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Every Type Of Infected We've Seen So Far On The Last Of Us Explained

With every week that passes, we're coming closer to the end of HBO's stunning live-action adaptation of "The Last of Us." In that time, the audience roped into what has become a "Game of Thrones" dominating drama in terms of ratings are far more educated in Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie's (Bella Ramsey) adventure that first debuted 13 years ago. Besides, say, knowing they even existed. They know that stepping on a fungus could warrant a death sentence, and to "endure and survive" is much harder on the heart than it sounds. Above all, though, what's been made abundantly clear is just how bad things can get for someone infected by the world-dominating fungus and that the stages of it invading a host can spell various levels of doom for anyone in the area, immune or not.

So far, we've seen various unfortunate individuals riddled with cordyceps, all sharing spot-on symptoms of the dangerous threats that ran, shuffled, and went brilliantly berserk in Naughty Dog's original game. What kind of infected have Joel and Ellie encountered so far, and what's left for audiences to be terrified by and long-standing fans to get immensely excited about what's to come? Well, here's our trusty guide to help you remember all the infected types, which you should avoid at your absolute peril.

Runners - The first fungus phase of infected

"The Walking Dead" had walkers, so it was only fitting that its post-apocalyptic successor of a show turned things up a notch. For those in the very first stages of the infection, anyone who succumbs to the outbreak starts things off as a Runner, and it doesn't take a lone hero with important cargo to figure out what they do. Like anyone infected with the disease, a Runner is moving at a predictably speedy pace with nothing else in mind other than to latch onto another clean subject to have them join the fungal network because they're just that friendly.

The positive (if you can call them that) is that, unlike their leveled-up superiors with the disease, these can be taken down quickly. Only recently contaminated with the infection, the new fungal parasite hasn't entirely gone to work on its host yet, so its human form is still exposed and an easy target. A severe blow or bullet to the head will be enough to bring them down permanently, as Joel demonstrated by striking his elderly next-door neighbor in Episode 1. However, just like every other story where infected human beings on the hunt ravage the planet, more than one and a problem can quickly arise.

Stalkers are the second stage of infected, hiding in plain fright

Leave a Runner long enough, and the fungus will begin to make its presence known by growing out of the human vessel it's taken over. That's how you get a Stalker. Like a Black Friday customer, before a store opens, Stalkers hang together and are just as fast and feral as the lower-ranked members of the cordyceps community and have just the same terrifying intention. Unphased by the fungus sprouting from eyes, ears, or any open wound that has a new organism growing underneath, this is the last of what remains of the human before the infiltration reaches new terrifying levels.

In the game franchise the show is based on, Stalkers often hid in shadows, making for a tense player experience as turning around any corner could lead to one jumping onto Joel and attempting to go in for the kill. The show has shown them in a very different light (quite literally), though, as they first appear in a mass huddle in Episode 2 before they are alarmed by Joel, Ellie, and Tess (Anna Torv), the latter of who stays behind after getting a final kiss of death from one before blowing them all to smithereens. We've not seen many since then, with the more prominent pest being a new breed of terror.

Three times the terror, Clickers are not fun guys to be around

The poster children of Neil Druckmann's nightmarish world that sound like a possessed sperm whale, Clickers are what happens when the fungus has fully had its way with its victim and the infestation has reached a point that they are no longer recognizable. Sprouting shrooms from their entire head, Clickers have a lack of sight due to the spread covering most of their face, leaving only their mouth exposed. As a result, they move a little more cautiously than runners or stalkers when dormant and use ultrasound from their clicking to pinpoint nearby threats or potential dangers, impacting their speed and sense of surroundings.

With their exponential growth around their heads and immense strength, Clickers are far more challenging to kill than the earlier phases of infected. The cordyceps growths are a natural armor that can withstand gunfire, meaning that a headshot isn't going to cut it. Instead, fire or severe blunt force trauma to the head only will take them down. The longer they're left alone, the longer they become an even bigger problem that is absolute nightmare fuel.

Bloaters are a big bad problem in The Last of Us

Teased in the trailers and finally rising up to cause some issues for Katherine (Melanie Lynskey) and her group in Episode 5 of the series, Bloaters were originally gas-spewing berserkers that were presumably OG infected from the early stages of the outbreak that had been left for years for the virus to go to work. The result is a growling, gargling, unstoppable threat that doesn't spread the infection, more so take those that have not yet been contaminated and rip their heads off like a tube of Pringles. Delightful.

Another altered enemy from the game, because the series did away with spores being an issue in the HBO adaptation, Bloaters no longer have the unique feature of being able to rip off spores growing on themselves and chuck like them grenades, exploding on bystanders. Thanks, HBO. Appreciate it. Instead, these are just massive monstrous forces that act like ring leaders to the infected and, like Clickers, take fire or a relatively large boom to bring them down. We're just glad that Joel didn't get too close during our first encounter with them. Of course, that lucky streak could change at any time. Watch your step, Joel and Ellie.