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How Does ‘The Last of Us Part II’ End?

Ellie carries a gun in the woods in 'The Last of Us Part II'

You’re just a little glutton for punishment, aren’t you? Look, I already told you how The Last of Us Part I ends. Did you even have time to dry your eyes? Why don’t you just play the game? Or wait until season 2 of the HBO series premieres?

Oh, I understand, you want some time to emotionally prepare. Alright, take all the time you need, and by “all the time,” I mean the seven-and-a-half minutes it’s gonna take you to read this article because we’re diving into all the gory bits, baby. And this story sure has a lot of them.

Major spoiler alert from here on out.

The story so far in The Last of Us Part II

So, you need to know why Ellie is on her quest. The short answer: A militia soldier named Abby killed Joel. She beat him to death while Ellie watched. Why did Abby do it? Well, remember the surgeon Joel killed in order to get to Ellie in the first game? That was Abby’s dad. I think there needs to be a rule in the Last of Us universe that dads are off-limits. It only leads to trouble when you mess with them. That’s why mine went out for milk and never came back. (Or he was delivering the milk? I’ve never been quite sure.)

Ellie spends the game hunting Abby down on her brutal quest for revenge. Before she kills Abby, she kills ALL of Abby’s friends who were present when Abby whacked Joel. She beats them to death with crowbars, shoots them, and stabs them in their necks. And one of them was pregnant. It’s a grisly affair. Joel’s brother Tommy also has a hand in killing some of Abby’s friends in particularly messed-up ways. The guy who gets his brains blown out by Tommy’s rifle frankly got off easy.

Meanwhile, Abby is traipsing around Seattle trying to save two little runaway siblings who escaped a totally batshit fundamentalist cult. When the older sister Yara is killed while trying to save her brother Lev, Abby basically adopts Lev as a surrogate little bro. After saving Lev from the cult, Abby returns home to find her ex-boyfriend and his pregnant partner have been murdered to death. She discovers a map left at the scene that leads to Ellie’s hideout in Seattle, and she goes to track her nemesis down.

The brutal ending of The Last of Us Part II

Abby and Lev track Ellie to the theatre were she and a few of her companions from Jackson have holed up. After getting the drop on Tommy, Abby kills Ellie’s friend Jesse with a bullet to the cheek. It’s brutally sudden and sad. Ellie tries to surrender while a pinned Tommy attempts to fight back. Abby shoots him in the back of the head. Ellie flees to the back of the theatre to find her weapons with Abby in hot pursuit.

The pair engage in a particularly nasty stealth-action battle in which Ellie uses pipe bombs, a shotgun, and her trusty knife to take Abby down for good. It doesn’t work. Abby gets the drop on Ellie and is about to kill her when suddenly Ellie’s pregnant girlfriend Dina rushes in and tries to introduce Abby to the business end of a knife. Abby, swole as hell that she is, is able to fight off Dina and knock her out. Just before Abby kills Dina, Ellie begs her to stop, telling her that Dina is pregnant. Abby says “good” and attempts to kill Dina, but is stopped by Lev. Abby leaves Ellie and Dina alive, telling Ellie if she ever sees her again, she won’t hesitate to kill her.

Flash forward: Dina and Ellie recover from their injuries and Dina has her baby, an adorable little potato of a child they name Jesse Jr. They live on a farm, raise sheep, dance to records, and are happy. However, Ellie is still haunted from time to time by Joel’s death. One day, Tommy shows up at Ellie and Dina’s house. Yes, that Tommy. It turns out he miraculously survived getting shot in the back of the head but lost an eye. His leg is also left crippled from the fight. He tells Ellie that he got a report of a woman in Santa Barbara who matches Abby’s description. Bitter that he can no longer fight, he tells Ellie that she needs go to Santa Barbara and make good on her promise to kill Abby. Dina throws Tommy out of the house, but Ellie is left shaken.

Later that night, Ellie decides to leave the ranch and hunt Abby down. Dina begs her to stay, but Ellie refuses. Dina tells her that she won’t wait around for Ellie to come home; if she leaves, it’s final. Ellie goes anyway, removing the charm bracelet that Dina gave her.

Meanwhile, Abby and Lev are bumming around Santa Barbara, investigating reports of a Firefly colony. They stumble upon a colony alright, except it sure ain’t the Fireflies. Abby and Lev are abducted by a group of vicious slavers called The Rattlers who capture people and force them to do physical (and probably sexual) labor. Ellie shows up in Santa Barbara and is captured by two Rattlers. Before killing them both, she learns that Abby is imprisoned in their compound. Ellie fights through the Rattlers and frees the enslaved people. The newly freed tell her that Abby is down on the beach, where the disobedient are subjected to discipline.

Ellie finds a shaved and emaciated Abby tied to a post by the water. She cuts her down, and then frees an unconscious Lev who is also tied to a post nearby. Abby, choosing to let bygones be bygones, tells Ellie that there are boats down by the water where they can escape. Just before Abby departs, Ellie tells her that she can’t let her live. Abby refuses to fight, but after Ellie threatens to kill Lev, she agrees.

The two get into a bone-crunching slugfest in the surf. Noses are broken, ears are torn, and Abby bites off two of Ellie’s fingers. Ellie gains the upper hand on a weakened Abby and begins to drown her in the water. Just before Abby suffocates, Ellie has a flashback to a conversation she had with Joel before he died. Ellie told Joel that she could never forgive him for taking her from the Fireflies in the first game, but she would like to try. Ellie releases Abby, and Abby speeds away on the boat with Lev, never to be seen again.

Ellie, now wearing Dina’s bracelet again, returns to the empty farmhouse she and Dina once shared. She finds Joel’s guitar and attempts to play a song, but the missing fingers on her left hand make the process difficult. Seemingly at peace, she places the guitar in its case and leaves it behind. From the window of the house, we see Ellie heading towards the treeline before the game cuts to black.

The ending is left ambiguous, but my take is that Ellie realized that trying to forgive Joel made her life better, and so she offers that same mercy to Abby in the end. Because she is still wearing Dina’s bracelet, the pair may be living together in Jackson. After all, where else would a single mother of an infant choose to live after Ellie left?

Ellie goes to the house in order to say one last goodbye to Joel, playing a song on his guitar to honor his memory, and then leaving it—along with her grief—behind.

Now give them an Oscar, dammit.

(featured image: Naughty Dog)

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