The Last of Us Episode 9 ends on a pensive note, with Joel and Ellie returning to Jackson after the events at the hospital – but does she know he lied?
In our review, we said it’s “a flawless finale for one of the strongest – if not the strongest – debut seasons in television history; infuriating, horrifying, and poignant in equal measure.”
After reaching the Fireflies hospital, Marlene confesses to Joel that Ellie will undergo fatal surgery to develop a Cordyceps vaccine. He doesn’t like that, not one bit, so he goes on a rampage.
By the end of the episode, Joel and Ellie are hiking back to Jackson to begin the rest of their life, but something is niggling away at her… does she know he’s lying?
Does Ellie know Joel lied in The Last of Us?
The short answer: yes, Ellie knows Joel has lied about what happened with the Fireflies. The longer answer is a bit more complicated.
In the closing sequence of the finale, Joel and Ellie approach Jackson. Joel says he thinks Sarah would have liked her, and Ellie tells him about Riley.
“Sometimes things don’t work out the way we hope. You can feel like you’v come to an end and you don’t know what to do next, but if you just keep going, you find something new to fight for,” he tells her, but Ellie cuts him off. “Swear to me that everything you said about the Fireflies is true,” she says. “I swear,” he replies. With a pensive look on her face, she says: “Okay.”
Her tone isn’t definitive, it’s not said with a smile or comfort – it’s acceptance of Joel, not the lie.
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In an earlier interview with Kotaku, Naughty Dog co-president and the show’s co-creator Neil Druckmann discussed the ending – which is exactly the same in the game – and what Ellie was thinking.
“The original ending was, I guess, much more hopeful. We knew Joel would lie to Ellie, but she believed the lie, 100%. There wasn’t any doubt there, and they would be arriving in Tommy’s town, and you kind of get the idea that everything’s gonna be fine and dandy,” he said.
“But as we got closer and closer to shooting that scene, it stopped feeling honest. And Ellie, over the course of the game, initially you’re just writing and working with such broad strokes. And as you take it deeper, that’s when you really figure out who the character is.
“She had such a good bullshit detector that it didn’t feel like she would buy it. Or at least not buy it so easily. And then the scene kind of grew out of that, that there would be a kind of final challenge.”
The Last of Us Season 1 is available to stream in its entirety now. You can check out the rest of our coverage here.