How The Last of Us season 1 finale sets season 2

The last of us Spoilers follow, including the ending

Despite chasing down all Clickers, crushing Bloaters and people doing the most horrific things to each other, The last of us it ends on a relatively calm note. Sure, there’s gunplay and a fight for survival, but the change in tone is obvious.

The finale unfolds with Ellie’s traumatic birth story (not the serenity we talked about, but we promise she’ll calm down a bit after this dramatic arc).

Without a doubt, the bravest person in any apocalypse is a heavily pregnant woman who does everything in her power to survive. Attempting to bend down and clicker dive between contractions as baby threatens to slide out at any moment: are you kidding me?

Then imagine that after all this arduous effort you have to give birth to your own child without any help while the bloodthirsty Infected approaches you.

It takes strength beyond any normal human ability, but it’s strength Ellie’s mom Anna (Ashley Johnson) finds. With her maternal instinct to “lift the car off the baby”, she bravely pushes this baby into the birth canal and awakens while stabbing Clicker to death.

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We all have to take off our hats because that is true strength and love.

Unfortunately, Anna was bitten during Ellie’s birth, and after brutally stabbing the Infected, she must now make a choice about her daughter’s future – one that doesn’t include her.

When her childhood friend Marlene (Merle Dandridge) arrives at the scene, one bite and dead Clicker too late, Anna gives her baby away. She tells her friend to find someone to raise Ellie before instructing Marlene to shoot her.

After a painful, heartbreaking moment of hesitation, Marlene does just that.

How does this relate to today’s events that culminate in the end of what was a truly stunning show?

Here’s how.

The Last of Us ending explained

the last of us


Fast-forward fourteen years as Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Joel (Pedro Pascal) continue to push forward, defeating the undefeated and defying all odds, only to take her to Firefly’s medical base, where they can help her save the world.

She’s been through a trauma mill recently – you saw last week’s episode with a very liberating rape preacher trying to groom her while also incorporating her into his cult.

She fought fiercely to escape, and though she triumphed, the experience left her wounds so deep that even an emotionally insecure Joel breaks down all his walls and reaches out to her.

It highlights something important: when it comes to assuming the role of a father, Joel is in it all. If he was 90 percent committed before, he is now 110 percent ready to jump under the bus for her. If buses existed in a post-apocalyptic world.

It’s a good thing he came to that emotional conclusion when he did, because when they finally catch up with Marlene, things get pretty tense and unfamiliar to Ellie, she needs a protector.

Depending on which side you’re on.

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When they arrive at the medical base, they are immediately attacked, Ellie is taken away and Joel is knocked unconscious.

By the time Joel recovers, he states that they were separated and that while Ellie was taking a nap, she was already prepared for surgery.

When she asks to be by Ellie’s side, Marlene refuses.

Joel then discovers that in order to gather the genetic material they need from Ellie to create the antivirus, they have to extract it from Ellie’s Cordyceps. The only problem is that Cordyceps lives in the brain.

Now, knowing Joel as well as we’ve come to terms, this news isn’t well received and forces his fighting instincts to come out.

Marlene warns him not to rebel against her and expresses how hard it is for her because of her relationship with Ellie’s mother and the promise she made to Annie after her death to keep Ellie safe.

For Marlena, it’s no longer about loyalty, as she put it herself: she has to do what’s right.

Marlene urges Joel to do the same and has him led away, but Joel is Joel and Joel will do what Joel intends to do.

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On his way out, he kills those escorting him, as well as everyone on the way to the operating room, where he finds Ellie unconscious and about to be cut open.

He instructs them to stand back, and when the doctor refuses to back down, Joel shoots him without hesitation. The assistant nurses don’t make the same mistake as the doctor and let him take Ellie instead.

The escape is thwarted, however, when Marlene catches up with Joel and a still unconscious Ellie in an underground parking lot.

“You can’t keep her safe indefinitely,” he warns Joel, then warns him of the darkest possible future for Ellie, when Joel is no longer around to protect her.

Ugh, didn’t she get a note, Ellie can save herself.

Marlene gets her point to the point when she says:

“How long will it be before she is torn apart by the Infested or murdered by the invaders because she lives in a broken world that you could have saved?”

Joel tells Marlene that the decision to have surgery isn’t Marlene’s, but she responds by reminding him that it’s not his either.

– What would she decide? Marlene is tempted before adding, “because I think she’d like to do what’s right. And you know it.”

Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal, the last of us


There is more than a few grains of truth in what he says, and Joel thinks about it for a moment. Which is right, what Ellie would want… but one look at her face seals his decision. He doesn’t want to let her go because he can’t really bear to lose another daughter.

The scene shifts to Joel hosting. In the back of the car, Ellie starts to move. Confused, Joel explains what happened.

“They were testing you and a few others,” he tells her as the scene returns to show what really happened.

We see Marlene give up as Joel tells Ellie in real time that there are other resilient people like her.

He tells her that the doctors tried but couldn’t make the cure work so they gave up when he actually shot Marlene to make sure she could never hunt Ellie again.

When Ellie asks what happened to her clothes, Joel lies. He says that the bandits attacked and that they had to flee quickly. Ellie asks if people have been hurt, more specifically if Marlene is okay.

Joel, racked with remorse, does not answer, instead telling Ellie that they are going home, back to Tommy.

How The Last of Us ending sets up season 2

Bella Ramsey, Storm Reid, The Last of Us


It’s a nice, neat little story that Joel made up. Too neat – and Ellie is quite smart. Later, when their car breaks down and they continue their journey to Wyoming, Ellie opens up about Riley (Storm Reid) and we feel how her death and those that followed affected her.

Joel tries to explain why it’s not her fault, but there’s a suggestion in the back of her mind that, not being the cure, she is responsible for them and everyone who follows.

“Swear,” he demands of Joel, “Swear that everything you said about fireflies is true.”

Joel is forced to swallow the lump in his throat and curses.

While Ellie doesn’t seem to fully believe him, she is willing to accept his lie because she loves and trusts Joel. More importantly, he wants to believe it.

This version of reality allows her to stay with him, in his care. In this “truth”, she manages to be with the person she loves most in the world.

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While everything seems to be swept under the rug for now, that pile of dust is sure to spill over in season two.

Ellie may have been happy to have Joel blindfold her at first, but it won’t be long before his lie starts creating problems in their relationship. It’s no secret that the two had a hard time connecting thanks to Joel’s deep-seated emotional unavailability and unwillingness to bond.

Still, Ellie was finally able to break his hard shell with her book of deep puns and its inquisitive, bombastic charm.

The evolution of their relationship as they navigate this massive but well-meaning betrayal on Joel’s part will no doubt create a huge plot point in season two and be the source of much contention.

All episodes from The last of us are now available for streaming Atlantic sky and now.

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