Spoiler warning for The Last of Us episode five, “Endure and Survive”.Thanks to the Super Bowl, many of us got to watch the fifth episode of The Last of Us early. Although we should really be careful what we wish for, because yet again, the show has reduced many of us to a sobbing mess. I suppose it's our fault for getting attached, right?
Heartbreak aside, Endure and Survive was an incredibly visually impressive episode – and unsurprisingly, a very demanding one to film. In an interview with Variety following the episode's premiere, Barrie Gower, a prosthetics designer for The Last of Us, explained how the team pulled off that scene with all of the infected. And believe it or not, it took five hours just to prepare the stunt crew alone.
The scene in question takes place towards the end of the episode, in which Henry, Sam, Ellie and Joel find themselves trapped in a cul-de-sac, surrounded by revolutionaries. Before they can be caught, they're "saved" by a sinkhole opening up on the street, releasing the hundreds of infected that have been living below the city the entire time.
Amazingly, it seems that most of this was accomplished using practical effects, which is no small feat when you're filming an action scene on this level. According to the Variety interview, it took 65 prosthetic artists five hours to get the team of infected ready for the scene. This included getting as many as 15 stunt artists decked out as Clickers, and a further 60 extras as generic infected.
As per the article, makeup would begin at 3pm, making sure the crew were ready for a 9pm shoot. This, of course, doesn't take into account how long it would have taken to prepare the set itself, since there were explosions, flames, and gunfights in every direction. Kathleen even brought an entire army of revolutionaries with her to apprehend Henry, making for even more extras to prepare – albeit without the heavy prosthetics of the Clickers.
With this in mind, it's clear that HBO had high hopes for The Last of Us from the start. There's no way that this was a cheap show to produce, even compared to its other pricey shows, such as House of the Dragon. However, with viewership rising as the show has gone on, it's likely that it will be a worthy investment. It also seems that these stats haven't disappointed either, as the show has already been renewed for a second season. And if season one is enough to break your heart into tiny pieces, let me tell you, you're not ready for what comes next.
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