Sat. Mar 25th, 2023

Picture: Liane Hentscher/HBO

Sure, that occurred. Sure, that’s how the sport ends. No, we’re nonetheless not over it. Let’s sit down and discuss in regards to the season finale of The Final of Us.

Picture: Liane Hentscher/HBO

Lately everybody loves to evaluate media by its size. “Lengthy is sweet” and “brief is dangerous” is an accepted mind-set. Nicely, with “Search for the Mild,” the ninth and last episode of The Final of Us season one, that will get thrown out totally. It’s the shortest episode of the season, and but its 44-minute runtime is full of game-changing substance. Living proof, the episode’s chilly open, which begins mysterious and builds into possibly essentially the most vital scene in your entire season. Till, effectively, the tip of the episode.

A girl named Anna (Ashley Johnson) is working within the woods. She’s pregnant. Behind her, we hear the sounds of a clicker in pursuit. Anna finds an previous farmhouse that she expects may have folks in it nevertheless it’s empty. As she runs up the steps, her water breaks. This child is coming. She barricades herself in a room and takes out a knife. A knife that, by this level, ought to look somewhat acquainted. Did you work it out at this level?

The clicker makes its manner into the home. It runs up the steps and is now banging on the bed room door. The door provides manner and the clicker assaults Anna. There’s a battle and virtually concurrently three issues occur: Anna stabs the clicker within the head, she will get bitten, and her child arrives. Anna cuts the umbilical twine and appears adoringly at her crying child. “You fucking inform ‘em, Ellie,” she says. Yup. We simply noticed the second of Ellie’s start and a possible clarification of why she, out of everybody, is immune: an infection occurred on the time of start. It’s part of her.

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Picture: Liane Hentscher/HBO

It’s loads to soak up (particularly whenever you notice Ashley Johnson performs Ellie within the video video games, so she form of provides start to herself)—so fortunately we have now a couple of minutes to sit down with what’s simply occurred because the opening credit roll. When issues choose again up, we’re nonetheless prior to now. Marlene (Merle Dandridge) arrives with just a few fellow Fireflies. They discover the home locked however take the again manner in and notice, due to the damaged window, one thing dangerous occurred right here. Upstairs, they hear singing. It’s Anna holding Ellie, lined in blood. She explains to Marlene that the child is hungry and must be fed however that she couldn’t feed her as a result of she’s been bitten. Marlene’s thoughts instantly goes to if the child is contaminated however Anna lies and says she lower the umbilical twine earlier than she was bitten. It’s an enormous threat that places everybody in peril however they don’t comprehend it but.

Anna begs Marlene to take the child along with her to Boston and lift it, however Marlene doesn’t need to. After revealing that they’ve recognized one another their complete lives, Marlene agrees. Anna additionally desires Marlene to kill her, however Marlene doesn’t assume she will. Once more, Anna begs, and so towards her greatest needs, Marlene kills her.

Earlier than shifting on, it’s price it to unpack this scene, which is a brand new addition to the mythology and never explicitly seen within the recreation (although it’s hinted at). Clearly, seeing how Ellie’s mother died and explaining how she’s immune are huge revelations. However the truth that Marlene not solely knew Anna her complete life, however was tasked with defending her, additionally actually flips some issues. Within the sequence’ first episode, it appeared as if Ellie had by no means met Marlene earlier than. Which means Marlene particularly selected to not act as a mom determine to Ellie. Additionally, figuring out their historical past collectively provides a complete different layer to what occurs on the finish of the episode. All of that is extremely highly effective and virtually an excessive amount of to digest, however the finale is simply getting began.

The sound of Marlene’s gunshot killing her mother cuts again to Ellie within the current. She’s distant. Zoned out. As you may be in case you’d just lately stabbed a person 21 occasions after he tried to rape and homicide you in a burning constructing. It’s unclear how a lot time has handed or how, particularly, she and Joel acquired from Colorado to Salt Lake Metropolis (keep in mind in episode six after they realized the Firefly scientists had moved there?), however they’ve. They’re near their last vacation spot.

However Joel is retaining it mild. He’s excited they discovered some Chef Boyardee and Boggle and mentions possibly after they get again to Wyoming, he can train Ellie easy methods to play the guitar. She’s solely half listening although as she’s clearly not her previous self. Who is aware of if she’ll ever be once more?

Picture: Liane Hentscher/HBO

Joel continues to be talkative as they enter the town on the lookout for the hospital. As they start to climb up a constructing for a greater view, one thing distracts Ellie and he or she bolts off. She’s being loud, screaming, and Joel runs after her making an attempt to maintain her quiet. Then we see what distracted her. It’s a giraffe.

