It’s over. The first season of The Last of Us, the acclaimed series starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, is over. The HBO Max series based on the video game of the same name, created by Naughty Dog, has come to the end of its first season after experiencing the adventures and challenges of Joel and Ellie’s journey.
Episode 1×09 of The Last of Us is titled “Look for the Light”, a direct continuation of the title of the first episode of the season: “When You’re Lost in the Darkness”, which together form the well-known motto of the Fireflies. A real cold water pitcher for those who were expecting a happy ending in a season full of moral grays, and that makes us wonder: what would you be willing to do to save the person you love the most in this life?
Meet Anna: Ellie’s mother
Those of us who have played the video game got a big surprise when we saw Anna, Ellie’s mother, in the first scene of the episode. And not only because she was characterized by Ashley Johnson, the actress who voices Ellie in the video game, but also because the character does not appear in any way in the video games nor do we know anything about her at any time. A nice addition that brings “lore” to Ellie’s story and to The Last of Us saga.
Fleeing from an infected while carrying a soon-to-be-born Ellie in her belly, Anna takes refuge in an uninhabited house while waiting for her Firefly contacts. The infected finally manages to reach her and bites her, just seconds before she gives birth to Ellie. Quickly, Anna cuts the umbilical cord, hoping that Ellie will not become infected.
Marlene and her fellow Fireflies arrive at night, hours after the birth, and find Anna with little time left to completely lose her head to cordyceps. After entrusting Ellie to Marlene, along with her signature switchblade, Anna asks her to end her life, to which the leader of the Fireflies agrees after initially refusing.
Ellie: from cargo to second daughter
The evolution of the relationship between Ellie and Joel reaches its zenith in this final episode of the season. The first scene with the two characters continues the events of the eighth episode, where Joel finds an Ellie on the verge of collapse after killing David, her kidnapper, and giving vent to her anger.
Ellie is still coming to terms with what happened, and shows symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Once they arrive at the location where the hospital should be, they climb a building in order to have a better view. And it is here that one of the most memorable moments of the video game takes place: the giraffes.
With nature taking over the city, Joel and Ellie encounter a group of giraffes in the middle of the city, even feeding and petting one of them. A key moment for the development of this story in which Joel realizes that he feels the same affection for Ellie as he once did for his own daughter, Sarah, and even invites her to turn around and go back to Tommy, concerned for her safety. Ellie refuses, saying that everything they’ve been through “can’t be for nothing”, and that she will follow Joel “wherever he goes.”
After leaving the building, Ellie and Joel finally find themselves in the hospital they were looking for, hovering outside in search of the Fireflies. The relationship between the two is already so close that Joel himself asks Ellie to tell him several jokes from the book ‘No Pun Intended: Volume Too’ (if you don’t laugh at at least one joke from the book, you must be infected). After walking around a bit, it’s finally the Fireflies who find them, knocking them unconscious as they don’t know who they are.
Love or selfishness?
Joel was not willing to lose another daughter. This idea sums up everything that happens at the Fireflies’ hospital, where Joel, who was knocked unconscious by a rifle shot, wakes up on a stretcher and returns to find Marlene, who can’t believe that he and Ellie made it there alive.
After asking about Ellie, Marlene tells Joel a bitter truth: in order to create a cure for cordyceps, Ellie’s brain must be removed, which means her death. Joel does not accept the situation and, to prevent them from killing his “daughter” again, he shoots his way through the hospital, leaving behind a trail of corpses, including Fireflies who had shown their surrender.
When Joel arrives at the operating room, the doctor who was going to operate on Ellie refuses to give her to him, after which Joel does not hesitate to shoot him, killing him with a single shot. Joel carries an anesthetized Ellie in his arms to the hospital parking lot, where they meet Marlene and she gives Joel a chance to leave Ellie and go away. But Joel is unwilling to do so.
After waking up from the anesthesia, Ellie asks Joel what happened, and he lies, telling her that there are “dozens” of people immune like her, according to the Firefly doctors, and that a cure could not be made, as well as telling her that looters broke into the hospital and people were injured. Joel falls silent when Ellie asks him if Marlene is okay, since he murdered her to keep her from chasing Ellie. Neither Joel nor Marlene took into account that the only person who had a say in her fate was Ellie herself.
After driving many miles, Joel and Ellie must continue walking until they reach Tommy’s town. Joel here opens up like never before to Ellie, telling her that her daughter Sarah and she could have been good friends. Ellie, who has already proven throughout the series that she’s not exactly dumb, asks Joel to swear to her that everything he’s told her about the Fireflies and Marlene is true. “I swear,” Joel says firmly. “Okay,” Ellie replies.
What happens from now on?
As is often the case, there is good news and bad news. On the one hand, the good news is that it doesn’t end here. Both the official Twitter account of the series and one of its creators, Neil Druckmann, confirmed at the end of January that “the adventure continues”, and that we will see the continuation of Joel and Ellie’s story in a future second season. On the other hand, we will have to wait quite some time to see it (knowing the current production rhythms).
This second season, according to Druckmann himself, will tell the events of The Last of Us: Part 2, the sequel to the video game, where we will see what happens years after Joel swore the oath to Ellie. A second season that will explore in greater depth the main theme of The Last of Us saga: violence begets more violence.
At the moment, not much is known about this second season, although it is already rumored who will play one of the main characters. If you want to brighten up the (long) wait, you can watch the fabulous making of The Last of Us, available now on HBO Max.