A key The Last of Us finale moment sets up season 2's most heartbreaking plot point

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

Warning! We will be discussing MAJOR The Last of Us Part 2 game spoilers in this article. If you’ve not yet played Naughty Dog’s sequel, navigate away now. For those remaining, make sure you’re up to date on The Last of Us episode 9 too before going any further.

The Last of Us finale featured a brutal nod to the upcoming HBO adaptation of Part 2. After traveling across the US to find the Fireflies, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) end up in Salt Lake City. But when a bomb lands at their feet, Joel wakes up in the hospital without Ellie as Marlene (Merle Dandridge) tells him that the young girl is being prepped for surgery. She explains they plan to extract the cordyceps fungus from her brain in an attempt to find a cure – an operation that will kill her. 

Obviously, Joel isn’t so keen on this happening and sets off on a path of vengeance to get Ellie back, killing every Firefly he encounters. The final stand-off comes as he enters the theater where Ellie is about to undergo the operation and he kills her surgeon. The scene is certainly a shocking one, but fans will have noticed the lingering shot of the doctor bleeding out on the floor. This is something that will have huge consequences in The Last of Us Part 2.

The Last of Us Part 2

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

The hugely acclaimed sequel features a new character called Abby Anderson killing Joel in the first few hours of gameplay. As the game continues, Ellie slowly finds out the reason behind this killing is linked back to that climactic moment in the operating theater. Abby’s father was the surgeon Joel murdered, setting her on a path to avenging him.

Viewers of the HBO show have been reacting to the scene, and what it sets up in The Last of Us season 2. "No Joel don’t shoot that doctor," wrote one on Twitter, while another added: "Watching Joel kill the doctor knowing the consequences that will come from that." A third tweeted: "Can’t believe the 10 second scene of Joel killing a random doctor is a setup to something that’s actually gonna ruin my life."

That’s not the only Easter egg in the finale scene either, as Abby game actor Laura Bailey also makes a cameo as Ellie’s nurse. For more on episode 9, we’ve broken down The Last of Us ending explained, all of the major changes from the games, and how Ashley Johnson reacted to joining the show.

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.