Did Joel Make the Right Decision? The Last of Us Ending Explained

The ending of The Last of Us Season 1 was heartbreaking as it showed how love can be both beautiful and destructive at the same time. It showed how love can inspire people to do great things but also terrible things. It showed how love can heal people but also hurt them. It showed how love can save people but also doom them.

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The Last of Us season 1 finale was a faithful adaptation of the original game’s ending, but with some subtle changes and additions that added more depth and emotion to the story. Here, we discuss the plot summary, themes, ending, and my personal take on how it all ended in the TV show.

Plot Summary

The episode followed Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they reached Salt Lake City, where they hoped to find the Fireflies, a rebel group that claimed to have a cure for the Cordyceps infection that turned most of the humanity into zombies.

However, things did not go as planned. Joel learned that Ellie was immune to the infection because she had a mutated strain of Cordyceps in her brain, and that the only way to create a vaccine was to kill her and extract it. Joel refused to let that happen and went on a rampage against the Fireflies, killing many of them including their leader Marlene (Merle Dandridge). Oh, what a beautiful rampage it was! The score, the feel, everything felt amazing. He then lied to Ellie and told her that there were many other immune people like her, but none of them could be used for a cure. He said that the Fireflies had given up on finding a cure and disbanded.

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The episode ended with Joel and Ellie returning to Tommy’s (Gabriel Luna) settlement, where they could live peacefully. However, Ellie was still haunted by survivor’s guilt and asked Joel to swear that everything he said about the Fireflies was true. Joel looked at her in the eyes and said “I swear.” Ellie paused for a moment and then said “Okay.”

The themes of The Last of Us season 1 ending episode were mainly about love, loyalty, morality, sacrifice, and survival. The episode explored how far Joel would go to protect Ellie, who had become like a daughter to him after losing his own child Sarah (Nico Parker) in the outbreak. It also showed how Ellie struggled with her sense of purpose and identity after learning that she could be humanity’s last hope.

The ending was controversial because it raised questions about whether Joel did the right thing or not. On one hand, he saved Ellie’s life and gave her a chance to have a normal childhood. On the other hand, he doomed humanity to extinction by preventing a possible cure from being developed. He also betrayed Ellie’s trust by lying to her about what really happened at the hospital.

Did Joel Make the Right Decision?

Some of us might sympathize with Joel’s decision because we understood his attachment to Ellie and his desire to keep her safe. Others might condemn him for being selfish and immoral because he robbed Ellie of her agency and choice. Some might even wonder if Ellie believed him or not when he swore to her.

The ending was also powerful because it left room for interpretation and discussion among us. It did not provide any clear answers or resolutions but instead invited viewers to think about what they would do in Joel’s situation or how they would react if they were in Ellie’s shoes.

My Personal Take on the Finale

The Last of Us season 1 finale was a tragic story of love versus duty. It showed how Joel chose love over duty by saving Ellie from being sacrificed for a cure. It also showed how Ellie chose duty over love by accepting Joel’s lie instead of confronting him about it. Both characters made choices that were understandable but also questionable from different perspectives.

Joel lied because he loved Ellie too much to let her go or tell her the truth. He wanted to preserve their relationship as father-daughter even if it meant living in denial or deception. He also wanted to give Ellie some happiness after all she had been through.

Ellie accepted Joel’s lie because she loved him too much to lose him or accuse him of lying. She wanted to respect his decision as her protector even if it meant living in ignorance or guilt. She also wanted to give him some peace after all he had done for her.

What do you think?

Saurav B.

Saurav is the main content creator at Film Finesse's blog and YouTube. He has six years of experience as a content writer, including writing screenplays for short movies and videos. He has 5 years of experience as a research manager, along with a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering.