The Last of Us showrunner wanted an even more gruesome death scene in episode 5

Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us episode 5 saw the introduction of the Bloater, a person in the fourth and most dangerous stage of infection from the Cordyceps infection. Bloaters are covered in a thick fungus that essentially acts as armor, making them incredibly strong and difficult to kill. 

The episode's climactic sequence sees Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey) and her team of resistance fighters cornering Henry (Lamar Johnson), the man responsible for her brother's murder, his little brother Sam (Keivonn Woodard), and Ellie (Bella Ramsey). 

Just when it looks like it may be curtains for the trio, a horde of infected are freed from the underground tunnels in Kansas City where FEDRA had trapped them, including a Bloater. Perry (Jeffrey Pierce), Kathleen's right-hand man, meets a tragic end at the hands of the Bloater, who rips his head clean off his body. However, showrunner Craig Mazin had an even more gruesome idea for Perry's death that didn't make it into the final draft of the episode. 

"I had this thing where I wanted the Bloater to pick Perry up and rip in half at the waist," Mazin explained on The Last of Us podcast (opens in new tab). "And Neil [Druckmann, co-showrunner] was like, 'Well, okay, I mean is that going to be realistic?' And I'm like, 'I think so.' And then like the more Wētā [FX] tried to do the more you realize that people don't rip along the waist. It's really hard to do."

He continued: "It got close. It came close. But ultimately Neil prevailed and was correct in suggesting that something that felt more grounded anatomically would be more effective. And then, of course, we were like, 'Well, the Bloater has this head-rip that is iconic, it's great, and it's terrifying.'" 

The Last of Us airs on Sundays on HBO in the US and follows on Mondays on Sky Atlantic in the UK. Make sure you never miss an episode with our The Last of Us release schedule

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.