The Last of Us Episode 5: What are Bloaters?

Bloaters in The Last of Us show and gameSony/HBO

The Last of Us Episode 5 finally introduces the game’s most dangerous monster: Bloaters – but what are they, and how do they compare to other infected?

In Episode 5, Joel and Ellie team up with Henry and Sam to evade Kathleen’s Hunters and escape Kansas City for good.

Using underground tunnels, they somehow reach the suburbs unscathed, but all hell breaks loose when Kathleen’s convoy barges through the street like the train in Inception.

One of the trucks sinks into the ground, giving rise to a horde of infected with a fearsome monster leading the pack – so, what are Bloaters?

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Spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 5 to follow…

The Last of Us: Bloaters explained

Bloaters are the most dangerous type of infected in The Last of Us, both in the show and the game.

They’re the fourth stage of the Cordyceps fungal evolution in humans – after Runners, Stalkers, and Clickers – and they get their name from their horrific, gargantuan appearance.

Similar to Clickers, Bloaters’ heads appear to be split open by the infection and they use echolocation to stalk their prey. However, their bodies are also completely covered in a thick layer of fungus that acts as a protective armor, and they’re capable of throwing sacks of deadly mycotoxin growing all over them on scaled tissue.

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Unlike other infected, they’re not particularly easy to kill. Don’t think one shotgun blast will be enough – prepare to empty your shells and use any ammunition you have to put the lost soul in there out of their rage-filled misery. They’re also vulnerable to fire, so pack a couple of Molotovs if you can.

They’re basically a breed of super-infected, capable of killing anyone with ease, whether it’s by tearing them apart or wiping them out with one punch, as seen in Episode 5.

The Last of Us Part II features another version of a Bloater known as a Shambler, found in areas flooded with water and still capable of spewing toxic spores. And then there’s the Rat King, but that thing doesn’t count.

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If you want to learn more about the different types of infected in the show and game, click here.

The Last of Us Episode 6 will be available to stream on February 19 in the US and February 20 in the UK. You can check out the rest of our coverage here and check out the trailer for the weeks ahead here.