The notion of the antihero has existed as far back as classic Greek literature, and many authors and English professors credit Huckleberry Finn as the first American antihero. Joel is a quintessential antihero. His past actions have blurred the lines between survival and outright evil. Nonetheless, he is now unconditionally Ellie’s protector and father figure. In “Look for the Light”, the father-daughter duo has finally entered Firefly territory; with the goal being for Ellie to have tests conducted to derive a cure for the virus. Apparently, none of the Firefly reconnaissance teams were not provided a description of the expected travelers, and Ellie and Joel are knocked unconscious by flashbangs.
Joel awakens and Marlene informs him that Ellie is safe but is being prepped for surgery. Marlene is impressed that Joel was able to traverse a western United States filled with infected souls and desperate humans. Joel raises the question “What surgery”? The potential cure will need samples from Ellie’s brain. She will not survive. Knowing Joel’s love for Ellie, Marlene orders him to be detained but not harmed. Joel breaks free and kills a plethora of Firefly soldiers.
This action sequence is a very long segment in the video game. For the tv series, this is the one key element that felt rushed. The entire length of the “Look for the Light”, was 43 minutes and the shortest of the season. Joel reaches the operating room, and fortunately, Ellie has just been put under anesthesia. A doctor exclaims that he will not allow Ellie to be taken. Joel promptly executes the doctor but allows the remaining medical staff to live.
*Anyone who has played the video game or stumbled across spoilers for THE LAST OF US II video game, knows that the death of this doctor will have dire consequences*.
When Ellie awakens, Joel lies to his daughter. Joel states that it turns out many people are immune to the virus and a cure is not likely. Ellie makes him swear he is telling the truth. Joel lies again.
Although slightly rushed, this finale is still phenomenal television. The opening scene is not featured in the video game. It involves a pregnant woman running from an infected being, and she shelters in an abandoned home. The infected breaks in and bites the woman. This woman is Anna, Ellie’s mom. Anna manages to kill the infected. Ellie is born, and Anna refrains from breastfeeding her infant out of fear that her breast milk is contaminated. Anna and baby Ellie are found by two people. One of them is Marlene. Marlene reluctantly executes Anna after promising to care for Ellie. Marlene was executed by Joel before exiting the Firefly hospital. Both loved Ellie. But only one put Ellie before the rest of the world.
Season 2 of THE LAST OF US will follow the second video game, however, the showrunners have said that it may deviate early in the sophomore season. THE LAST OF US Season 1, despite its rushed finale, is prime HBO.