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The Life and Mind of DamnBlackHeart
This is to help me stay actively writing. So expect to see rants, tips on writing, thoughts on subjects, me complaining of boredom, reviews, anime, movies, video games, conventions, tv shows and whatever life throws at me.
The Last of Us - The Ending
This is my analysis, thoughts and perspective of the ending. SPOILERS: If you haven’t beat The Last of Us turn back immediately! There are massive spoilers ahead.


Lately, there's been people saying that there is evidence hinting that Ellie wasn't the only one that was immune to the Cordyceps virus and that the Fireflies simply kept trying to find a vaccine so that they had a purpose. If this information is true it will alter the ending, showing that Joel wasn't as selfish as everyone thought.

The Fireflies gave up trying to find a cure because it was impossible. But instead of a cure they were trying to come up with a vaccine. We all know that much and according the head surgeon:

"April 28th. Marlene was right. The girl's infection is like nothing I've ever seen. The cause of her immunity is uncertain. As we've seen in all past cases, the antigenic titers of the patient's Cordyceps remain high in both the serum and the cerebrospinal fluid. Blood cultures taken from the patient rapidly grow Cordyceps in fungal-media in the lab...

However white blood cell lines, including percentages and absolute-counts, are completely normal. There is no elevation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and an MRI of the brain shows no evidence of fungal-growth in the limbic regions, which would normally accompany the prodrome of aggression in infected patients.

We must find a way to replicate this state under laboratory conditions. We're about to hit a milestone in human history equal to the discovery of penicillin. After years of wandering in circles we're about to come home, make a difference, and bring the human race back in control of its own destiny. All of our sacrifices and the hundreds of men and women who've bled for this cause, or worse, will not be in vain.

The question is what or who are the "past cases" that the head surgeon is taking about? Were they of immune people or of the infected? Or could he be referring to the monkeys that they tested and are also immune to the virus?

It's not surprising that people take it to mean that past cases were other immune people. After all, the immune are still infected but the virus doesn't change them completely for some unknown reason. Knowing what that reason is would be the key to developing a vaccine; or at least a step closer to it. So when people hear "The girl's infection is like nothing I've ever seen. The cause of her immunity is uncertain. As we've seen in all past cases..." they assume that the doctor was speaking of other immune patients and that compare to them, Ellie's immune system was the strongest they had ever seen.

Though, after researching more into it I'm more inclined to believe that he's speaking of the immune monkeys as his past cases. Why do I think that? Well, I'm sure that they cut up an infected to see how the virus infects the body (and the brain -- remember the x-ray scan of an infected's brain on the table?) but how would they even know what makes a person immune? They know because of their testing on the monkeys. They must have cut a few of them open to see the difference between an infected and an immune.

In the end, this recording doesn't really change my mind on the ending. It only reaffirms my opinion that Joel did the right thing even if it seems to be for the wrong reasons. There was no guarantee that they would have come up with an effective vaccine if Ellie was sacrifice.

It only shows me that the doctors don't really know what they are doing. How would they even know what to look for besides killing her in order to study the Cordycep in her brain? How do they know for sure that the Cordycep has mutated? How do they know that it's not something in her blood that caused the supposed mutation to the Cordycep in her brain? Maybe it's something in her genetics? How do they know that she wouldn't pass on these new benign Cordyceps if she infected anyone?

It's ridiculous that they were so quick to cut her open for the good of human kind. If Ellie truly was the answer to a vaccine they would've...or at least SHOULD have treated her like a queen. They would have been cautious and test nearly every aspect of her. Test her blood, get tissue samples and whatnot. Last thing they should have ever want was to risk Ellie's death, because if she was the only one truly immune that would mean they would've had one chance at it. Again, why risk it by being so quick to kill her?

Even if Joel did agree to kill Ellie for a vaccine to help humanity. The doctors would've fail anyway because they didn't think to be careful. They seem to be too invested in their mission that they lost sight of the smaller imagines that make up the big picture. When people feel that they're close to their goal they tend to become sloppy, skipping procedures and protocols (trying to find a quicker or easier way to get to it) which can end with a very fatal outcome.

