The Last of Us: Biggest Differences Between The Game and The Show


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve at this point heard of The Last of Us. Maybe you missed the fact that it’s one of the best games ever made, but now you’ve surely heard that it’s also one of the best TV shows ever made. Which isn’t too surprising: the tv show pretty much frame-for-frame copies the cinematic moments of the videogame, making them almost carbon copies of one another. The second episode of the show saw some minor deviations from what happens in the video game though, and let’s take a look at what those were (and if they worked).

The Tendrils

While the infected are pretty much spot-on copied from the game, the biggest difference in the show is the tendrils. In the game the infection is airborne and spread through spores, requiring the characters to wear gas masks. In the show, they scrapped this concept entirely and replaced it with the much more visual tendrils. It also matches the reality of fungi habitats better.

Tess’ Bite

The whole sequence leading up to and ending in Tess’ bite plays out a lot differently in the game. In the game, Joel gets separated from Ellie and Tess for an extended period in the museum, leading to Tess getting bitten by a Runner. In the show, Joel is only separated for minutes as he’s fighting Clickers, one of which ends up having bitten Tess.

Infection Origin

The game never really tells us how the infection starts. It never actually seems relevant either – it’s there and you need to somehow survive. The game subtly hints that the infection started spreading through wheat-based products in South America, but the tv show changes this location to Indonesia, which is more in line with where the Cordyceps actually appears.

Tess’ Last Stand

In the game, Tess’ last stand is against FEDRA agents returning to the State House and getting shot. In the TV show it gets made a lot more epic and significant as she sacrifices herself to blow up the State House to hold off a horse of infected so Joel and Ellie can escape. It made her death a lot more impactful.

Fireflies Deaths

When they finally reach the State House in the TV show, Joel mentions that infected Fireflies ended up attacking healthy Fireflies and somehow they all died. The game has a much more believable approach to it where the Fireflies were killed by FEDRA agents, which also helps establish FEDRA as a major threat to the main characters.

Bill & Frank

One of the bigger changes is that Tess tells Joel to get Ellie to Tommy’s in the game, where the TV show has her sending them to Bill & Frank. This was a change done to allow for that lovely third episode, but serves no other real purpose. In the game Bill & Frank were just a short stop-off, with Frank already being dead and Bill being alone when Joel and Ellie arrive.