So this is my third post about The Last of Us. You see, much as the fungus which affects the game’s whole setting and drives the plot forward, the game has infected my brain. I now spend a lot of time thinking about it when I am not cannibalizing other humans or rolling around Pittsburgh in a Humvee. If you didn’t get that second one, it’s probably a good time to mention that there are spoilers in this post. Though, honestly, if you are a PS3 gamer and you haven’t played this, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.
Before I get to the golden egg hidden at the end of this post, let me recap you a bit.The Last of Us tells the story of an aging smuggler, Joel, in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and the fourteen year old girl, Ellie, who is somehow immune to the cordyceps fungus-based infection. As he transports her across the country so that she can be used to develop a cure for the disease, they become quite close, putting their lives in one another’s hands. In fact, they become so close that she acts as a surrogate for Sarah, the daughter Joel lost twenty years prior at the start of the whole cataclysm (she’s the one at the top of the picture above). They stick by one another in a remarkable fashion, and by the end of the game Ellie has walked through fire to save Joel, distinguishing herself as a badass in her own right (and killing, like, thirty men).
At the end of the game, it becomes apparent that they will have to remove Ellie’s brain to create a vaccine for the cordyceps fungus. She has to die, which is awful, but to put it in perspective, the game lets us know that sixty percent of the planet has died or been infected and that this could be humanity’s only hope of moving forward from that.
Joel kills dozens of people, including Marlene, the leader of the Fireflies, the rebel group that hopes to develop this vaccine, as well as the woman who raised Ellie in her mother’s stead and the doctors who were to operate on Ellie. He carries her out of the hospital in his arms and sometime later, when she wakes from sedation, he tells her that it turns out she’s not unique, and that there was no cure. He lies to her twice in this regard. It’s pretty heartwrenching, actually. If you’re pressed for time, you can start at 4:40.
He lies to her and dooms the world to its fate, because he just could not bear to lose another daughter. The ending is brilliant. It’s unsatisfying; it leaves the player with a gnawing feeling and all sorts of questions, e.g., what happens to the rest of the world? Does Joel tell Tommy (his brother) about his deception? What is the fate of the Fireflies? I’m left with the sense that for all his swearing, Ellie doesn’t believe Joel’s version of events and has chosen to accept it because it’s all she has. Joel’s version is good enough for the end of the world. Anyway, without further ado, your golden egg. This is how The Last of Us could have ended:
If that’s not enough for you, you’ll be excited to know that there will be lots more DLC upcoming for The Last of Us, including new story-based DLC, a new character, and something about #outbreakday. Get psyched.
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Have you played Left Behind, or read the prequel comic? Just asking, because it’s clarified there that Marlene kept tabs on Ellie, but didn’t raise her. They met a year before the game
You’re right. I’ll make that correction. I did play Left Behind, a week after it came out, but that was some months after I wrote this post, and I didn’t read the American Dreams miniseries until December of 2013.
You can read those posts here: https://ladygeekgirl.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/one-more-post-about-the-last-of-us-muahaha-sort-of/
Thanks for heads-up, Joe.
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