The Last of Us Star Defends Controversial Finale Decision

By Klein Felt Posted:
The Last of Us, Bella Ramsey as Ellie, Pedro Pascal as Joel

HBO's The Last of Us leading star Bella Ramsey revealed her thoughts on the series' controversial Season 1 finale. 

Ramsey just rounded out her first go-round as Ellie Williams in the HBO adaptation of PlayStation's hit video game franchise, introducing the series' iconic twists and turns to a whole new audience. 

While things are only likely to get even more divisive as the show heads into its eventual Season 2, the young star was clear that the events of the Season 1 finale would "massively" shock and divide fans

This was the case, as (just like it happens in the game) Pedro Pascal's Joel lied to Ramsey's Ellie after brutally murdering the Firefly scientists who were going to attempt to extract a cure from Ramsey's young hero, potentially killing her in the process. 

Bella Ramsey on The Last of Us Finale

Ellie, Bella Ramsey, The Last of Us

With some distance between her and The Last of Us Season 1 finale, series star Bella Ramsey addressed Joel's controversial decision seen in the closing moments of the season. 

Answering a fan-submitted question with Vanity Fair, Ramsey noted that "the immunity is definitely one of the things that makes [her character] special," but the crux of the story is the fact that Ellie herself is special despite her immunity:

“So I think this is basically like the underlying story of the whole thing. The immunity is definitely one of the things that makes us special, but like fucking Ellie is also what makes us special. I think like she delved beneath the surface level meaning."

Joel, Ellie, The Last of Us

They added that they "think Joel made the right decision" in saving and lying to Ellie in the finale:

"I think like she delved beneath the surface level meaning. I mean don’t ask me if Joel made the right decision. I mean I think Joel made the right decision. And I think most people agree. From like the reaction to the series as well, more people are like ‘he definitely made the right decision.’"

The 19-year-old opined that they "don’t think it was even a choice," remarking that Joel "did save the world, but like his world:"

"I don’t think it was even a choice. I don’t think it was a decision for him. There was no other option other than to save her. Because he didn’t…He did save the world, but like his world. That’s so cringy.”

Joel, Pedro Pascal, The Last of Us

Ramsey also addressed the subject of the doctors that were set to operate on her young hero in the series, joking that "no one’s really been in formal education for awhile" and they were just going to "chop out her brain" no questions asked:

“That’s true! I mean no one’s really been in formal education for awhile. The world was destroyed 20 years ago, and they are just going to chop out her brain and not even think about the fact that maybe you could chop out and save humanity and save Ellie. Like, why didn’t they think of that? Maybe they just really hate me.”

The Last of Us' Big Question

Ever since The Last of Us was first released on PlayStation 3 in 2013, fans have been having this very same debate. Only now, it bubbled to the surface yet again as the franchise is introduced to television audiences around the world. 

And that is sort of the point of the Season 1/Part I ending. It is supposed to provoke discussion. As star of both the Last of Us games and TV series, Troy Baker, once said, "Love it or hate it — if you have an opinion on it, then we did our job."

It is meant to make viewers think. Sure, they can see why Joel would do such a thing, potentially dooming humanity to save his own, but they don't like it. 

That is the thematic crux of this franchise as a whole: 'How far will someone go to save the thing they care for?'

And while Season 1 looks at this question from a point of love, with Joel saving Ellie, that coin will flip with Season 2, looking at the same question through the lens of hate

Season 1 of The Last of Us is available to stream now on HBO Max. 

- In This Article: The Last of Us
Release Date
January 15, 2023
- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.