[Warning: This story contains spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 2, "Infected."] "So there aren't Super-Infected that explode fungus spores on you?" asked Ellie (Bella Ramsey) on Sunday's The Last of Us. "Or ones with split open heads that see in the dark like bats?" The mention of spores was more than just a nod to the PlayStation video game, where masks are necessary for survivors to avoid breathing infectious cordyceps spores — it may be hinting at what's to come. Series showrunners and co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann confirmed as much in an interview with EW, teasing another mode of CBI transmission besides bites from cordyceps tendrils.
"Part of the issue with the spores is that you run into them quite a bit in the game, although not as much as people think, and if there were that many spores and they were airborne, that infection's gonna go even faster," Mazin said. "It's hard to imagine how anyone escapes it, and people would probably be wearing masks all the time. In the game, the second you leave a spore space, you're like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa! Get a mile away.'"
While Episode 2 revealed more about how the cordyceps infection spreads with its focus on infectious bites, Mazin continued: "I don't necessarily think we've eliminated spores from the universe of our show. We just haven't gotten there yet. It's possible that they may come back. We may have a plan, is my point."
Druckmann, who co-created and directed the video game, noted that The Last of Us game's spores "didn't live up to how realistic the show has become."
"So we've had some conversations recently," Druckmann said. "I was like, 'Is there a way to pull it off?' If enough people show up on day 1, we might get to show the spores."
HBO has not yet renewed The Last of Us for Season 2, but the January 15th series premiere, titled "When You're Lost in the Darkness," was its most-watched debut in more than a decade, behind only Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon. The January 22nd episode, "Infected," saw a 22% rise in viewership — the largest second week audience growth for an HBO Original drama series in HBO history.
New episodes of The Last of Us premiere Sundays on HBO and HBO Max. Follow for more The Last of Us on ComicBook.