“The Last of Us” is an interesting adaptation. The first season is incredibly faithful, to the point where it can sometimes feel like you’re just watching a collection of cutscenes from the game as the show recreates not just scenes or dialogue, but even some specific shot choices.
The show was often at its best when significantly changing the source material, often by adding things not present in the game. There was the expansion of Bill and Frank’s story, or the addition of flashbacks that contextualized the outbreak and even Ellie’s immunity. These helped make the show’s world feel richer, but also took time away from the main story, forcing the season to speed through certain things to hit all the major plot points, making it feel rushed.
The other big downside to these additions is that we barely had time to actually deal with the Infected, despite them being the catalyst for the whole story. The Infected appear in less than half the episodes, and often for just a scene or two. We spend more time with militias that all look the same than we spend with the unkillable infection that broke the world.
As the second episode sort of hints, Joel, Tess, and Ellie — as well as presumably a large portion of the population — don’t know there are different types of Infected. This is meant to make the reveals of the bloaters and the clickers more effective since not even the characters know about them, but the show sort of drops the ball. Other than a few seconds of fear, the characters barely react to the Infected. Joel and Ellie were clearly shocked by the deaths of Henry and Sam, sure, but the two didn’t even flinch at the sight of a massive bloater, nor did they mention it again.