It’s time to find the Fireflies once and for all in the season finale of The Last of Us.
So that’s how Ellie became immune. In active labor with Ellie, her mother Anna (played by Ellie’s original mo-cap and voice actor Ashley Williams!) is bit by a runner.
A crew of Fireflies, including Marlene, happen upon the old farmhouse she was hiding in, and thankfully Anna hasn’t turned yet. Marlene knows Anna, they’ve been looking for her, and Marlene finds her with the bite and a switchblade at her own throat. She assures Marlene she cut the umbilical cord before she was bitten (that’s a lie, Anna), and Marlene takes Ellie and the switchblade Ellie still carries with her to Boston.
Salt Lake City
Joel has found a can of Chef Boyardee and a game of Boggle for Ellie and has his sight set on the hospital they’re looking for. He tells her he’d like to find a guitar, and he’ll teach her how to play, but she’s noticeably absent in their conversation. Stuck with nowhere to go, Joel gives Ellie a boost to grab a ladder up on the second floor through a hole in the floor.
Something grabs her attention, and she takes off in a sprint, Joel chasing after her to find her staring at a giraffe through a hole in the wall. After feeding her for a minute, Ellie chases her through the building to find her again, and Joel finds her staring at a herd of them walking off. He tells her they don’t need to do this, they can just go back to Tommy’s, but she wants to see it through.
They pass through an old Army triage camp set up days after the outbreak. He confesses he tried to kill himself, and that’s how he got the scar on his head and that will time may heal all wounds, it wasn’t time that healed his. While Ellie is telling some of her signature puns, a smoke bomb goes off behind them, stunning them both.
Joel wakes up alone, a Firefly symbol staring him in the face and Marlene greeting him. She’s shocked they made it all the way out here, she barely made it. Joel wants to see Ellie right away, but she’s being prepped for surgery. They’ve figured out why she’s immune and how they can extract the cells from her and make a cure. However, Joel knows Cordyceps grows in the brain, and he puts two and two together pretty quickly. Ellie isn’t going to survive this surgery. It’s sacrifice her for the world.
Joel tells Marlene no, she can’t, she doesn’t understand, but she does, she was there when Ellie was born, she’s the only one who understands. But there’s no other choice. Marlene understands Joel’s threatening tone and tells her men to bring Joel out to the highway and leave him to find his way home and to shoot him if he tries anything.
It’s Joel, so he tries it, and he succeeds, taking out Marlene’s men, and he sets out to find Ellie. He makes easy work of Marlene’s men, all of them, finding Ellie on the sixth floor already prepped for surgery and under anesthesia. In a blind rage, he demands she be unhooked, shooting the doctor with the cure to humanity when he refuses, leaving the nurses in the room no other choice but to comply.
He picks her up and carries her to the parking garage, finding a truck to escape in, but Marlene was expecting him. She reminds him he can’t keep her safe forever, this world is broken, she’ll die brutally eventually. Marlene tries to convince him to do what’s right, save the world, but to Joel Miller, he already has; he’s carrying her.
Joel kills Marlene, he knows he can’t leave her alive, she’ll just come after Ellie.
Back to Jackson
On the ride back to Jackson, Joel lies to Ellie, telling her they knocked her out to run some tests, and it turns out there are dozens of people immune just like her. None of the doctor’s attempts have worked, and they’ve stopped looking for a cure. He tells her raiders attacked the hospital, and they barely escaped, so they’ll need to find her some clothes.
It’s a five-hour hike to Jackson when gas finally runs out. Joel tells Ellie about Sarah as they walk, assuring her Sarah would have loved her. Jackson comes into view, and Ellie stops Joel. She tells him about the first person she killed–Riley after she turned–and Joel tells her that wasn’t her fault. She makes Joel swear that everything he told her about the Fireflies is true. And he does, Ellie seemingly accepting that truth.
Season 2 of The Last of Us has been confirmed with the writers back in the room working on it currently. You can watch the entirety of season 1 on HBO Max.