If Ellie, raised in a Boston Quarantine Zone, had by no means seen an escalator earlier than, clearly she’d by no means seen a giraffe earlier than. She’s past completely happy and seeing her smile once more makes Joel smile. They feed the animal and see that there are just a few roaming across the metropolis. With the giraffes considerably lifting the cloud that’s been hanging over Ellie, Joel tells her that, they don’t have to do that. They will simply flip round and return to Tommy in Wyoming.

That’s not what Ellie desires. After every little thing they’ve finished and gone by means of, she wants it to be for one thing. For it to imply one thing. Then, after that? She doesn’t care. She’ll go or do no matter Joel desires. It’s an odd factor for Joel to say so near the tip, however within the subsequent scene we discover out why. They stumble right into a medical space that’s been there for many years and Joel reveals to Ellie that previously he tried, and failed, to commit suicide. After Sarah died, and with every little thing taking place, he didn’t see some extent in residing anymore. He was able to die. However, for some motive, he flinched and now, all these years later, he is aware of why. It was due to Ellie.

A few of that is implied between the strains of the present’s lovely writing, nevertheless it’s actually hammered residence when Ellie says to Joel that point heals all wounds and he replies, with a loving look, that it wasn’t time. No, for Joel, every little thing they’ve been by means of, all of the ache and demise, it’s price it as a result of he has a daughter once more. It’s arguably essentially the most touching second of your entire season, and it brings every little thing collectively for Joel. He’s succeeded right here. He cares much less about Ellie’s potential for a remedy and extra about not dropping an individual he loves once more. He, is as soon as once more, complete.

After the emotional reflection, the pair get away the pun e-book and for a second, The Final of Us makes you neglect in regards to the world. It’s simply two characters telling jokes. However within the background you discover a soldier sneaking up on them—after which throwing a grenade. The gasoline knocks them each out and, effectively. Right here we go.

Earlier than we get to the massive occasion right here, I do assume it’s price noting that, in case you’ve performed the sport, the episode has a very completely different vitality. Understanding what’s about to occur provides a sure concern and pressure that’s most likely lacking from the expertise of somebody who nonetheless doesn’t know what’s about to occur. That individual might be extra frightened and curious. Both manner, Joel and Ellie’s seize here’s a second of maximum change on which your entire sequence pivots, and a part of why this present has been so successful is it really works whether or not you understand what’s coming or not, simply in barely other ways.

Joel wakes up and sees Firefly symbols. They’ve made it to the hospital they wanted to get to. In walks Marlene, who’s surprised that the person she tasked with bringing Ellie to her folks nonetheless many months in the past has really succeeded. She mentioned she misplaced half the individuals who had been assigned to get her from Boston to Salt Lake Metropolis however by some means, Joel and Ellie made it. Joel says it was all Ellie and that she fought like hell to be right here. Which is true. Marlene says she’s in his debt.

Joel asks the place Ellie is and Marlene says she’s prepping for surgical procedure. That catches Joel’s consideration. Why is she going into surgical procedure? Seems the physician believes the virus has been in her since start (which this episode made clear) and so anytime she’s “contaminated,” it doesn’t take as a result of the virus already thinks she’s contaminated. He believes if he can harvest the cells which have that code, they will really create a remedy.

It’s incredible information, and it’s every little thing Joel, Ellie, and Marlene have been working towards your entire season. Besides Joel realizes that the virus grows within the mind. So the surgical procedure Ellie is being prepped for is mind surgical procedure. Mind surgical procedure that can kill her. He begins to freak out as a result of it’s like he’s dropping a daughter once more and yells to Marlene that she doesn’t perceive. Besides, with the revelations from earlier, we all know she does perceive. She’s been watching over Ellie her total life. They’re not as shut, however she too is letting some she loves be sacrificed.

For Marlene, there’s no different alternative. It’s Ellie versus actually each different individual on the planet and, she assures Joel, she’ll really feel no ache. He desires to see her although and it begins to appear like he’s going to be an issue. So Marlene tells her males to take him to the freeway.

As Joel is being escorted out, he catches a glimpse of the hospital listing for an concept of the place Ellie may be after which *deep breath* he jumps and kills the 2 males who had been escorting them. He takes their weapons and begins to make his manner by means of the hospital, murdering each single individual in sight. Even individuals who beg for mercy get none—and all of a sudden our hero, flawed as he may be, is one thing else. He’s a mass shooter and the visible of Joel sneaking across the hospital, killing each single individual he sees, is extremely onerous to look at, particularly as a result of we’ve seen the great in him. That is past stunning.

