Skip to main content

‘The Last of Us’ Episode 4 Ending Song Is a Deeply Meaningful Easter Egg

Ellie Playing Guitar in The Last of Us Part II

HBO’s The Last of Us has certainly been on a roll lately regarding music! The outro songs in particular are grabbing people’s attention, as they’re carefully chosen to tie into major narrative themes featured in their respective episodes.

With that said, I want to focus on the song that plays at the end of episode 4: songwriter Lotte Kestner’s cover of the New Order song “True Faith.” Fans of the original games might know what’s going on here, but essentially, this song is hugely relevant to Ellie in particular. It features heavily in the promotion of The Last of Us Part II, in which Ellie plays the song herself:

There’s also a full cover done by Ellie’s VA, Ashley Johnson, on Spotify.

So, off the bat, this is already a very cool and highly personal connection to the original game series, one that reminds you of what sort of person Ellie will become if you’re at all familiar with the second game. But that aside, it’s also just an incredibly smart pick for this particular episode.

While episode 3 expanded on the original game’s plot in a really lovely way, it did steer our focus away from the core of the story, which is the relationship between Joel and Ellie, in the midst of a post-apocalyptic world. Episode 4 rectifies this by finally giving them some scenes alone together, and these scenes are crucial in how they finally allow us, the viewers, to understand that this bond is the key to both characters’ survival. This becomes especially relevant later on, when they get deep in raider territory and have to trust each other in order to get out alive, even when it’s terrifying.

Therein lies the smartness of using this particular song: It’s a song that indicates a loss of something precious as one moves forward. The original song by New Order is a larger statement on the band’s growth beyond its familiar origins, but in the context of who Ellie is, it takes on a new shape, telling us everything we need to know about the person she’s becoming by the end of episode 4.

Ellie has already lived a very difficult life, yet she’s still this plucky girl with a fair degree of innocence (how she’s maintained that innocence is astounding). This is largely because she hasn’t had to do anything ultra-violent against a living being … up until this episode, where she participates in her first killing.

And my god, it’s a brutal scene. She incapacitates a young soldier, who nearly chokes Joel to death, by shooting him, and while he’s bleeding out on the floor, he begs for his life, focusing on her since she’s a young girl. Yet in the end, she decides to trust Joel, as he’s guided her this far. She gives him the gun, and he tells her to leave the room—and she takes a shaky breath as she hears the soldier die.

It’s the first step down a long road that turns Ellie into the brutal killer she becomes in Part II. By then, Ellie is on the warpath, with little to no remorse for anyone who stands in her way. And it’s all tied to Joel: the man who saved her, took care of her, and taught her how to be cold in order to survive. While the beginning of the episode might be light and sweet, by the end, Ellie is fully aware that she can’t really be the same sort of kid she used to be.

In the context of her life, this song is about living to see another day. It’s about alienation from the sort of life she can’t have. It’s mourning, it’s remorse, and it’s also a display of love as the surrogate daughter of a brutal man.

And, again, it’s just a damn cool callback to the games.

(featured image: Naughty Dog)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Madeline (she/her) is a writer, dog mom, and casual insomniac. Her prior experiences with media have taken her down many different roads, from local history podcasts to music coverage & production. Niche interests include folk music, elves/wizards, and why horses are cool actually.