How does Marlene die in The Last of Us game?

Marlene in The Last of UsHBO

In The Last of Us Episode 9, Joel and Ellie reunite with Marlene at the Fireflies hospital, but things quickly go haywire – but how does she die in the game, and is it the same in the show?

Marlene, the formidable leader of the Fireflies, was introduced in the opening episode of The Last of Us. She quickly wins over Ellie, and reveals she was responsible for putting her into FEDRA school.

While she was supposed to take Ellie to the hospital, she was shot in a skirmish and asked Joel and Tess to help her. Episode 9 marks the first time we’ve seen her since, standing beside Joel when he wakes up in the hospital.

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As we know – if you didn’t, why are you here? – Joel takes issue with Marlene’s plans for Ellie and carries out a bloody rescue mission. So, here’s what happens to her in the show and game.

Spoilers for The Last of Us to follow…

How does Marlene die in The Last of Us show?

Marlene is shot and killed by Joel after he rescues Ellie from the Fireflies hospital.

After Joel slaughters nearly everyone in the hospital, Marlene confronts him as he exits the elevator with Ellie. “You can’t keep her safe forever. No matter how hard you try, no matter how many people you kill, she’s gonna grow up Joel. Then you’ll die, or she’ll leave, then what? How long til she’s torn apart by infected or murdered by raiders because she lives in a broken world you could have saved?” she says.

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“Maybe, but it isn’t for you to decide,” he responds. “Or you,” she says, urging him to do the right thing. She even tells him they can still work something out, despite his murderous actions, but he shoots her anyway.

We then see Marlene’s final moments, and her asking Joel to let her live. “You’d just come after her,” he coldly says, before putting her down. 

How does Marlene die in The Last of Us game?

Marlene dies in the exact same way: she tries to convince Joel not to leave with Ellie, and just as she lowers her gun, he kills her.

Just like the show’s finale – although even more action-packed – Joel narrowly makes it to the elevator with Ellie and faces off with Marlene in the car park. “You can’t save her. Even if you get out of here, then what? How long before she’s torn to pieces by a pack of clickers? That is if she hasn’t been raped and murdered first,” she tells him.

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“That ain’t for you to decide,” he says. “It’s what she’d want. And you know it. You can still do the right thing here. She won’t feel anything,” she tells him as she moves her gun away. The scene briefly cuts ahead to Joel and Ellie, before flashing back to see him shoot her with a concealed handgun.

As he’s about to get in the car, he hears Marlene grunting in pain. “Wait! Let me go. Please,” she begs, but he says: “You’d just come after her,” and puts a bullet in her head.

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The Last of Us Season 1 is available to stream in its entirety now. You can check out the rest of our coverage here.