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The Divide Created by the Season Finale of ‘The Last of Us’

From Video Games to the Big Screen

The hit video-game adaptation of The Last of Us starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey began airing in January on HBO Max. Millions of dedicated fans tuned in each week to follow along Joel and Ellie’s journey through the apocalypse. In fact, the series was so popular that it accumulated the second largest turnout for a season premier, only behind Game of Thrones. Throughout the first season, we learn about the rampage that cordyceps has taken on humanity, leaving zombies in its wake. Main characters Joel and Ellie are acquainted when he is tasked with getting Ellie to rebel group, the Fireflies, as she is immune to infection and could possibly be the cure. Despite Joel’s best attempts, the relationship he builds with Ellie becomes much more than either of them anticipated.

As the show progresses, we laugh, we celebrate, and we mourn alongside the characters. And through it all, we grow to love our favorite father-daughter duo, Joel and Ellie.

Episode 9: “Look for the Light”

Nothing could have prepared us for the season finale of The Last of Us. Even those who have played the video game experienced quite the heartache, especially in the second half of the episode. The finale begins with a flashback to Ellie’s mother, moments before giving birth. (Fun fact: Ellie’s mother is played by Ashley Johnson, the original voice of Ellie in the video games!) Here, we see her get bit moments before Ellie is born. This is the pivotal point that made Ellie immune to the infection, as she was born with cordyceps already in her body. After many trials and tribulations, we fast-forward and see Joel successfully deliver Ellie to The Fireflies, one step closer to finding a cure. And everything goes downhill from there…

Upon learning that Ellie is to undergo a possibly deadly brain surgery, Joel makes it his mission to save Ellie’s life. He goes on a murder spree, wiping out the Fireflies and throwing away humanity’s only chance at creating a cure. Joel lies to Ellie, saying raiders attacked the hospital. He also says that she is no longer needed, as they found others who are also immune. This is the first time that Joel has lied to Ellie, extinguishing the trust that she had instilled in him as a father figure. This is where the divide begins.

Do The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Few?

So what do you think? Was Joel justified in lying to Ellie, or did he snuff out any chance of her fulfilling her life’s purpose? Did he perform an act of a selfless father, or a greedy man who is far too wounded? There are so many questions that remain at the end of the season finale. Fans continue to argue whether Joel was right to overstep and sever the trust that Ellie had placed in him. Others believe that he saved her from potentially giving her life to a meaningless cause. No matter where you fall, you have to admit that it was a heart-wrenching ending. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t pull at my heartstrings after becoming so invested in their relationship.

The only good news? Season two of ‘The Last of Us’ is already confirmed. But until then, we are left to debate amongst ourselves, anxiously awaiting the impending doom when Ellie inevitably finds out about Joel’s deceit.

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