If you thought that the Season 1 finale of HBO’s harrowing video game adaptation The Last of Us would wrap up its post-apocalyptic storyline in a neat bow and give its main characters a hard-won happy ending, then you have been watching a different show entirely.
Episode 9 of the critically acclaimed drama, “Look for the Light,” certainly did deliver resolution on some of the unresolved narratives of the season, but it did so in predictably gut-wrenching fashion.
The truth about the Fireflies’ plan was revealed, with Marlene explaining that because Ellie was born moments after her mother was bitten, she carries a potential cure for the cordyceps infection within her. Literally, inside her body—and a team of doctors are on hand to physically cut it out of her, even if it means killing her in the process.
Except of course, the emotionally scarred Joel has come to accept his new role as Daddy Bear, and in shockingly violent fashion, he rampages through the medical facility with a shotgun, killing every last person who stands between him and an unconscious Ellie. He even murders Marlene, and when Ellie awakens, he lies to her face, setting up some very awkward conversations in Season 2.
And do not even get us started on the flashback sequence which introduced Ellie’s late mother Anna, played by none other than Ashley Johnson, who voiced Ellie in the original video games. For fans of the game, seeing Johnson holding a newborn Ellie and instilling her with words of fierce courage before she died was a bittersweet full circle moment, with Johnson officially passing the torch to Bella Ramsey as this generation’s Ellie—as well as getting to share the screen with her old pal Merle Dandridge, who also appeared in the game.
Suffice to say, it was a lot, and the internet is still crying/shaking/throwing up about it.
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.