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Critic's Dialogue: Did The Finale of “The Last of Us” Make the Right Choice?

[The following dialogue contains spoilers for HBO’s The Last of Us season finale.]

Daniel Feinberg

is showing Don’t Worry 95th Academy Awards, HBO’s The Last of Us ends There was one Sunday night episode in the first season that almost felt designed to control the small rather than fictional “this zombie show doesn’t have enough zombies!” hate brigade.

Of course, the episode starts with a pregnant woman – Growing pains Favorite Ashley Johnson – Threatened Zombie Mid Labor. But overall, the finale’s giraffe is more benign than the predatory mushroom, which isn’t necessarily what you’d expect, unless of course you’ve seen the first eight episodes of the season. Everything that happened before establishes and underscores that even in an undead-infested dystopia, you have to worry about a mess of humans.

The ending is provocative in that, while the death toll is extremely high, the casualties are not limited to the so-called “messy human beings”. Pedro Pascal’s Joel behaves in a way that is relatable, but definitely not for the advancement of humanity.

Angie, none of us are video game fans here – that doesn’t mean we don’t know about Johnson, except for her Growing Pains Sincerely, the Ellie of the game – so when we speculate about where the series goes from here, we are not discussing the game Places to go. That being said, did you buy Joel’s option? Make sure you do, in the first half Joel admits he attempted suicide immediately after Sarah’s death, and it’s only in Ellie that he finally finds a new purpose in life. And it works, especially since Pascal is one of those actors who can bring me to tears just by the way he lookslook at someone. So yeah, in context, I totally understand how cornered and hopeless he must be feeling. Imagine the trolley problem if the one person you had to sacrifice to save everyone was also the only person who made the world feel worth saving in the first place, and… yes.

But the emotional arc of the finale did feel a little rushed, especially after a few episodes that kept the two apart for the majority of the time. I think I might want one more episode between the two, allowing us to reconnect with the bond they’ve made and explore how it’s evolved since their roles of protector and leader were temporarily reversed. Because much of the impact of this chapter rests on our investment in their relationship and what it means to both of them.

As harrowing as Joel’s hospital ordeal was, the real gut hit for me was at the end, when Ellie confronted Joel, She’s already starting to suspect it’s a lie. For most of the hour (well, 22 for maybe a few minutes – at The Last of Us and severance, I can’t say I mind this ending which is actually shorter than most episodes of this season mini-trend) we’ve been in Joel’s mindset, looking at how it feels from he and how he will be Look at this conundrum in terms of what to lose.

Then, at the last moment, when Ellie makes a list of all the innocents who died directly or indirectly as a result of her journey, we see Ellie gets lost as Joel makes a decision for her – grimly assuring that all the pain at least makes sense because it’s in pursuit of the greater good. Now she’s the one who’s taken away from her purpose. It’s the first time their needs really intersect, even if they don’t quite understand their predicament yet, and it sets the stage for more heartbreak in the coming season.

FIENBERG This is a tram problem, except that on one track you have only one person, and on the other You have humans in orbit. Someday, maybe not the next day or next week, Joel will have to admit to Ellie, and possibly others, that before he has at least a chance of saving every human being left on Earth Case in point, he not only chooses but to save his pun partner, but kills a lot of people in the process, whose only crime is making the right trolley question choice.

Of course, as I pointed out, if any The Last of Us clarified – previously clarified in The Walking Dead and Things like The Road and countless other post-apocalyptic stories – people aren’t inherently worth saving, even though humanity is. These are not necessarily the same thing, as Station Eleven tells us.

Joel’s story as his suicide attempt reminds us that our two main characters are going through similar personal journeys – losing the only person that matters to them, and then Trying to find a reason to live – but they’re at very different stages in these journeys. Shortly after losing the most important person in the world to her, Ellie finds a friend/father, but when Joel makes her choose between a personal relationship (and survival) and a purpose (but uncertain fate), She chose the latter. She’s unlikely to be happy when Joel finally confesses, even if Joel is able to quote her from the Talmud that whoever saves one life saves the world.

Regarding the overall ending, I also appreciate shows that don’t overplay the ending, but I found this ending rather rushed, both from the extreme nihilism of the penultimate episode Transition, or from hospital massacre to “permanent” – I know it won’t be permanent – residency.

Thoughts on a giraffe or Ellie’s apparent success as a medical professional to get Joel cured?

HAN The latter seems to be another place where there is an extra plot, or possibly one A longer run time would help! I don’t need to spend half a season watching Joel deal with his wounds, but the speed at which he recovers – by the start of episode 9, he’s clearly very healthy, with little sign of limping to suggest he’s almost dead Injuries – Can’t help but retroactively lower the stakes for the entire outing. It can start to feel like it almost never happened.

