The Last of Us finale has everyone disturbed all over again

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us has come to an end with the season 1 finale – and nobody is quite sure what to make of that ending. Before we go any further, a warning that the following will contain major spoilers for The Last of Us episode 9. Turn back now if you're not up to date! 

In the final episode, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) finally make it to their destination and reach the Fireflies. But, members of the resistance group knock Joel out and take Ellie away, and when Joel wakes back up, he learns Ellie is being prepped for surgery. Firefly leader Marlene explains that, to potentially make a cure, they'll need to remove the Cordyceps that their doctor thinks has been inside Ellie since birth, to recreate her natural immunity. The problem is, as Joel points out, Cordyceps grows in the brain. That means the surgery will kill Ellie. 

Joel then goes on a rampage through the hospital, slaughtering every Firefly he comes across and ultimately killing Marlene. When Ellie wakes up, Joel lies to her and says she's not the only immune survivor and the Fireflies have given up on making a cure. When Ellie later presses him to swear that he's telling the truth, he does. 

"I haven't played the game, I did not see that coming," says one shaken viewer on Reddit. "I know she lived and that’s what Joel wanted but I feel lost right now. Like, as if something important was lost. How can he live with himself if he’s just lying to her from now on? I feel like their relationship will never be the same. I’m just walking around in circles. If one of them had died it would have been worse, but also somehow better."

really_feel_changed_and_disturbed_right_now from r/ThelastofusHBOseries

"If you're leaving the final episode feeling this way, that means the show creators have done the game justice. It's what us gamers have been left feeling for the past decade," responds one fan. "Welcome to the great debate of The Last of Us Part 1."

"The irony of the last of us is that in saving Ellie, their relationship of trust built over the whole story is broken. It's beautifully tragic and that 'okay' from Ellie is gut wrenching," thinks someone else. "It's not a happy, Joel saves the day ending"

"This feeling you're feeling is why the story resonated with many of us who played the games. It's morally grey, very divisive, and everyone will likely have a different perspective on it, story characters included," adds another person. "It's a great, great story. And I'm truly enjoying seeing the same emotions that I had bubble up in people who are newcomers to the franchise."

"It's always been maddening to me that no one asked Ellie what she wanted to do, everyone just decided for her based on their own personal motivations," points out another fan

"Your response means you understood what the ending represents for their relationship," is another person's verdict. "You can look forward to seeing how the next chapter explores the consequences."

The Last of Us season 2 has been confirmed, though there's no release date just yet. While you await the return of Joel and Ellie, check out our breakdown of The Last of Us ending explained and the biggest changes between episode 9 and the game

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.