The Last of Us season finale will be as divisive as the game

The Last of Us season finale will be as divisive as the game
HBO | Naughty Dog

Written by 

Tom Chapman


3rd Mar 2023 16:49

All those critics are looking pretty foolish right now. While some wrote off HBO's The Last of Us as just another average video game adaptation like Uncharted, Naughty Dog's other big IP has gone from strength to strength. 

The Last of Us started breaking records from its first episode, so it's no surprise the network quickly ordered a second season to take us beyond the original order of nine episodes. We know Season 2 will adapt at least some of 2020's The Last of Us Part 2, but be warned, some of you might not be tuning back in.

Warning: major The Last of Us game spoilers ahead

The Last of Us Season 1 finale will divide fans

The Last of Us Joel rescue Ellie
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Naughty Dog

There are just two episodes left, with The Last of Us Episode 9 rounding off Season 1 on March 12. Those who've played the 2013 game will know what goes down with Ellie and Joel next, with Bella Ramsey teasing that things will play out in a similar way.

The name of Episode 9 being "Look for the Light" - and that being the mantra of the Fireflies - is a pretty big indicator we'll be following the events of the game. This should include Joel's bloody last stand at the Firefly lab.

Speaking to Vogue at Paris Fashion Week (how fancy), Ramsey told us what to expect from the finale. As well as saying the penultimate episode was exhausting, the star explained Episode 9 is "going to divide people massively – massively."

Although she doesn't go into why it'll split fandom, we guess it'll follow in the footsteps of the video game's final act and face similar criticism to Naughty Dog's source material.

Why was The Last of Us' ending divisive? 

The Last of Us Ellie
Click to enlarge
Naughty Dog | HBO

At the end of The Last of Us, Joel goes to rescue an unconscious Ellie from a group of Firefly doctors. Like in the series, the Fireflies want to use Ellie's immunity to the Cordyceps infection to try and come up with a cure. This was the original plan of Marlene (Merle Dandridge) in Episode 1.

The problem is, the Fireflies have to remove the infected part of Ellie's brain, which will kill her. Instead of Joel being the gruff and detached hero, he's become attached to Ellie and chooses to save her while potentially dooming humanity.

The Last of Us ends with Joel having murdered the Fireflies (including Marlene) and Ellie waking up in the back of a car. Joel lies to Ellie and says that the doctors couldn't create a cure so simply let her go. Critics think it was unfair for him to lie to her.

Others think Ellie should've been given a choice to decide whether she'd sacrifice herself to save the human race. Either way, it's out of the players' hands, with fans saying they would've liked to have been given an option for multiple endings. 

As The Last of Us is a TV series, we're guessing the bloodbath ending will be locked in, meaning we'll wave goodbye to Dandridge before we got to know Marlene in live-action. Importantly, the events at the hospital spur the storyline of Part 2 forward, and in turn, should set up Abby as the big bad of Season 2

Showrunner Craig Mazin has made some big changes to the source material, but considering how much the first game led into the second, we don't see The Last of Us Season 1 ending with anything other than Joel going full Rambo on the Fireflies. Get ready for the review-bombing.  

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