This article contains spoilers for Episode 5 of The Last of Us
Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin have done the gaming world proud with what they’ve created at HBO. With a concept that is as gripping in its storytelling as it is final in its outcome, The Last of Us takes its audience on a journey well known – a dangerous and life-upending voyage through an infected post-apocalyptic world.
And yet, the narrative stands out from its predecessors by far, for the most part, because of the authenticity with which Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal have pulled off the roles they’ve been assigned to. But as it so happens, it is not only the two who have to navigate the ravaged lands but hundreds of actors playing their part of the infected or survivors that slowly but surely push the narrative towards its decisive end.
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Barrie Gower Talks About Bloaters in The Last of Us
For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Barrie Gower, think of Vecna from Stranger Things and the Night King from Game of Thrones. This is the brilliant mind giving shape to those otherworldly monsters and both were original creations almost completely devoid of CGI. Gower now works in collaboration with Druckmann and Mazin at HBO to bring alive ideas of the Cordyceps-infected creatures on screen. The first four episodes of the series have already revealed the various initial stages of an infected – the onset manic stage, and the more dangerous Clickers. However, the worst is yet to come.
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In an interview with Variety, the award-winning make-up artist, Barrie Gower talks about Bloaters who will soon make an appearance in the upcoming episode. Talking about the practical effects suit modeled to fit Adam Basil, the actor portraying the Bloater in Episode 5, Gower reveals:
“The suit would be very soft, but very slimy and wet. We covered him in this gel-like solution, which gave him a gloss to all the fungus. We had lots of little spines and spiky hairs punched into his body, like little growths burrowing out. To get the shapes to read, we had to cover them in a gloss. It was like a texture that we were building up, so we were constantly going in and slathering them in this gloss, just so the shapes would pick up in the silhouettes. We were repeatedly going in and gelling him up more, covering him in this lube so he was nice and shiny.”
It is perhaps better to step into Episode 5 of the series armed with the knowledge that Bloaters are simply lubricated and smothered poor stuntmen on the sets doing their best not to slip and fall under all that slime before one sees the nightmare-fueled creatures on the screens.
What Do We Know About Bloaters in The Last of Us?
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The Last of Us Episode 5 is in no way attempting to slow down on the momentum and might be even the goriest one yet. The latest episode reveals a horde of Clickers with Adam Basil’s Bloater at the helm charge out of a tunnel underneath a building and straight into the Kansas City base at nightfall. As huge lumbering beast-like creatures who have spent years infected, a Bloater is as ruthless as they come and even a single one is capable enough to command a legion of Clickers.
Already portrayed as intelligent, the creatures are the deadlier ones yet although those experienced with the game might be far more afraid of the Rat King. But in layman’s terms, even though a Bloater might not be able to see, its intelligence paired with the brutal and overpowering structure make these creatures capable of separating the head from the torso with its bare hands.
The Last of Us Episode 5 is currently streaming on HBO Max.