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What Happens To Joel & Ellie After The Last Of Us Season 1 Finale

Warning! This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 9 and The Last of Us Part II.The Last of Us season 1, episode 9 leaves Joel and Ellie’s story off on an emotionally satisfying yet morally questionable note, begging the question of what happens to the central duo in the future. With The Last of Us episode 9 finally delivering on the premiere episode’s promise of having Joel and Ellie reach the Fireflies, all looked well for producing a cure for Cordyceps and fulfilling the central mission. However, when Marlene revealed that Ellie would have to die for the potential cure to be created, The Last of Us season 1’s ending took its first major twist.


Having dealt with the severe trauma of Sarah’s death before Ellie became a second daughter to him, Joel could not bear the pain of losing another child. So, in retaliation, Joel makes the selfish yet completely understandable decision to kill the Fireflies and save Ellie’s life. The Last of Us ends with Joel lying to Ellie about what happened before the duo returns to Jackson to live out their days with Joel’s brother Tommy, but what happens next?

Related: The Last Of Us Episode 8’s Violence Sets Up Ellie’s Season 2 Change

Joel And Ellie Return To Jackson In The Last Of Us

Riding into the city of Jackson in The Last of Us

Warning! This article contains major spoilers for The Last of Us Part II from this point forward.With the final scene of The Last of Us episode 9 taking place on a hill overlooking Jackson, it is safe to say that Joel and Ellie return to Tommy’s newfound home. If The Last of Us season 2 follows the events of The Last of Us Part II closely, the season should open with Joel telling Tommy the truth about what happened at the hospital. Knowing more than anyone what Joel has been through, Tommy says that he cannot say he would have done any different and will take Joel’s secret to his grave if he has to.

This then leads into a scene in which Joel — played by Pedro Pascal in HBO’s Last of Us — sings a song to Ellie on his guitar before giving it to Ellie. The scene sets up Joel and Ellie’s relationship in The Last of Us Part II, with Ellie’s distant attitude after the events at the hospital, and lays the groundwork for the entire emotional throughline of the sequel. This is followed by a five-year time jump, in which Ellie and Joel are settled in their lives at Jackson.

Joel And Ellie’s Relationship Becomes Strained After Last Of Us Season 1

Joel and Ellie looking worried in conversation in The Last of Us Episode 9

With The Last of Us season 2 likely following the storyline mentioned above, it will also likely include the five-year time jump and the effects such time has had on Joel and Ellie’s relationship. Once the story jumps forward, Joel and Ellie’s relationship is shown as estranged at best. They still live together in Jackson, but Ellie — Bella Ramsey in HBO’s adaptation — is much more emotionally distant, cold, and harsh towards Joel for reasons that are not revealed until later in The Last of Us Part II’s story. It is revealed that Ellie’s distrust of Joel’s lie at the end of The Last of Us led to her discovering the truth.

Due to Joel taking Ellie’s choice of making a cure away from her, Ellie begins to resent Joel, only worsened by her survivor’s guilt. This is shown throughout the first few hours of The Last of Us Part II and will likely serve as the basis for the premiere episode of The Last of Us season 2. Similarly, some of the other major events from the beginning of the second game will be shown in the first couple of episodes of season 2 of HBO’s TV video game adaptation.

Related: The Last Of Us’ Episode 7 Riley Twist Sets Up Ellie’s Season 2 Downfall

Joel Is Killed Five Years After The Last Of Us Season 1

Joel from Last of Us episode 1 and Abby from The Last of Us Part II

When on patrol after the time jump in The Last of Us Part II, Joel and Tommy encounter a group of survivors led by a woman named Abby. Abby is revealed to be the daughter of the surgeon at the end of The Last of Us that Joel killed, who is seeking revenge against him. The group she is accompanied by comprises various former Fireflies, whose lives were upended by Joel’s murderous rampage. Joel is then captured, interrogated, and beaten to death by Abby with a golf club as Ellie watches on in horror.

Ellie Vows Revenge Against Joel’s Last Of Us Killers

ellie and abby in the last of us 2

The event of Joel’s death kickstarts the entire story of The Last of Us Part II, in which Ellie and Tommy seek revenge against Joel’s murderers. This takes Ellie and Tommy and the former’s girlfriend Dina from The Last of Us Part II to Seattle to search for Abby. This starts a harrowing journey of revenge and takes Ellie to violent depths she has never reached before. The entire theme of The Last of Us Part II is about how the cycle of revenge can infect the world and its civilians in ways other than the Cordyceps infection did, something that will undoubtedly be explored in The Last of Us season 2.

More: Joel’s Brutal Kill In The Last Of Us Episode 8 Is Dark Season 2 Foreshadowing

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