The Last of Us Finale Recap: Joel Fights for Ellie's Life

Joel Battles for Ellie’s Life in The Brutal Season Finale of “The Last of Us.”

This story contains spoilers from Sunday’s season 1 finale of The Last of Us.

On “The Last of Us“, Joel and Ellie have reached the end of the road…at least for now.

The first season finale of the dystopian drama series aired on HBO on Sunday, and there were many emotional moments throughout the busy episode.

After what happened in episode 8, where Joel (Pedro Pascal) got stabbed and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) got away from a group of cannibals, the dream team was back on track to the Firefly base camp somewhere outside of Salt Lake City.

The goal of the series has been to get Ellie, who is immune to fungi, to the Fireflies safely in the hopes that she is the key to finding a cure and saving the world.

The Last of Us Finale Recap: Joel Fights for Ellie's Life

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Before the current day’s events, though, there was a flashback that showed how Ellie came into the world. Anna’s mother, played by Ashley Johnson, who voiced Ellie in the video game The Last of Us, was alone when she was born. She was protecting herself from the infected by putting up a wall. Anna was bitten by a rogue infected person she was trying to kill, despite her best efforts. Still, she got Ellie there safely and without harm.

Anna said that Ellie’s umbilical cord had been cut before she was bitten by Marlene (Merle Dandridge) when she found the mother. People quickly found out that wasn’t true.

Anna and Marlene were close, which may have been the only reason Ellie was allowed to live. Anna was about to turn around when Marlene shot her before she could. Ellie was an orphan right after she was born.

In the present, Joel and Ellie were getting close to the Fireflies’ hospital, but Ellie was still upset about the violent encounter she had with the leader of the cannibalistic sect. Joel tried to make light conversation by talking about a Boggle game he found and how he wanted to teach Ellie to play the guitar. However, it seemed like her mind was somewhere else.

He said, “Maybe there’s nothing bad out there, but there’s always been something bad so far.” Joel gave Ellie a choice: they could skip the hospital altogether and go back to Wyoming, where they would be safe.

The Last of Us Finale Recap: Joel Fights for Ellie's Life

But Ellie had already made up her mind. “It can’t be for nothing after everything we’ve been through and everything I’ve done,” she said. Ellie did find a middle ground, though. She told Joel that once their work at the hospital was done, she would follow him “anywhere you go.”

As they kept traveling, Joel finally told Ellie what happened to his late daughter Sarah (Nico Parker). He said that she had died early on in the outbreak and that he had tried to kill himself the next day. “I also wasn’t scared. I was all set. I couldn’t have been ready any better, “he said about dying.

“So I guess time heals all wounds,” Ellie said.

“It wasn’t time,” Joel said with tears in his eyes as he looked at the teen.

The time spent together didn’t last long. A patrol team caught the two of them by surprise. After the explosion, the Fireflies grabbed Ellie and used a gun to hit Joel in the head. The picture turned white.

The Last of Us Finale Recap: Joel Fights for Ellie's Life

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When Joel woke up, he saw Marlene right in front of him. She was impressed by how hard he worked to get Ellie across the country safely “without a scratch.” Marlene said, “You are the one person I never wanted to owe money to.” “But you owe me. We owe you all.”

At first, it seemed like Joel and Ellie were finally safe, but Joel soon found out that Ellie had been taken to surgery, where her brain would be cut open and studied, and she probably wouldn’t live. Joel became angry right away and went on a killing spree, which was shot to look a lot like a video game. He killed Firefly members all over the hospital and forced his way to Ellie before the doctor could make his first cut.

After leaving a sea of dead bodies in his wake, Joel went to the operating room and pointed a simple handgun at the medical staff. He shot the doctor but let two of the surgical assistants live. Joel carried Ellie’s limp body out of the room while she was under anesthesia. But the two still weren’t safe because they ran into Marlene again.

The Last of Us Finale Recap: Joel Fights for Ellie's Life

In episode 1, Joel’s daughter Sarah died in his arms. In episode 2, when Ellie died, Joel held a lifeless Ellie in his arms. And once again, a gun was pointed at Joel and his “daughter.”

Ellie woke up in the back of a car being driven by Joel as the scene changed. He made up the things that happened at the hospital and told Ellie that she was one of “dozens” of people being tested for immunity. “The doctors couldn’t make any of it work,” he said as a flashback showed Joel shooting Marlene. He told Ellie that the search for a cure was over and that it had been a waste of time.

Joel said “yes” when Ellie asked if anyone had been hurt. But he said that the massacre was done by outsiders who came to steal from the hospital.

At the end of the episode, it looked like everyone who wanted to study Ellie’s immunity was dead, and Joel and his surrogate daughter were driving away to start a new life.

As they walked through the wilds of Wyoming, Joel told Ellie even more about Sarah. He said that she was girly and had a “killer smile.” He asked Ellie, “Do you know why I think she’d like you?” “Cause you’re funny. I think she would have laughed at you.”

The Last of Us Finale Recap: Joel Fights for Ellie's Life

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Ellie took advantage of Joel’s openness by telling him about the first time she killed someone: when she was at the mall with Riley and was bitten by an infected person (Storm Reid). Ellie found out she was immune when Riley turned, which meant she had to kill her best friend. Ellie asked Joel to swear that “everything you said about the Fireflies is true” because so many people seem to die around her.

He swore, but people who watch him know that may have been the biggest lie he’s told so far.

The Last of Us is based on a video game with the same name that came out in two parts and was made by Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment. The HBO show has already been picked up for a second season.

On HBO Max, you can now watch all of season 1 of The Last of Us.

Anjali Arora

Anjali works on KeyManagement Insight as a Content Editor. She reports the latest news and gossip about celebrities in the entertainment industry. Furthermore, her interests lie majorly in Sketching, traveling, and adventurous activities.

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