The Last of Us creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann comment on whether Ellie believes Joel at the end of the finale, and the answer is a little complicated. After spending much of season 1 trekking across a post-apocalyptic version of the U.S., Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) finally reach the Fireflies in Sunday’s finale. After realizing that using Ellie to create a cure would kill her in the process, Joel goes on a rampage through the Firefly hospital, killing everyone who gets in his way and later lying about it when Ellie wakes up.
In the most recent episode of The Last of Us Podcast, as shared by Collider, Mazin and Druckmann address whether Ellie actually believes what Joel says before the credits start to roll. While the creators offer several different interpretations of what Ellie is actually thinking at the end of The Last of Us‘ finale, both agree and make clear that she definitely knows he’s lying to her. Check out Mazin and Druckmann’s full comment below:
Mazin: “I’m not sure if Ellie is saying you’re lying to me and I’ll move on, or you’re lying and we’re now changed forever in a negative way, or you’re lying and it’s incredibly important to you, and because I love you I won’t dwell on it.
Or is she so terrified of the truth that she wants to believe him, because the alternative is so terrifying. It can be any of those things, and that’s why I love it. There was never an option of her believing it. She will simply choose to believe it, and the why will come later.”
Druckmann: “Ellie didn’t know beforehand what would happen to her at the hospital, but when she knows Joel has lied, she’s able to figure out what would have happened to her. She’s a smart girl. I agree with each interpretation, and she’s going through every one in her head – but at no point do we ever feel she believes the lie. That is not on the table, she’s already doing the math asking why Joel would possibly do all of this and the only reason could be because I was going to die.”
What Joel’s Lie Could Mean For The Last Of Us Season 2
Looking only at the show without delving into the Naughty Dog source material, Joel’s lie already has the makings of a big conflict with Ellie in The Last of Us season 2 (which HBO has already given the green light). It seems inevitable that, eventually, Joel will either tell Ellie the truth or she’ll find out for herself what really happened back at the Firefly hospital. If and when Ellie does find out the truth, her newfound bond with Joel could come under major strain.
While Joel’s killing of Marlene (Merle Dandridge) and all the Fireflies is sure to be a significant source of conflict, his decision also, crucially, takes away Ellie’s agency. Ellie isn’t aware going into the procedure that it will kill her and, instead of letting her decide for herself whether she wants to sacrifice herself for the greater good, Joel makes this decision for her. It’s entirely possible that, had she known the truth, she would have elected to undergo the procedure anyway.
After spending much of The Last of Us season 1 bonding and enduring great traumas, Joel’s actions could create a rift between them once more. That being said, Joel’s reasons for saving Ellie are noble, and he’s clearly still suffering from the loss of his daughter, meaning Ellie could at least understand where he was coming from. Unfortunately, The Last of Us season 2 hasn’t even started filming yet, meaning it will be quite a while before audiences find out what’s next for Joel and Ellie.
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Source: The Last Of Us Podcast (via Collider)