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The Last Of Us Part 1 Finale: How One Crucial Death Sets Up Season 2

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

HBO's faithful adaptation of "The Last of Us" left us breathless with a gritty finale that proves just how far Joel (Pedro Pascal) is willing to go for Ellie (Bella Ramsey). He tries to cheer her up after her traumatic encounter with David (Scott Shepherd) but ends up doing far more harm than good once they finally reach the Firefly base.

Ellie's immunity to the Cordyceps fungal infection is the driving force of the show's gripping narrative. Her unique condition is a small glimmer of hope in the bleak and dark world, represented by the rebelling Fireflies. In the finale, we reunite with the group's leader, Marlene (Merle Dandridge, reprising her video game role), who tells Joel that Ellie must die in order for them to produce a possible cure, sending him into a blind fury that descends into an unforgiving, violent rampage.

As in the video game, Joel mercilessly executes the entire Firefly base to save Ellie, even killing Marlene to prevent her from seeking out Ellie later. Showrunner Craig Mazin wants viewers to be affected by the deaths of even minor characters on "The Last of Us," but among the countless fallen bodies, one stands out to gamers the most and even subtly tees up the next harrowing season.

Joel sealed his own fate when he killed the surgeon

Contains spoilers for the video game "The Last of Us Part II," from which Season 2 of the HBO series will be adapted

Joel's execution of the surgeon (Darren Dolynski) is a seemingly small moment in the narrative, but he's actually a major character in "The Last of Us Part II" and is intentionally positioned as an obstacle between Joel and Ellie in order to facilitate that. In fact, the game even has a designed mechanic that forces you to take his life, making the event completely inevitable as a major story point.

This small detail is important because of the bloody tale of revenge awaiting us in "The Last of Us Part II," where we learn who this notable figure is: Gerald "Jerry" Anderson, the doctor leading the Fireflies' mission to develop a cure and the only person capable of doing so. He also has a daughter named Abby, who vows to exact revenge for Joel's vicious crime. Abby spends the next four years seeking to kill Joel, placing a looming threat over Season 2, even if we don't immediately realize it.