Joel and Ellie sit at a bar in The Last of Us.

‘The Last of Us’ Episode 6: That Cliffhanger, Explained

After half a season of heartbreak, episode 6 of The Last of Us finally gives us a little breathing room—only to end on the season’s biggest cliffhanger yet. What does that last scene mean for Joel and Ellie? What’s likely to happen next?

Recommended Videos

Major spoilers for The Last of Us episode 6 ahead!

Joel and Ellie find the Firefly lab

To recap: Joel and Ellie make it to Wyoming, where miraculously, they’re picked up by an armed band that’s connected to Joel’s brother, Tommy. Joel and Tommy have an emotional reunion, and Joel confides in Tommy that he’s trying to get Ellie to a Firefly lab where they can use her blood to create a vaccine. After learning that the closest Firefly base is in Colorado—and briefly deciding to pass Ellie off to Tommy and stay in the community of Jackson—Joel decides to take Ellie there himself, and the two go for a weeklong horseback ride before reaching the University of Eastern Colorado.

However, the Fireflies are gone. They’ve abandoned their lab with little way to find them. Joel and Ellie stand in the abandoned lab, trying to figure out what to do, when a band of raiders comes upon them.

Joel and Ellie flee, but not before one of the raiders manages to stab Joel. Once they’re some ways away from the university campus, Joel passes out from blood loss, falling off the horse and lying unconscious in the snow.

The episode ends with Ellie kneeling over Joel, pleading with him to wake up. Ellie is by herself, in the middle of winter, with no shelter and no way to know where to go. Even worse, the one figure she’s come to rely on is dying.

Is Joel dead?

To put it bluntly: No. Of course not. Come on, Joel has the thickest plot armor in the whole series! You think he’s going to die of one measly stab wound?

What makes the cliffhanger so great, though, is that it’s not at all clear what Ellie’s options are. She could go back to the university and throw herself at the mercy of the raiders—one of whom Joel left with a snapped neck. She could forge ahead and try to see what help might be out in the wilderness. Or she could stay with Joel by the train tracks, hoping that he pulls through (and both of them don’t freeze to death).

All three of those are pretty bad options, though, so what happens next week is anyone’s guess.

(featured image: HBO Max)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Some Things Are Just Meant To Be in ‘Lovely Runner’ Episode 15
Sol frustrated at Sun-jae for accepting the lead role in her drama series in Lovely Runner.
Read Article ‘Chicago PD’ Season 11 Finale Confirms Hank Voight’s Status
Jason Beghe as Hank Voight in Chicago P.D.
Read Article Is ‘Will Trent’ Returning for a Third Season?
Ramón Rodríguez as Will Trent in Season 2
Read Article Julio Torres Returns With New Surreal Comedy Series ‘Fantasmas’
Julio Torres sits in front of TV screens in the promotional image for 'Fantasmas'.
Read Article The Worst ‘Doctor Who’ Episodes, Ranked
A Kerblam robot, the Master, and the 13th Doctor from 'Doctor Who'
Related Content
Read Article Some Things Are Just Meant To Be in ‘Lovely Runner’ Episode 15
Sol frustrated at Sun-jae for accepting the lead role in her drama series in Lovely Runner.
Read Article ‘Chicago PD’ Season 11 Finale Confirms Hank Voight’s Status
Jason Beghe as Hank Voight in Chicago P.D.
Read Article Is ‘Will Trent’ Returning for a Third Season?
Ramón Rodríguez as Will Trent in Season 2
Read Article Julio Torres Returns With New Surreal Comedy Series ‘Fantasmas’
Julio Torres sits in front of TV screens in the promotional image for 'Fantasmas'.
Read Article The Worst ‘Doctor Who’ Episodes, Ranked
A Kerblam robot, the Master, and the 13th Doctor from 'Doctor Who'
Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>