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What's The Song At The End Of The Last Of Us Episode 1?

This article contains spoilers for "The Last of Us" Episode 1. 

After years of anticipation, an adaptation of "The Last of Us" is finally out. Based on the PlayStation 3 video game of the same name, a live-action take on the best-seller has been in the works since the title hit store shelves in 2013. Originally meant to be a feature film with "Evil Dead" and "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi as producer, the zombie apocalypse drama fell into development hell. Neil Druckmann, creative director and cowriter behind the game, revealed to the New Yorker that the big screen take on the project failed to move forward at Screen Gems due to executives demanding a bigger and "sexier" scope.

Realizing that it would be difficult to condense the 15 or so hour-long game into a two-hour film, Druckmann began to consider "The Last of Us" as a project fit for the small-screen. After meeting with "Chernobyl" creator Craig Mazin, Druckmann and PlayStation decided to launch the show on HBO. The series, which both Mazin and Druckmann spearhead, closely follows the PlayStation 3 game. In the series, gruff smuggler Joel (Pedro Pascal) is tasked with transporting the young Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across a zombie-riddled, post-apocalyptic America. Their journey sees them facing off against the undead, making unlikely allies, and hopefully learning to trust one another.

With the debut episode of HBO's "The Last of Us" now out, viewers finally know the strenuous dynamic between Joel and Ellie, which will continue to evolve as they make their way towards the Fireflies encampment. While the duo's journey ahead is filled with uncertainty, the pilot of "The Last of Us" ends with an infectious new wave song that hints at their relationship and dynamic, as well as the confirmation of danger.

Depeche Mode's Never Let Me Down Again wraps up the debut The Last of Us episode

The near 90-minute debut episode of "The Last of Us" ends with Joel (Pascal), Ellie (Ramsey), and Tess (Anna Torv) leaving the FEDRA-controlled Boston quarantine zone, only to be stopped by the guard seen buying drugs earlier in the episode. As the guard checks their infection status outside of the zone's wall, Ellie lunges at him, which compels Joel to violently beat him. Moments later, it's revealed that Ellie is infected, though she suggests she's immune to the cordyceps virus as she was bitten weeks ago. As other guards begin to arrive, the trio decide to run into the destroyed and unmonitored city.

The episode then cuts to Joel's safe house, where his radio begins to play Depeche Mode's "Never Let Me Down Again," wrapping up the episode. "Never Let Me Down Again" was released in 1987 as a single for Depeche Mode's sixth album "Music for the Masses." The Grammy-nominated English new wave band were prominent throughout the '80s, responsible for delivering seminal tracks like "Enjoy the Silence" and "Personal Jesus." At first listen, "Never Let Me Down Again" appears to be an ironic and upbeat track that ends the episode on a relative poignant note. Dig deeper and it becomes apparent that the Depeche Mode song is integral to the plot and hints at how Joel and Ellie's relationship could play out.

The significance of Never Let Me Down Again

As Ellie (Ramsey) sifts through Joel's (Pascal) safehouse in the QZ, she comes across a note which reveals that songs played on his radio from a specific decade hold a special code or message. Ellie learns that a song from the '80s signal that the person on the other end is in danger. Earlier in the episode, Joel expresses concern for his younger brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna), who he hasn't spoken to recently. The '80s track being sent out all but confirms that the sender is in grave danger, with Joel no longer there to respond.

"Never Let Me Down Again," on the surface, is a song about friendship and dependency. "I'm taking a ride with my best friend / I hope he never lets me down again / He knows where he's taking me / Taking me where I want to be," are lyrics that reflect the relationship between Joel and Ellie, as the former is contracted to smuggle the latter out of the city, towards a Firefly encampment. While it remains to be seen how Joel and Ellie's relationship unravels, marketing suggests that the two will bond and learn to become friends as the series continues.

"I hope he never lets me down," is also a lyric that implies Joel has let Tommy down in the past, or vice-versa. While it's clear that Joel cares for Tommy, there is contention between the two brothers.

As "The Last of Us" continues to release weekly episodes on HBO, only time will tell how Joel and Ellie's relationship unravels, and if Tommy will be saved by his older brother.