Is Tess Dead in The Last of Us? How Does She Die?

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One of the characters that we met early on in The Last of Us is Tess, who serves as the partner of Joel and is one of the characters that smuggled Ellie out of the Boston Quarantine Zone (QZ). Of course, episode 2 allowed us to see more action involving the trio of Joel, Tess, and Ellie, as that was when we saw the Runners and Clickers doing their stuff and making life difficult for our main characters. Sadly, things didn’t turn out well for Tess. So, is Tess dead in The Last of Us?

Tess died in episode 2 of The Last of Us as she was actually infected by the Clicker that they fought back in the museum. Because she didn’t want to die as a monster, she decided to sacrifice herself for the sake of Joel and Ellie by exploding the Boston Capitol Building with gasoline to slow and kill the other infected.

The sacrifice of Tess is only one of the many losses that Joel had to endure during the events of The Last of Us, as it is clear that her death affected him to the point that he avoided talking about her. Nevertheless, her death was necessary for Joel and Ellie to continue on with their journey. And as Tess said, Joel needed to continue to make up for the things that they did in the past.

Is Tess Dead In The Last Of Us?

It was during episode 1 of The Last of Us that we met Tess, who was clearly the only person that Joel cared about and trusted as he was actually angry about the fact that she had bruises all over her face. Of course, the duo got into the mix of the entire storyline when they were tailing a few Fireflies and managed to end up in their base, where they saw Marlene and Ellie.

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Instead of fighting the Fireflies, Joel and Tess took a job involving Ellie as they ended up agreeing to smuggle her out of the Boston QZ so that they could take her to a group of Fireflies that were in the Boston Capitol Building. In that regard, the goal was simple, as all they needed to do was to get her out of the QZ and make their way to the Capitol Building.

It was also clear that Joel and Tess were already familiar with working with one another as they have been partners in smuggling for years so that they could survive the Cordyceps Brain Infection (CBI) pandemic together. That was the reason why they didn’t have a lot of problems with smuggling Ellie out, as they knew that they could trust each other. In fact, Tess seems to be the brains of the operation.

Nevertheless, they encountered trouble on their way to the Capitol Building because their usual route was blocked by a horde of infected (possibly Runners) that would have torn them to shreds if they had taken a short way. That was why they opted to take a long way, which forced them to go through the Boston Museum so that they could make their way from one rooftop to another until they reached the Capitol Building.


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But while in the museum, they encountered a troublesome Clicker that they struggled to kill. They were successful in dealing with the mutated monster as they made their way to the Boston Capitol Building, only to find out that the Fireflies that they were supposed to meet up with were already dead. That was when a frantic Tess was clearly stressed out while asking Joel if he really knew who the Fireflies were and what they were capable of. That was when she revealed that she had been bitten by the Clicker they encountered in the museum.

On top of that, one of the infected in the Capitol Building alerted the dormant Runners through the use of the network of fungus that connected them with one another. As such, the Runners made their way to the Capitol Building, with the trio of Joel, Tess, and Ellie still wondering what they were supposed to do.

That was when Tess decided that she would have to sacrifice herself so that both Joel and Ellie could escape. She told Joel that they needed to go so that he could make up for the things that they did in the past, as it was clear that they did horrible things in order to survive the CBI outbreak. As such, Tess died so that the duo of Joel and Ellie could escape the horde of Runners that were after them and so that Joel could deliver Ellie to the Fireflies.

How Does Tess Die?

As mentioned, Tess was infected by the Clicker that they encountered. That meant that her fate had already been sealed, as it was only a matter of time before she would lose her mind and succumb to the control of the Cordyceps Brain Infection. But Tess didn’t want to end up becoming a monster like the rest of the infected.

joel tess the last of us hbo

When they found out that the Runners were on their way to them, Tess saw that there were gasoline drums in the Capitol Building. She decided that it was best for her to stay behind so that she could ignite the gas and blow up the entire Capitol Building together with the infected that were after them.


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In that regard, Tess stayed behind while Joel and Ellie ran away. The infected made their way to the building, where Tess was trying to light up the gasoline. However, an infected approached her and “kissed” her in what appeared to be a way for the infection to spread faster. But before she lost her mind and became a monster, she successfully ignited the gasoline and blew up the building together with the other infected.

While we already know that Tess was supposed to die in the video game, her death in HBO’s The Last of Us seems to have more meaning and depth behind it. In the game, she was also infected but was killed by FEDRA soldiers that she tried to slow down so that Joel and Ellie could escape. But in the live-action series, the fact that she went out on her own terms while taking a lot of infected with her was one of the best changes made to the series as Tess died a hero in order for Joel to continue with his life and make up for all of the horrible things that they did together to survive.

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