The Last of Us: Episode Nine - 'Look for the Light' Spoiler Review

The season one finale has come, and while I enjoyed the episode I was sad that we will have to wait at least a year before we see Joel and Ellie again. In my review of episode eight I was dubious that the show could wrap up the story from first game in one episode, but they did me one better they wrapped it up in the shortest episode of the season. The first 2/3 of the episode seemed to be moving at a breakneck pace so that they could end with Joel and Ellie. The flashback at the beginning of the episode caught me totally off guard as we saw Ellie's birth which kind of explained why she was immune. We meet Ellie's mother Anna (played by Ellie voice actor from the games Ashley Johnson), and she is on the run from infected while about to give birth. The scene is terrifying given Anna's state, and even worse when we realize that she got bit while fending off the infected. Ana's death was very sad because for a quick minute we could see how much she loved Ellie, and knowing Ellie now we know if she knew that it would have made a huge difference in her life. The finale was not the best episode of the season, but it was a strong episode to end on, though the shorter run time made me wish we got a longer episode. 

While we know we will be seeing Ellie and Joel again, we have no idea when that will be since the filming of season two has not begun yet. I really hope that upon further watches more people become aware of just how good of a series The Last of Us is. The season had nine episodes and none of them are unwatchable; there is something to appreciate in every single episode which is why I feel that this season was incredibly strong. The episode had Ellie still reeling from her encounter with David in episode eight, but just as soon as she starts to be her old self again the Fireflies arrive and Joel never sees her again. When Joel wakes up with Marlene, I knew at that point why he was going to go crazy. Joel was not prepared to lose Ellie, and especially without getting to say goodbye or Ellie knowing what was going to happen to her. Joel felt betrayed by Marlene who had lied to him about what Ellie's ultimate fate was going to be. I understand why Joel snapped, but I think the show was going to have a hard time giving making the ending special since the game had done it first. The ending felt anti-climatic as if you played the game or watched the cutscenes you knew everything that was coming and the show did not deviate from the source material.  


The finale begins with a flashback to a pregnant woman (played by Ashley Johnson) being chased through a forest by an infected. The woman makes it to a house that she is expecting to be occupied, but nobody is there so she locks the door and runs upstairs. The woman is going into labor, so she puts a chair in front of the door and takes out a switchblade knife. The infected breaks through the barricaded door and attacks the woman who stabs the infected to death with the switchblade. The woman gave birth while being attacked, but she also got bit in the thigh so she cuts the umbilical cord as soon as she can. The woman holds the crying newborn, and she names the baby Ellie while she holds her baby. The rest of the crew return to the house, including Marlene (played by Merle Dandridge) where they find the woman singing to the baby. The woman is named Anna, and she knows Marlene. Anna knows she does not have long so she gives Ellie and the switchblade to Marlene and asks that Marlene take care of Ellie. Anna lies and tells Marlene that she cut the umbilical cord before getting bit. Anna asks for one more favor, she wants Marlene to kill her before she turns; Marlene refuses at first but then she obliges. 

In the present, we see Ellie looking lost in thought while her and Joel are searching a motorhome for supplies. Joel is trying to engage Ellie in conversation, but Ellie only responds in short sentences. Joel talks about finding a guitar, and that he would want to teach Ellie how to play. Ellie and Joel make their way inside a building to climb to the top so they can look around. As Ellie gets a boost to the second floor she gets distracted and drops the ladder she was giving to Joel. Ellie runs off, so Joel chases after where they see a herd of giraffe grazing. Joel gives Ellie some grass and branches with leaves to feed the giraffe which she does. Joel asks Ellie if she wants to move forward or go back to Tommy, but Ellie says they have to keep going or everything they have lost would be for nothing. Joel agrees with Ellie, and sensing that she is struggling with what happened with David Joel shares that the scar on his head is from him trying to kill himself after he lost Sarah. As they are walking through a medical triage area a group of people sneak up on them, throw a flashbang grenade then knock out Joel. 

Joel wakes up in the hospital with Marlene standing over him, she thanks him for bringing Ellie all of the way. Joel asks to see Ellie, but he is denied because Marlene says she is being prepped for surgery. Marlene explains that the surgery will result in Ellie's death, but that the cure will save the world. Joel gets angry that Marlene lied to them, but she says she knows that it isn't right or fair, but it is necessary. Marlene tells her men to escort Joel to the highway than give him his pack and Ellie's switchblade. As the men are walking Joel down the stairwell he attacks them killing the two guards. We then see a chilling montage of Joel killing his way through the hospital until he gets to Ellie. Ellie is unconscious on a bed, the doctor refuses to let Joel take her so Joel kills the doctor too. Joel takes Ellie in his arms and carries her to the parking garage where Marlene is waiting for them. Marlene pleads with Joel to put Ellie down and walk away. 

