The Last of Us episode 2 spoilers: How did the virus spread?

The Last of Us. Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO.
The Last of Us. Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO. /

After an explosive series premiere, The Last of Us returns with an intense second episode. HBO’s The Last of Us episode 2 takes viewers to where and how the virus (fungus) began. Spoilers ahead!

Spoiler alert: Please note there are spoilers ahead if you missed or have not yet watched The Last of Us episode 2. Go stream it on HBO Max before reading on.

The opening scene for The Last of Us episode 2 rewinds time to show audiences the possible origins of how this fungus spread and how, by the time it was discovered, it was too late to stop it.

Does The Last of Us episode 2 reveal how the fungus started?

Episode 2, “Infected,” does hint at how the fungus spread, but there are still a lot of questions and things we don’t know. Let’s recap what we did learn.

The Last of Us episode 2 begins with authorities locating Ibu Ratna, a mycology professor. Without giving her any details about what she is looking at, Ratna is asked to examine a specimen. It only takes Ratna a couple of seconds to identify the specimen as ophiocordyceps. The professor asks why chlorazol was used to prepare the slide, and she is informed that the sample comes from a human. Ratna is confused as it’s a known fact that cordyceps can’t survive in humans.

Ratna is taken to a secure room where the body the sample was taken from is. There, she sees the fungus with her own eyes. The entire scene has viewers on the edge of their seats thinking a jump scare is ahead! But the moment is just as frightening without it.

Ibu Ratna is told that the discovery was made about 30 hours ago, but it may already be out of control. It began in a flour and grain factory. A woman (the one the sample was taken from) suddenly became violent and attacked her co-workers. The people she bit were brought in for examination and then shot, as the fungus took over them, too. The question is, who bit the first woman who seemingly started it all?

When asked if a vaccine or cure is possible, Ratna doesn’t think twice, telling the officer that she has spent her entire life studying this very fungus and there is absolutely no cure. Instead, as a solution, Ratna advices they bomb the city.

I’m interested to know how the very first person became infected. We can’t wait to learn more and continue following Joel and Ellie’s journey. The Last of Us episode 3 premieres on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday, Jan. 29.

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