What is a Bloater in The Last of Us, Explained

Image Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO

Based on the 2013 video game of the same name developed by Naughty Dog, ‘The Last of Us’ is an HBO post-apocalyptic action-drama series. The plot mainly follows two characters — Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) — as they travel across a devastated American landscape 20 years after the advent of a fungi outbreak that killed or infected 60% of the human population. In episode 4, titled ‘Please Hold to My Hand,’ along with several new characters, the series hints about adapting various types of the Infected from the original game, including the dreaded bloaters. Here is everything you need to know about them. SPOILERS AHEAD.

What is a Bloater?

After leaving Frank and Bill’s home, Joel decides to make his way to Wyoming with Ellie as his younger brother Tommy is there. Although Tommy’s current whereabouts are unknown, he is Joel’s brother, and because of his past connection with the Fireflies, he is the only person Joel can trust to guide him and Ellie in the right direction.

However, on their way to Wyoming, Joel and Ellie discover that their roads are blocked near Kansas City, Missouri, prompting them to take a detour through the city, where they encounter the hunters, a group of looters and rebels that has overthrown FEDRA and taken control of the Quarantine Zone. Their apparent leader Kathleen Coghlan (Melanie Lynskey), is a show-original character, though the person she is obsessively looking for isn’t, and neither is his brother. Henry (Lamar Johnson) and Sam (Keivonn Montreal Woodard) are constantly on the run from Kathleen, as she believes that Henry is responsible for her brother’s death. As episode 4 ends, Joel wakes up to find the brothers pointing their guns at him and Ellie.

Along with Henry, Sam, and the two new arrivals, Kathleen learns that they have another problem when her second-in-command, Perry (Jeffrey Pierce), takes her to a room where the Infected burrowed into the city and are about to burst out of the floor of a hotel. Instead of immediately telling her people, Kathleen instructs Perry to withhold the information for now and focus on Henry, Sam, and the two “tourists” (that’s the phrase the hunters use to refer to anyone who enters their territory). She also tells Perry to seal off the building.

In the game, Joel and Ellie encounter both the brothers and the hunters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and not in Kansas City, as depicted in the show. So, we can safely assume that the Pittsburgh narrative has moved to Kansas City in the HBO series, which means that the type of Infected underneath that hotel floor is the bloaters.

There are four stages of the Cordyceps Brain Infection, and the Infected becomes bloaters in the final stage. The bloaters have been infected for several years. They slow in their movement but are incredibly strong and imposing. The thick layers of fungus that has grown out of their body have become a protective suit of armor for all intent and purpose. It protects the bloaters from typical gunshots and even knife and machete attacks.

While armor-piercing rounds are a viable option against this particular type of the Infected, fire is the most effective weapon against them. As with the other Infected, fire is the bloaters’ greatest weakness, though because of their armor, weapons such as Molotov cocktails or flamethrowers need to be used multiple times to kill them.

Despite their slow movement, bloaters are highly aggressive and known to rip the jaws apart of the people they are attacking. Also like the other Infected, Cordyceps have blinded them and disfigured their faces. As a result, they use echolocation to know about their surroundings. They make clicking noises, just like the Clickers, another group of the Infected, though that clicking is much deeper than the ones made by the latter group.

Image Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO

Moreover, the echolocation that the bloaters use is less potent than that of the Clickers. In the game, the bloaters have these mycotoxin sacks that they throw at the survivors, which are poisonous and hurt them more and more as time passes.

In the game, a player doesn’t necessarily have to fight the bloaters in Pittsburgh. Given the importance they seem to have in the developing narrative of the show, things might turn out differently there. They can prove a threat to Joel and Ellie as they try to escape the hunters.

Read More: Is Bill Dead? Did Nick Offerman Leave The Last of Us?