Clickers are one of the many threats that Joel, Tess, and Ellie must face in The Last of Us. What are they and how infected are they?

The first episode of The Last of Us was an extremely emotional watch. We met Joel Miller and learned how he evolved into the smuggler assigned to protect Ellie 20 years later, all in the space of 80 minutes.

We also met the runners; infected groups of people succumbing to the Cordyceps brain infection capable of chasing humans with alarming speed and vicious focus. But they aren’t the only versions of the population infected by the parasitic fungal infection that has gripped mankind in The Last of Us.

If you’ve played the video game or watched the trailer for the HBO and HBO Max show, you’ll know that there are greater threats that await the survivors. One of them is the Clickers. So, on that note, let’s discuss what they are, and why viewers will be terrified when they debut.

What are Clickers in The Last of Us?

Clickers were people who are much further gone with the Cordyceps fungal infection. Much more advanced the runners we met in the premiere episode of the HBO series, the fungal infection has spread all over their body, covering up their faces, resulting in them being blind. However, their hearing is much superior now as, like bats, they use echolocation and are able to pick up even the slightest of sounds. That also explains the clicking sound (and the screeches) that they make.

All of that makes them incredibly hard to kill in the game, as they can hear you even when you’re being quiet, and the mold covering up their face actually protects their brains from killshots. With the infection coursing through their body for a very long time now, they are much stronger than a human being, and yes, they can still run like their less advanced counterparts.

When Joel, Ellie and Tess come up against the Clickers on the show, make sure you have plenty of cushions to hide behind. You’re going to need them.

A Runner can then turn into a Stalker, those who have been infected from between two weeks to a year, and in the game they stalk their prey in the dark before attacking them.

Bloaters are the next stage of Infected and have been affected by Cordyceps for several years, causing their bodies to bloat. They have enhanced strength and are quite resilient thanks to being protected by the fungus, which acts as a protective barrier across their body.

In The Last of Us Part II, there are two more stages of Infected: Shamblers and the Rat King. It is unclear if either of these will appear in the HBO show in a future second season, but if it is renewed, then it’s a possibility as the drama has stuck closely its source material’s story thus far.

Shamblers aren’t as physically strong as Clickers or Bloaters, but they are still a difficult enemy to defeat. When they are killed they release a final burst of Cordyceps to try and pass on the infection.

The Rat King, meanwhile, is several Infected combined into one creature that has been contaminated by the fungus for 20 years. It’s extremely strong and giant in size, and proves to be a formidable opponent because of how resilient it is to different attacks.

The Last of Us airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.

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