Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

TLOU Episode 9: The Gifts From Ellie's Mom Have An Even Deeper Meaning

Contains spoilers for "The Last of Us" Season 1, Episode 9 — "Look for the Light"

The Season 1 finale of "The Last of Us" ends with a rousing bang that viewers surely won't be forgetting anytime soon. Joel (Pedro Pascal) goes to extreme lengths to save Ellie (Bella Ramsey) from the Fireflies, though he may have further doomed humanity in the process. The riveting episode even features special guest star Ashley Johnson as Anna Williams, Ellie's mother, who gives her a couple of meaningful gifts in the opening.

Even if Johnson's name doesn't sound familiar, her voice at the beginning of the episode may ring a bell to gamers. In the video game, Ashley Johnson both voices and does the motion capture for Ellie. The television series pays homage to her unforgettable performance with this memorable role and the significance her motherly status possesses. The scene even teases the origin of Ellie's immunity in a striking sequence with a terrifying and ravenous member of the Infected.

The heartbreaking cold open in "Look for the Light" expands on the video game by introducing Ellie's mom and the connection she has to Marlene (Merle Dandridge). Sadly, Anna is bit by the Infected while giving birth to Ellie, resulting in Marlene's mercy killing her. Before her untimely demise, however, she gifts Ellie with two iconic props for her character, an act that actually holds a much deeper meaning.

Ashley Johnson is passing the Ellie torch to Bella Ramsey with these gifts

Gamers will surely feel a sudden rush of euphoric nostalgia during the cold open of "Look for the Light." Anna is running through the woods with a recognizable tone of exasperation, wearing a notable green jacket that will definitely look familiar. Later, when she brutally stabs the Infected, she desperately uses a switchblade we've unmistakably seen somewhere before.

Anna begs Marlene to kill her before she succumbs to the fungus, to which Marlene begrudgingly obliges. Before this gut-wrenching sequence, however, she wraps baby Ellie in her green military jacket and places the switchblade on top. We see Ellie use both of these items as tools of survival to honor both her mother, Anna, and Ashley Johnson's legacy as Ellie.

By having Johnson play Ellie's mother, the series is also giving us a powerful exchange with the original actor passing the Ellie torch to Bella Ramsey. This elevates the tearful scene even more with a touching and unexpected tribute, one of many differences between the show and the game.