Image via Naughty Dog

How does Tess die in The Last of Us show?

It's mostly the same, but there is one big difference.

HBO’s The Last of Us show follows many of the same beats from the original game, but it changes things up every now and then. If you played that game, you know that the story is largely centered around Joel and Ellie. For that reason, you likely have the feeling that Tess doesn’t stay around for long after she is introduced. Like in the game, she is removed pretty early in the story. Here is how Tess dies in The Last of Us show and how it differs from the game.

Recommended Videos

Warning: significant spoilers for HBO’s The Last of Us show ahead.

Related: The Last of Us fans are convinced Abby has already been cast in the HBO series

Is Tess dead in The Last of Us?

Yes, Tess died in Episode 2 of The Last of Us, called “Infected.” She is bitten after encountering some Clickers. These are people infected with the cordyceps fungus that have been around long enough that the fungus has grown on their heads to blind them completely, but they make clicking sounds that act similar to echolocation to let them know if something is in front of them.

She douses the area in gasoline and grenades to take out a horde of infected before they can chase after Joel and Ellie. However, as she is trying to ignite the lighter, you can tell that the cordyceps reach her brain and stops her from running from or attacking. An infected grabs her and extends its tendrils into her mouth. These are the last few moments that a normal person that hasn’t been killed by the infected would likely see. The person with the fungus growing on their face knows that Tess is infected, so it doesn’t try to eat her; it transfers more into her. With the last bit of willpower she has in her body, she is able to ignite her lighter and likely doesn’t have enough control even to drop it; the infection would see fire and drop it. The resulting explosion does kill her.

If you recall the poster from the first episode, a person bit on the shoulder generally has about 2-8 hours before the cordyceps reaches their brain and takes over the body as a new host. When she reveals the bite to Joel, you can tell that the infection is moving through her by how red and gross it looks. This is a way for the story to show that Ellie’s immunity to the fungus is real, as it moves through Tess very quickly.

How is the way Tess dies in The Last of Us show different from the game?

For the most part, the way Tess dies in HBO’s The Last of Us is very loyal to the game. All of the dialogue has essentially been carried over. From Tess frantically looking for a map when they find the dead Fireflies to her saying their luck had to run out sometime. The placement of the bite is also the same.

Where this story differs is how the infected are the ones rushing in to attack them. When Joel kills a new infected, its hand lands in a patch that sends a signal to all infected in the surrounding area to defend themselves and find new hosts. How this works is explained earlier in the show and is not in the game at all. Instead of infected, military soldiers arrive and storm the place. Rather than exploding the building to bits, Tess stays behind to buy Joel and Ellie time to run from them. She is able to kill two but is shot dead by the rest of the team.

Gamepur is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of John Hansen
John Hansen
John Hansen is a Full-time Staff Writer for Gamepur as well as a host for the YouTube channel Pixel Street Videos where he co-hosts a weekly gaming podcast and more. His favorite games include Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Breath of the Wild, Left 4 Dead 2, and Overwatch. He covers Overwatch 2 and other FPS titles, Minecraft, Sonic the Hedgehog, Legend of Zelda, and whatever zombie games are placed in front of him.