the last of us ellie joel episode 9

The Last of Us ending explained | What happens at the end of season 1?

The final episode of The Last of Us has aired, but we are here to walk you through when season 2 will air and what to expect from it. 

The final episode of The Last of Us season 1 has just aired but worry not. We are here to walk you through what those final moments mean for our characters when season 2 will air and what to expect. 


There is no denying it. The Last of Us season 1 has been a rollercoaster of emotions. The final episode manages to tear our heart out and then fix it, all within its relatively short 40-minute runtime. 

That emotional ending has very long-reaching ramifications for The Last of Us as a franchise, which we will discuss here in detail for your reading pleasure. 

We’re going to dive deep into that ending and what season 2 might entail, so beware of spoilers. 

the last of us episode 9 bella ramsey

Credit: HBO

What happens at the end of season 1 of The Last Of Us? 

Joel and Ellie reach the Fireflies in Salt Lake City. After Joel learns that the Fireflies intend to study and potentially develop a cure from Ellie’s brain, which will kill her, Joel rushes through the hospital to save her. He eviscerates everything and everyone in his way and storms into the operating room before the surgeons cut into Ellie. 

He executes the surgeons and grabs Ellie, running into Marlene, the leader of the Fireflies, on the way out. She tries to reason with him; this is for the greater good. Ellie could be the key to saving humanity, saving the world. But Joel isn’t ready to let go of Ellie. He has already lost his daughter. He can’t lose Ellie too. So he shoots Marlene and drives off with Ellie. 

After Ellie wakes up, she asks what happened. Joel lies, saying a cure wasn’t possible, so they’re going to Tommy’s. Deep down, Ellie knows he’s lying but asks Joel again. He swears he’s telling the truth. The end. 

Will there be a season 2 of The Last of Us? 

Yes, HBO has confirmed a second season is in the works. 

the last of us episode 6

Credit: HBO

While there’s no official word on when the second season would air, lead actor Pedro Pascal, who plays Joel, has hinted filming could start this year. You know what they say about striking while the iron is hot, and in the case of The Last of Us, the iron is very hot at the moment. The series has been critically acclaimed and loved by audiences globally. 

Pascal and Bella Ramsey, who plays Ellie, are both expected to return for the second season. Realistically, it wouldn’t air until at least very late 2024, although even that seems optimistic. 2025 is our best bet for when we’ll see the second season air. 

How many seasons of The Last of Us will there be? 

The showrunners have previously talked about wanting to explore the second game, The Last of Us Part II, over multiple seasons. This would make sense as the second game is even more morally ambiguous. While there’s no official word on how many seasons there will be, we’d expect the second game to be divided into two seasons. 

What will season 2 be about? 

This is your last warning for spoilers. This article section includes spoilers for The Last of Us Part II

Still here? Great!

the last of us episode 5 ellie joel

Credit: HBO

Season 2 will cover the second game, The Last of Us Part II. There are two options; it could cover the entirety of the second game, much like season 1 covered the entire first game, or it could only cover the first part of the second game. 

The Last of Us Part II caused quite a bit of controversy due to its narrative. The game is set 5 years after Joel rescued Ellie from the Fireflies, who wanted to develop a potential cure for the Cordyceps fungus infection by studying Ellie’s brain. This operation would have killed her. They both now live at Tommy’s settlement, but their relationship is restrained due to Ellie’s survivor’s guilt. 

Joel and Tommy encounter a stranger, Abby, whom they rescue but who turns against them and kills Joel in cold blood. Abby is revealed to be the daughter of the lead surgeon whom Joel killed at the hospital in the first game. Ellie witnesses Joel’s brutal death and swears revenge. The first half of the game follows Ellie on her journey to avenge Joel’s death. 

Halfway through the game, time rewinds and the player must control the character of Abby, forcing us to adopt the point of view of the person we detest. It was an incredibly bold and creatively ambitious move from Neil Druckmann and everyone at NaughtyDog. 

the last of us part II

Credit: Playstation

Season two could easily just cover Ellie’s section of the game and do another season for Abby. However, it’s still unsure how showrunner Craig Mazin and Druckmann would handle the jarring shift in perspective in a TV format. 

It’s also very possible they will cram it all into a single season, especially if HBO refuses to promise them multiple seasons. It’s hard to see HBO being reluctant to throw money their way since the show has been such a hit, but times are desperate, I guess. 

How does Joel’s choice at the end of season 1 create the base for season 2? 

It’s ultimately Joel’s choice at the end of season 1 that really fuels everything that happens years later. The end of season one creates such a strong, emotional base for season 2 by not shying away from the moral ambiguity. 

As Marlene stops Joel on his way out, she tries to reason with him. And objectively, she’s right. What Joel has done is incredibly selfish, but we understand his character enough to know where it’s all coming from. 

the last of us pedro pascal episode 9

Credit: HBO

Ellie knows that Joel has done the wrong thing, saving her when she could have provided a cure for everyone, which leaves her feeling guilty. The pair’s once-close relationship has become much more restrained when we meet them again five years later. 

Ellie blows up at Joel, accusing him of lying to her, and this interaction will be their last. Ellie finds Joel just as Abby is about to beat him to death, and she sees the life drain out of her father figure, setting her on a path of revenge. 

What both games do brilliantly is question the characters’ and, by extension, our ethics and morals. The overarching narrative through games and TV shows complicates our understanding of right and wrong and ties it to violence. Ellie has gone from an innocent, lively girl to a hardened survivor who abandons her own moral compass to get revenge. 

We have no concrete way of knowing exactly how season 2 of The Last of Us will go, but we know that we are excited. We can’t wait to reunite with Joel and Ellie in this brutal but beautiful world. 


The Last of Us is streaming on Sky Atlantic now.


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