We cut to Joel driving with Ellie in the backseat, as she come to Joel explains that the Fireflies ran some tests on her. Joel tells Ellie that there are a bunch of people who are immune like Ellie, but they can't seem to make a cure. Joel says raiders attacked the hospital, and that he barely got away with Ellie. Ellie asks if Marlene is okay and we see that Joel shot and killed Marlene before escaping with Ellie. Joel and Ellie are walking the rest of the way to Tommy's and Joel is talking a lot more about Sarah and how Ellie and her would have been friends. Ellie then tells Joel about what happened with her and Riley, she said that when Riley turned she had to kill her. Ellie asks that Joel swear to her that everything he said about the Fireflies was true which Joel does and Ellie utters "okay" as the episode and the season come to a close.


I think The Last of Us had a magnificent first season that gave fans nine great episodes, while also managing to make us laugh, scream and cry. Pedro Pascal was the perfect choice to play Joel as after watching a few cut scenes of Joel I really do see Pascal as Joel now. I also believe that Bella Ramsey is the perfect choice for Ellie, and while some fans do not appreciate her I am going to give her the adulation that she deserves. The finale gave us an opening scene that was both terrifying and heartbreaking as Anna was a very likeable character in such a short time. Marlene's second appearance of the season was disappointing as she went from loyal friend of Anna to a betrayer of that friendship. While I understand the reason behind sacrificing Ellie, I also know that Ellie deserved better from someone who was there at her birth. Seeing Ellie's backstory gave us more insight into who she is, and why we are cheering for her. The expectation of a time jump in season two opens the possibility that we will not see it for a couple of years. The final two episodes were very traumatic for both Joel and Ellie as both were forced to do bad things. In the finale we watch as Joel kills a hospital full of Fireflies to save Ellie, and we can see it weighs on him by the end of the episode. While I think most would sympathize with Joel doing what he did, I do think it makes a point to let the audience know that what Joel did was not the right thing. 

While the only infected that appeared in the finale was in the flashback to Ellie's birth, it was an effective scene. One of the criticisms of the season was the lack of infected we saw in the season. When we did see the infected it was always an effective use, but now that we are at the end of the season we are left wanting more. The season was very character driven over action and thrills. If fans were thinking this was going to be an action based or horror based series than they were wrong. I was surprised at how little action/horror we got, but because I liked the series as much as I did than the creators instinct was correct. I think I heard that they have promised more infected in season two, and I am all for it. If the second season of the show follows the second game I think we can be sure that the show will give us a second great season. We live in an age where there is always something to watch because of streaming services, and HBO continues to set itself apart with its more mature focused content. There is a world where The Last of Us is adapted into an entertaining show that focuses more on humor and action, but I am sure that show would not be up to the standard of the HBO series. While I am already feeling impatient for the second season, it is good to know it is happening, and that the focus of the team behind the show is delivering quality. 

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey embodied the characters of Joel and Ellie, and I was already a fan of what they have done before, but now I am a super fan of theirs. The performances that they both give throughout the season were amazing, but I am sure come awards time they will be supplanted by more traditional shows actors. While watching the show it occurred to me that I was never taken out of an episode because of the set design, and in this day and age of digital animation I am surprised by that. The production quality of the series was amazing, and I liked how they used real locations that were made to look post-apocalyptic. The work done by everyone involved with the show deserves an applause because I think this might have been one of the best seasons of television ever. I am trying to compare The Last of Us to other shows, but when I think of The Last of Us I feel we got as close to a perfect season as we could have hoped for.  The second season I am sure will continue with the same high standards as long as the team behind season one stay in control. I felt that season one of Andor was also an incredibly well made series that delivered a lot of high quality entertainment. 

I am going to rate episode nine a 9/10 for expertly wrapping up the season, but also laying the groundwork for what will come next. I am going to give the season as a whole a 9/10 as the only complaint I had was that there should have been more infected throughout the season. The relationship between Joel and Ellie was everything that fans of the game could have hoped for. The series found the perfect actor for the roles while also telling both heartwarming and heartbreaking stories throughout the nine episodes. The tension set up between Ellie and Joel at the end of the finale sets up the second season in a wonderful way. Joel did not want Ellie to know the truth about what he did at the hospital, Joel was selfish in his decision to take Ellie as he did not give her a choice. Marlene was correct in assuming that Ellie would have sacrificed herself, but she couldn't leave anything to chance. I think had she known all of Joel's past, and the bond formed between Joel and Ellie I think she might have kept Joel locked up or outright killed him. Joel's selfish decision was made out of love, and a fear of more loss so as the audience we can empathize with Joel refusing to lose Ellie. The emotional stakes of the characters in the show is something that has been a strength of the game, but the show has been able to spend more time so as to add even more depth. The Bill and Frank episode is an example of using side characters in a way that deepens the world while also telling a self-contained story. The Kansas City episodes told the story of Henry and Sam which was the first time Joel looked vulnerable. The cannibal episode exposed Ellie to the dangers of humans relative to the infected. A truly amazing season, that was entertaining, heartwarming and devastating while honoring the material it was based on. I highly recommend The Last of Us to any adults looking for a new show to binge now that the entire season is available. 

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