The Last Of Us' Bella Ramsey Explains What Ellie Is Thinking As Season 1 Finale's Shocking Finale Ends

Ellie outside in The Last of Us finale
(Image credit: HBO)

Major spoilers below for The Last of Us’s finale, so be warned if you haven’t yet watched it in full!

For all the bloody, tense, and harrowing mayhem that takes place throughout the first season of HBO’s The Last of Us, it’s arguably the final moments where the most brutal blow lands. At least emotionally speaking. For it’s here where Joel takes the intricate and complex bond he’s formed with Ellie, and he drives a spike right into its heart by lying multiple times about what actually took place within the hospital where she was meant to cure the world. (Albeit through the ultimate sacrifice.) And it’d be one thing if she actually believed him, but it’s clear that the teen survivor understands that something fucked up went down, and that Joel is shielding it from her. Which will no doubt inform what their relationship is like once Season 2 comes around. 

Before that happens, though, star Bella Ramsey talked about what’s going through Ellie’s mind in those final moments of the finale, and why she doesn’t challenge Joel on his claims. Here’s how she put it in HBO’s Inside The Last of Us segment:

She knows deep down that he's not telling the truth, but she can't let herself believe it. Because it's too painful, and it's too scary, the idea that her only purpose in life hasn't been fulfilled. That that had been taken away from her by the person that she loves and trusts the most is too overwhelming. So she forces herself to believe Joel.

What a soul-crushing feeling for a teenager to have to deal with in the post-apocalypse, to know that one of the only people she’s truly given herself over to is now comfortable with lying to her without pause. Especially since Joel is fully aware of her fractured life up to this point, and should be aware of how important it is to keep her trust intact.

But that’s not what Pedro Pascal’s character is thinking about in the moments when Ellie brings it up. Perhaps justifiably, he automatically wants to keep her from learning about how many people he flat-out slaughtered in order to save her from a life-ending surgery. He may be mentally condoning it by the fact that the Firefly doctors also lied to Ellie about what they were planning to do with her. But that doesn’t make it right, obviously, for him to keep that sordid massacre from her.

Because in many ways, she’s not the same Ellie that he was first tasked with keeping safe, and doesn’t necessarily require the same amount of emotional distance from the truth. Everything she went through with David’s group, from being attacked to the fear of being raped (and possibly eaten), has evolved her into a more jaded person, though one who can still tap into innocence and happiness, as evidenced by the giraffe scene pulled straight from the video game.

But while she’s progressing as a mover and shaker in the world at large, Joel has only regressed in ways. While he may clearly be capable of embracing any ethical or moral quandary in the name of keeping Ellie safe, he’s given her more reason than ever to look out for herself, now that she knows he can’t be fully trusted. 

On the one hand, he did share his heartbreaking story about his head wound stemming from a failed suicide attempt, and he revealed to Ellie that she was the reason why he finally started moving beyond his grief over losing his daughter Sarah. But immediately undercutting those admissions by keeping the hospital events from her didn’t help his case in the slightest.

One of the biggest questions viewers now have is whether or not Joel will actually fess up to Ellie whenever the show returns to HBO for Season 2, or whether she’ll find out anything about it. Bella Ramsey did seem to hint that Ellie will indeed learn about Joel’s malicious transgressions in the future, telling Vanity Fair

When she finds out that he lied to her, that shift is going to be super interesting.

While Ramsey may not know exactly what's happening yet, the Last of Us star is likely familiar with where things go next in the video game series, and is using that as a launch pad. Though co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann likely gave her some kind of prompt for where they'd like Season 2 to start off.

While waiting for Season 2 to kick off its production hopfully later this year, check out all the other big shows heading to the small screen with our 2023 TV premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.