Picture: Liane Hentscher/HBO

Watching the episode I misplaced depend of how many individuals Joel kills, nevertheless it’s round 15-20. Simply a lot demise and destruction. Lastly, and mercifully for the viewers, he makes it to the working room. He asks the physician to unhook Ellie and when the lead physician says he can’t let Joel take her, Joel shoots him within the head. The person who may save the world will get shot within the head. He lets the 2 nurses stay (certainly one of whom is performed by Final of Us Half II voice actress Laura Bailey, in a pleasant wink for followers), they take away all of the wires from Ellie, and he grabs her. The present can be certain to linger an additional second on that physician for, you understand, causes.

Then, by some means, issues worsen. Joel takes Ellie all the way down to the storage to seize a automotive and runs into Marlene. She tells Joel that it doesn’t matter what occurs Ellie goes to die ultimately and he’s not seeing the massive image. Collectively, they may save everybody—however as an alternative, he’s simply saving her. Joel yells that she wasn’t given the selection within the matter however he, Marlene, and most significantly the viewers know that doesn’t matter. Ellie made it clear that this journey needed to be about one thing and nothing would’ve been extra essential than a remedy. Marlene tells Joel it’s not too late.

Earlier than it’s revealed what occurs subsequent within the storage, we see Joel driving away. Ellie is laying within the again seat and wakes up confused about what occurred. Joel tells her that the docs had been working assessments on not simply on her, however dozens of different individuals who had been resistant to the virus. Nonetheless, the docs couldn’t make it work and so they stopped on the lookout for a remedy.

As we sit there surprised at Joel’s lies, we see the power of his resolve. The present cuts again to him within the storage as he shoots Marlene. Again within the automotive, Joel’s gaslighting continues. He says that raiders attacked the hospital and he barely acquired Ellie out of there alive. Many individuals had been damage. When Ellie asks if Marlene is okay, Joel doesn’t reply. However the TV present does. After Joel shoots her, Marlene is crumpled up on the bottom. She asks him to let her go to which Joel replies, with an ice-cold demeanor that’s scary for even him, “You’d simply come after her.” And he fires one other shot into her head.

Days later, Joel and Ellie’s automotive craps out just a few hours away from Tommy’s. They begin to hike and Joel talks to Ellie about Sarah: how they’re completely different, how they’re comparable. Pedro Pascal’s efficiency right here is unimaginable as a result of he’s making an attempt to be completely happy, however you see that that is all simply justification. It’s Joel coping with the guilt of what he simply did to be with Ellie. What he simply determined the world have to be for them to be collectively.

After they attain the house stretch, Ellie stops Joel. For the primary time she reveals to him that the primary individual she ever needed to kill was her greatest good friend Riley, and since then, so many individuals have died for her: Tess, Sam, and so forth. She makes Joel swear to her that what he mentioned in regards to the Fireflies was true. That their total journey wasn’t for nothing and {that a} remedy actually wasn’t potential. He swears to her. And within the last shot, a skeptical Ellie says the one factor she will say. “Okay.”

So was this journey all for nothing? It depends upon your perspective. For Joel, it appears he would have killed each individual on the planet for an opportunity to recapture the love he misplaced on the primary day of the outbreak. And, ultimately, he form of did simply that. To take action although, he needed to deprive Ellie of what she believed was her true objective: to save lots of folks. For certainly one of them to have what they wished, the opposite couldn’t.

Picture: Liane Hentscher/HBO

The fallout of the lies and destruction all come into play in season two; if you wish to see what occurs subsequent, The Final of Us Half II is true there. However taking this as the tip of a season of tv, it’s simply so extremely complicated. Each angle you have a look at it from presents new views. Joel’s actions had been deplorable, clearly, however does doing them within the identify of affection make them okay? If Ellie had given her life, are we actually certain that the remedy would have labored? Might it have gotten to everybody or would some have tried to revenue from it? Greed is fairly prevalent on this world. Did skepticism in regards to the remedy weigh into Joel’s choice? And the way a lot do you like somebody in case you make them consider not only a lie, however one thing that’s so removed from the reality, it’s virtually actually unforgivable? These questions and plenty of, many, many extra might be mentioned within the coming months, which is the mark of a very nice piece of artwork. One thing that The Final of Us most actually is.

Stream all episodes of The Final of Us now on HBO Max.

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