Spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 2 below!
The last of us creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann recently revealed that Tess originally had a very dark backstory. Anna Torv stars as Tess, a hardened survivor of the zombie apocalypse and black market smuggler. After a deal falls through with a local dealer, Tess and Joel (Pedro Pascal) agree to escort 14-year-old orphan Ellie (Bella Ramsey) safely out of Boston’s quarantine zone to bring her to a small ward of the violent idealist faction known as the Fireflies. Unfortunately, after a terrifying encounter with a group of Clickers, Tess is bitten, ensuring a horrible fate.
During HBO’s The Last of Us PodcastMazin and Druckmann revealed that Tess originally had a very dark origin story.
Mazin explained that the scene would have detailed Tess’s life before the outbreak, revealing her family and their tragic fates. Druckmann, who also served as director of The last of us episode 2, shared that the scene would have been a cold open for the episode, but agreed that the scene ultimately did not fit into the story as they had hoped. Read what the show’s creators had to say below:
Mazin: “We wrote it, we never shot it. It was a bit of a backstory for Tess and the fact that Tess had a child. She had a husband and she had a son and they got infected and she had to kill them. She killed her husband, but she couldn’t kill the son. She couldn’t do it. . . . She locked him in the basement where, theoretically, he’s still a clicker.”
Druckmann: “We had a cold open where we just, where the camera pushed on this door and you just hear this banging coming from this basement, and then we cut out. And then later, Tess would tell the story of how she could “t kill his son. As Craig said, it didn’t fit. But it was fun to think about.”
How Tess’s story differs from the game
Leads up to The last of us‘ series premiere, Mazin and Druckmann publicly stated that they intended to honor the beloved story and characters of the original award-winning PlayStation game. Although they teased some mind-blowing new additions, including the changed nature of the Cordyceps fungus infection as well as some new characters, the main story The last of us has remained the same. Tess proves to be no exception as Torv’s portrayal embodies the strength and toughness of her digital counterpart.
As in the video game, Tess is partnered with Joel in the Boston Quarantine Zone and works as a smuggler of various goods from factions beyond the walls. Similar to the game, she understands that she is a bad person who has done bad things, but is given a modicum of hope when Ellie, a young girl who may hold all of humanity in the cure, falls into her lap. This motivates her to complete her mission, right up until Tess’ gut-wrenching death. However, how she goes out differs greatly from game to game.
Arriving at the State House, Tess, Joel and Ellie find the Firefly contingent dead, with one member of the crew infected. Desperate for the next step forward, Tess inadvertently reveals that she was infected by one of the Clickers. With the network of Cordyceps disrupted by their activity, nearby runners are called to their location, prompting Tess to douse the lobby in gasoline and dump explosives around the hall. When the infected arrive, Tess uses her lighter to ignite the fuel and blows up the ground floor of the building. In the original game, all of the events following Joel, Ellie and Tess’ quarantine zone departure took place in one night with FEDRA soldiers relentlessly pursuing the group. To give Joel and Ellie time to escape, Tess engaged the soldiers, who quickly died in a gunfight. As The last of us continues next week, audiences will see how Tess’s sacrifice affected Joel and Ellie during their perilous trek.
Next: The Last Of Us Episode 2 Ending Explained
Source: HBO Max