Besides, even if they somehow manage to develop a vaccine from Ellie it would be pointless. The world is corrupted, and any vaccine found would be used by the Fireflies to enslave others. It wouldn't just be handed out like candy to whoever wants it. It would cause a war. It would also be nearly impossible to distribute it to everyone and those who find out about it will try to steal it for themselves.

A vaccine is not going to change the fact that there are still infected around and people will still have to deal with them AND humans. People aren't going to start holding hands and singing praises that a vaccine was delivered and rebuild society again. They'll still be killing people for supplies, for weapons, food, medicine, shoes and whatnot. They don't have to worry about turning but they still have to fight to survive.

The world is pretty much a dog eat dog place. People will only look out for themselves unless there's something that they'll benefit from helping someone out. We see that in the game, with Joel and Tess, Bill, David, the Hunters, etc.

That's why I don't think of Joel as a horrible person. He does have some moments that I disagree with but they do make sense for his characterization and for the world he tries to survive in. He knows how the world is and knows that it's bullshit for Ellie to die for such a corrupted world. To die in order to see if a vaccine can be created from her which isn't a guarantee thing anyway. And on top of that, he finally found a reason to live for, only to be told his 'reason' has to die for the good of humanity -- a humanity, again, that could care less.

His mind was already made up when he started to care for Ellie. It's especially clear when they're at the rooftop looking at the giraffes and he points it out to her that she doesn't have to do it (doesn't have to go to the hospital).

As for Ellie, she's suffering from survivor's guilt because everyone around her keeps dying from the virus. During that scene with the giraffes she even mention that she's still waiting for her turn. That tells me that she's excepting to die because of the virus. So if the Fireflies did ask her consent to create a vaccine for it she would do it without question. And that would mean she'll sacrifice her life without actually knowing what such a decision entails.

Remember she's still a child. She might make the mistake of thinking that the vaccine is a cure and that it would fix everything. Or she'd misinterpret it as chances being good that they'd succeed, whereas in reality the chances are very slim. After all, you don't magically pull a vaccine out of a patient where you have absolutely no idea WHY the patient is the way they are in the first place.

With the mindset Ellie was in at the end of the game. Telling her the truth wouldn't have gone well because she wouldn't truly understand the consequences of it. She would just think of it as doing something good for mankind. It would be a chance for her to, in her mind, redeem herself for still being alive when she should've been turned/dead by now. And that her journey to the hospital, the things she did, and the people she met didn't died for nothing. Joel most likely thought about all that while Ellie was still unconscious from the drugs. He figure it would be best to not tell her the complete truth and leave certain things out.

The last scene shows Ellie asking Joel to swear that everything he told her about the Fireflies is true. That doesn't mean that Ellie knew about the surgery or about what happen. She only knows that Joel is not telling her the truth because it's pretty suspicious that she wakes up in the back seat of a car, wearing a hospital gown. The last thing she remembers is that they were close to the hospital and she fell into the water and was drowning.

What's interesting about that scene is that Ellie said "okay" when Joel swears he was telling the truth. It doesn't mean she believes him now but that she's fine with his lie. She could have easily call him out on it but she didn't. Why? Because she most likely feared to hear the truth and Joel lying (or white lie as far as she knows) isn't for his benefit but for hers. At least that's probably how she see it as.

Her survivor's guilt is eased by the fact that she's supposedly not the only one immune. That Joel knows her well enough to protect her by lying because he knows it's something she wouldn't want to hear. And she trusts him enough to accept his lie and leave it alone.

That's how the story ends, with Joel and Ellie establishing a decent life at Tommy's settlement. It's a great story and the perfect ending considering the experiences of the characters through out the whole game. Do I want a squeal to the game? Of course I do, but not with Joel and Ellie because to me their story has ended.

The Last of Us is a big world and it's most likely that Naughty Dog will -- if they decide to make a sequel will do another game dealing with new survivors. It could take place in another country. Or it could be about a solider who deflects from his station. Maybe the new game could take place during the outbreak. There's many possibilities of what they can do with a sequel. If they can deliver that same deep characterization and story telling as they did with That Last of Us than I will be looking forward to it.

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