Anna Torv as Tess in The Last of Us.
Source: HBO

Tess's Death Comes at a Pivotal Moment for 'The Last of Us' — How Does It Happen?

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Jan. 23 2023, Published 10:57 a.m. ET

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us on HBO.

Death is going to be a pretty common phenomenon in the world of The Last of Us. In the show's latest episode, Joel and Ellie lose Tess, Joel's long-time smuggling and vaguely romantic partner.

Following her death, many viewers wanted to know more about how Tess died, and why Joel and Ellie ultimately decided to leave her behind and continue to move west.

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Joel and Tess
Source: HBO

Joel and Tess

How did Tess die in 'The Last of Us?'

The latest episode of The Last of Us picks up where the last one left off as Joel, Tess, and Ellie begin their venture outside of the Boston Quarantine Zone. Most of the episode is spent with the three of them attempting to find a safe way to navigate the city. They discover that the infected have moved outside since Joel and Tess last moved through this area, and so they decide to attempt to move through one of the city's museums.

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While the museum initially seems unoccupied, they eventually find and battle with two infected upstairs. After taking down the infected, Tess's ankle is sprained, and Ellie has been bitten again. Ellie seems unfazed, though, knowing that the last time she was bitten it didn't turn her into a fungal zombie the way it does to the rest of humanity. Joel and Tess think they have completed their mission when they arrive at City Hall, only to discover that the Fireflies waiting there are dead.

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After Joel shoots an infected, he triggers an army who come to take them down. It's at this moment that Tess reveals she was bitten in the museum and announces that she is staying behind. She compares her bite mark, which is near her neck, to Ellie's, and we see that Ellie really isn't going to get infected the way Tess is. Ellie's mark is a small cut, and Tess's is already red and inflamed.

Tess then begins to poor gasoline all over the floor and scatter grenades. She's determined to buy Joel and Ellie the time they need to escape. While they're initially reluctant to leave her, Joel ultimately realizes that Tess is doomed and drags Ellie from the building. The infected then begin to pour in, and Tess manages to light her lighter just as an infected begins to kiss her and the building explodes.

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Source: YouTube

It's just Joel and Ellie from now on.

The trio at the center of the first episode of The Last of Us is now down to just a duo, and Joel has sworn that he will safely get Ellie into the hands of Bill and Frank, two characters audiences haven't met yet. Joel's journey with Ellie has already lasted longer than it's supposed to, and her ultimate destination is a hospital located on the other side of the country.

Fans of the game may know what's coming, but those who are just watching the show remain in the dark. Now that Tess is gone, The Last of Us has evolved into a story with just two main characters.

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