It’s been a challenge for the whole season, really. Each episode sees Joel and Ellie go on new adventures in new places and with new supporting characters, and this episodic structure has its benefits: it keeps delivering surprises, it’s a great way to continue building the show’s world, and it Allow for stunning, mostly self-contained detours like “Long, Long Time” and “Left Behind.” On the other hand, however, it can also mean events that feel important in the moment, like the deaths of Sam (Kevin Woodard) and Henry (Lamar Johnson), or the death of David (Scott Shepard). ) and his cult’s attacks, which tend to become a bit more buried in what happens next.

These storylines are not no long-term effects. Just this week, Ellie’s demeanor and dialogue made clear the cumulative psychological damage these encounters took on her; it’s part of what makes the final scene so heartbreaking. But the narrative doesn’t leave much room for dealing with the aftermath of each incident—leaving Joel and Ellie to process their emotions, reflect on the loss, and clean up their mess. It’s always just going to the next level.

To be fair, at times the levels involve a very cute (if CG looking) family of giraffes, and I certainly don’t skimp on these ragged souls in their encounters. To the moment of amazement before being ambushed and transported away to possible death. Are you??

FIENBERG INDEPENDENT – not to be confused with “independent”, even if we occasionally Use them interchangeably—episodes have been a blessing and a curse in the past, and not just because they forced us to engage with Ben Shapiro’s attempts to analyze story structure online.

“Long, Long Time” was so heartbreaking that I probably don’t get the admiration I deserve when looking back on the first two episodes – they were masterful, it’s far Not enough from criticism. And “Left Behind” is so scary and sad and beautiful that it amplifies the sadism of the last two episodes of the season in a way that I critically responded to, even though that was entirely the point. The intersection of dehumanizing violence and humanizing stories is what the series is about.

The idea, mostly (but perhaps not exclusively) supported by gay skeptics, is that standalone episodes don’t advance a season – the long arc says There is a severe lack of understanding that sometimes storytelling is plot driven and sometimes theme driven. A stay at the mall with Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett) or Henry and Sam or Riley (Storm Reed) has the same core as the story of Joel and Ellie: you How and for what to go on living?

I love giraffes and appreciate how much better they look in the final version of the show than in our original projectors and rough CG. From the “When We Need Help” experience, it’s no wonder that Ellie was shocked that the childish side of her personality seemed to disappear. Given what we’ve seen before that captures her youthful spark, I find it entirely convincing that first contact with a zoo animal will restore that spark. If I were in that situation, I’d probably try to figure out where the monkeys are, but I’d pretty much compare it to the LA Cougar P-22 a couple months ago. As humans, we sometimes become so desensitized to modernity, urbanity, and domesticity that it takes a true wildness to re-feel and appreciate our place in the natural landscape.

HAN It seems that the flip side of this coin may be that our own place in the land is far less As important as human imagination is. The Last of Us has a real appreciation for natural beauty, whether it’s giraffes or snow-capped mountains. But it’s also a world shaped by another natural phenomenon — the Cordyceps sinensis, whose roots spread across the globe. There is an eerie echo between footage of what was once a city or suburb now overrun by untamed flora and fauna, and the glimpses we see of people transformed into feral, fungal creatures. In both cases, it’s as if nature is claiming (or taking back) territory that once belonged to humans.

In this changed world, people like Joel and Ellie have to think not just how to fight back, but why, what to achieve and what to give The price. As you say, The Last of Us is far from the first science fiction novel to ponder these big questions about human worth, or pitting the comforts of civilization against the horrors of nature and majestic. I think the show does a particularly good job of taking indelible human moments and reminding us why they matter.

The giraffes, or more specifically Ellie and Joel’s reactions to them, would seem to express all that makes the continued existence of our species worth fighting for. Stuff: A child’s capacity for wonder and delight, a parent’s overwhelming love. Then, later, it serves as a reminder of the devastating price of survival — a moment that other Ellies and Joels might enjoy again, but only if this Ellie and Joel accepts that they never, ever will.

Either way, it’s a tough choice; even if you think the moral choice is clear, I’m sure you can understand what it’s like to stand by and let a loved one die How impossible. Joel’s call could be wrong es. But I think it would be the right choice for a show about the impossibility of making such calls.

But before we go, I have another extremely difficult question for you, Dan: Is there any part of you that wants to try and eat one of these mushrooms Man, if so, how would you prepare?

FIENBERG is at least partly a product of desperation, but at the same time, in a deeply dystopian Why should I put Cordyceps in my mouth when I am hungry? If I were ambitious, I’d probably go back to Season 1 of Hannibal to learn how best to prepare for a refresher course on corpse mushrooms. At the moment though, I’m mostly cold and wet because it’s been raining for a month, so you know what sounds good? Some Creamy Zombie Mushroom Soup. And I’ll probably keep the host in my freezer just in case things get desperate, Donner-wise. And you?

HAN Oh, Hannibal Lecter will be in moderation throughout the mushroom landscape Have a nice day – human hybrids. I’m not Hannibal Lecter, so I’m not clamoring for a feast. But what if I have to? I’m thinking I drowned the sucker in garlic and butter – a combination that’s even more classic than Pedro Pascal and a cute orphan puppet who needs his protection.



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