What That Huge Zombie In Last Of Us Episode 5 Is & Why It’s So Different

Joel looking defeated and a Bloater crawling out from the fire in The Last of Us

This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 5 and the original game.The Last of Us episode 5 features the series’ most action-packed sequence yet, which introduces a terrifying new variation of zombie. For the most part, The Last of Us’ main infected threat has been Runners, primarily showcased in the series’ tragic opening sequence. The Last of Us episode 2, however, introduced Clickers, a much more dangerous threat that highlighted the diversity of the show’s zombies.


With The Last of Us episode 5, a new variant of infected is introduced. In the episode, after Joel, Ellie, Henry, and Sam escape Kansas City’s downtown to a suburban neighborhood, they are pinned down by a sniper. Upon reaching the sniper, Joel realizes he is working for the Hunters introduced in The Last of Us episode 4. The Hunters arrive and Joel causes their truck to crash into a house, resulting in a massive explosion. Unbeknownst to Joel, Henry, Ellie, Sam, and the Hunters, an infected horde rushes to their location and brings The Last of Us episode 5’s new zombie along with it.

Related: 12 Video Game Easter Eggs & Hidden Details In The Last Of Us Episode 4

The Last Of Us Episode 5 Introduces A Bloater (Later Than The Game)

Bloater HBO Last of Us

The huge zombie introduced in The Last of Us episode 5 is none other than a Bloater, an iconic infected monster from the original The Last of Us game. While this section of the game – originally set in Pittsburgh as opposed to Kansas City – does include a Bloater, it is changed somewhat. In the original game, Joel finds a Bloater in the sewers beneath a hotel in Pittsburgh rather than in the suburban area where the sniper is found.

Also, episode 5 also makes one major difference from The Last of Us game concerning Bloaters: this is the first one Joel and Ellie have encountered. In The Last of Us game, a Bloater is first found in Bill’s town. In that section, Joel, Ellie, and Bill take down a Bloater in Lincoln High School in their search for a truck battery. Given the changes made to Bill and Frank’s story in The Last of Us episode 3, this Bloater was not included meaning The Last of Us episode 5 marks its first appearance.

How Are Bloaters Different From Runners And Clickers?

The Last of Us Clicker Comparison

One thing that is immediately evident about the Bloater in The Last of Us episode 5 is how different it is from the other main variants of infected introduced in the show thus far. This all boils down to the Cordyceps infection itself, and how the illness has different stages of infection for each human host. Runners are the first stage of The Last of Us‘ fungi Cordyceps infection and begin anywhere between 12 and 48 hours after the initial infection. Runners lose their higher brain functions and become hostile, simply looking to spread the infection to other hosts.

A further stage of infection creates Clickers, which occurs around a year after infection. Clickers begin to grow fungal plates on the outside of their heads. This blinds them, resulting in Clickers developing a primitive form of echolocation. Finally, Bloaters are created around a decade after the initial infection, which sees the fungal growth from Clickers’ heads extend over their entire body. This creates an armor-like covering of fungi over a Bloater’s entire body, making them increasingly difficult to kill.

Related: The Last Of Us May Have Confirmed A Massive Joel & The Hunters Theory

Due to the extended period of infection, Bloaters also have much-increased strength over Runners and Clickers – showcased heavily in The Last of Us episode 2. Their giant size enables them to be much stronger, which combined with their fungal armor renders them formidable enemies. This is shown in The Last of Us episode 5, with Perry unable to kill the Bloater despite shooting it multiple times with his assault rifle.

How The Last Of Us Episode 5 Foreshadows The Bloater

Joel and Henry together in The Last of Us episode 5

The Last of Us episode 5 foreshadows the Bloater through Henry’s comments and the timeline of infection. When Joel, Henry, Ellie, and Sam are figuring out how to escape Kansas City, Henry mentions that FEDRA drove all infected from the city underground 15 years ago. Not only does this explain the tease of what was underground in The Last of Us episode 4, but it explains how a Bloater could be down there after being infected for over a decade given the timeline of events. This is paid off later in The Last of Us episode 5 when the Bloater is showcased in all its horrifying glory.

New episodes of The Last of Us release every Sunday on HBO Max.

More: Last Of Us Episode 4 Includes An Iconic Game Actor (Not How You Think)

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