a decade ago.
  • Any dumb thing Ellie does tweaks our TWD brain: when she starded waiting in the Hotel Foyer's waist-level waters, Bridget was foolishly nervous that there'd be a zombie waiting to get her. Bridget finally reads the CNet article we mentioned earlier in this blog about whether this type of outbreak would be possible.
  • Hanako Ricks of Fandom Hybrid mentioned in their breakdown of the 1st episode that Joel being on the Atkins Diet spared them from the infection (by taking out gluten/wheat and grains from their caloric intake). No cookies, no birthday cake, and no birthday pancakes.
  • Ibu means mother and is a distinguished/honorific title for the esteemed Mycologist, Doctor Ratna Pertiwi: The Motherland's Mother of Pearl, the thing which she cannot symbolize in light of this frightening pandemic. The exposed corpse of the infected woman on the slab she examines illustrates how vulnerable we are.
  • The entire concept for the video game came from this David Attenborough's BBC Series Planet Earth special:
  • Speaking of Cordyceps, they are used in Chinese remedies. This makes us think, if this outbreak were to come to fruition, it would probably start there. Again.

  • Sherrandy takes a moment to compare the behavior of Clickers - from both the clucking-ish sounds they make to their jerky movements - to chickens. Rachael says their faces look like multiple waddles. Dave relays that their faces are often referred to split open-raw chicken breasts.
  • Sherrandy remarks how when The Clickers are shot in the head, you can see the bits of their chicken meat faces fly off and how that reminded her of Stephen King's episode of Creepshow: how when he tried to shoot himself in the head, chunks of dirt flew off.
  • Because a headshot isn't one and done and the fungus will manage to live off even a dead host, burning would be the most effective method of disposal. At least taking down an infected host prevents the fungus from chasing after you.
  • If nature is making residence where civilizations once dwelled, The Cordyceps are making residence in or alongside nature itself. If not for the need to feed off humans, they would be the apex predator. It also seems that humans - fleeing for survival and getting caught by the Cordyceps - may have caused them to spread, after the worldwide bombing campaign attempted to suppress the outbreak.

  • Sherrandy liked that their confrontation with The Clickers was in a history museum, illustrating how - in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - (our attempts at preserving) history is effectively meaningless and falls to the wayside (until it isn't? In the event a remedy or cure is documented somewhere in our archives). This brought up a funny about how desperate Victor Strand (from Fear The Walking Dead) was in trying to preserve his own artifacts in the midst of a bombardment by Arno and his men.
  • SARS signs in the flashback/opening sequence remind us of both the era we were living under - two years after the 9/11 tragedy and the Afghanistan War - and the other name for our own pandemic: SARS-CoV-2. Joel was also a Desert Storm veteran.
  • Tis the season of Pedro Pascal: though he's best known by many as Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones, his string of successes have only continued to pick up speed with no sign of slowing down.

🌟Like What We Do? Buy Us a Coffee!🌟

No comments:

Post a Comment