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As the Shortest Episode of the Season, Will ‘The Last of Us’ Finale Really Be Able To Wrap Everything Up?

Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller in The Last of Us finale
(Pedro Pascal as Joel, HBO Max)

The past eight weeks have flown by as we’ve gotten continuously closer to Joel and Ellie, the dynamic survivor duo of the infectious Cordyceps virus. Their journey has been full of grueling ups and downs, as they navigate through a world ravaged by disease while developing a complicated yet endearing bond. Adapting a video game into a condensed television series is no small feat. The Last of Us game has 15 hours of gameplay, yet the series was only allotted nine hours to tell one of the most popular video game storylines of all time. With these limitations, scenes are expected to be cut, while other major events are consolidated.

Bill and Frank pick strawberries in The Last of Us
(Murray Bartlett as Bill and Nick Offerman as Frank, HBO Max)

We’ve grown to appreciate some of these changes, especially the groundbreaking Episode Three, “Long Long Time,” which showed a completely different side to Frank’s character—one that deeply resonated and was welcomed by (nearly) all.

But the last episode of the season will also be its shortest, clocking in at just 46 minutes. How will the show manage to wrap things up effectively in such a short amount of time?

Gameplay vs. Reality

**Spoilers for The Last of Us video game and likely HBO series finale**

The final hours of The Last of Us gameplay are integral for the already confirmed second season, leaving little to no room for potential scene cuts. After escaping a vile cannibalistic cult, Joel and Ellie make it to the new Firefly camp in Salt Lake City. Soon Joel learns that the only way the Fireflies could potentially create a vaccine for the Cordyceps virus is by sacrificing the one person he has been protecting this entire time—Ellie. Would you choose to potentially change the future trajectory of humanity or save the person you care about the most? It’s a heavy question that left a lot of game players stuck in a moral dilemma. In spite of all of this, the consequences of what Joel will most likely choose to do in the series, will be the driving force and gateway into season 2.

“Its going to divide people massively,” explains Bella Ramsey (Ellie), to Vogue earlier this week.

The Last of Us Ellie
(Joel and Ellie, The Last of Us video game, Naughty Dog)

No Time to Spare

Because of the short run time, this means there really isn’t a second to spare and all 46 minutes of the finale will most likely be full of nonstop action from the get-go. This is exactly what viewers crave from these final scenes of the game.

It’s been an exciting (and very fast) eight weeks of becoming invested in such a captivating story, with even more memorable characters. It seems like it was just yesterday we were introduced to Joel and Ellie, yet here we are at the end of an exciting, successful first season. The show has been enticing from the start and we have complete faith that the end will be just as epic, leaving us all on the edge of our seats, desperately wanting more.

The season finale of The Last of Us premieres this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Central on HBO Max.

(image: HBO Max)

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