The season 1 finale begins with Ellie’s mom, Anna (played by Ashley Johnson, the original Ellie in the game), running through the woods. She’s heavily pregnant and in labor. She finds an abandoned house to seek shelter in. While she’s in labor, an infected attacks her. She manages to kill the infected and give birth to Ellie at the same time.
Anna quickly notices the bite on her leg and immediately cuts the umbilical cord. Marlene and others arrive at the house. She calls out for Anna. Anna is in the same spot singing Ellie a lullaby. She’s about to kill herself when Marlene’s appearance stops her.
Anna knows that Ellie is hungry and doesn’t want to nurse her because she was bitten. Anna stresses to Marlene that she cut the umbilical cord before she was bitten, which is a lie. Anna wants Marlene to take Ellie to Boston. She gives Ellie her switchblade.
Marlene says she can’t do that. Anna asks Marlene to kill her. Marlene doesn’t thinks he can kill her friend. Marlene hands off Ellie and tells her comrade to cover Ellie’s ears. Marlene goes back into the room and kills Anna.
‘I’ll Follow You Anywhere You Go’
In the present day, Joel tries to cheer Ellie up with some Boggle and Chef Boyardee he found. Ellie is much quieter after the horror she experienced at Silver Lake. When Joel brings up how quiet she is, Ellie promises that she’s fine. Joel points out that they’re not far from the hospital. As they continue their journey, they stumble upon some giraffes. A bright light amidst so much darkness.
Joel is understandably a little cautious about what’s in store when they get to the hospital. He brings up just going back to Tommy’s settlement in Wyoming where it’s safe. Ellie doesn’t want to back out now. They have to see this through. “It can’t be for nothing,” she tells Joel.
She promises Joel they can do anything they want after meeting up with the Fireflies. “I’ll follow you anywhere you go,” Ellie says to him. They just have to finish what they started. During a heart-to-heart, Joel reveals he almost took his own life after Sarah died. He flinched when he put the gun to his head and backed out. Ellie tells him that she’s “glad that didn’t work out.” Joel replies, “Me too.”
Marlene Tells Joel That Ellie Has To Die
Ellie and Joel are going through her book of sh***y puns when officers sneak up from behind and throw a grenade at them. They take Ellie and knock out Joel. When he wakes up, Marlene is at his bedside. Joel immediately demands to see Ellie.
Marlene tells him that Ellie is being prepped for surgery. The doctor believes that the cordyceps in Ellie has grown with her since birth. It produces a chemical messenger and makes the normal cordyceps think that she is cordyceps, which is why she’s immune. The doctor wants to remove the cordyceps from Ellie, multiply the cells in a lab, produce those chemical messengers, and then they can give it to everyone.
“He thinks it can be a cure, Joel,” Marlene reveals. Joel brings up that cordyceps grows inside the brain, so this surgery will kill Ellie. He tells Marlene to find someone else who is immune. Marlene promises that there won’t be any pain. Marlene assures Joel that this decision is tough for her, too. She was there when Ellie was born and promised to take care of her, but she has no other choice.
Joel Goes On A Rampage To Save Ellie
Joel isn’t going to stand for this. Marlene orders Joel to be taken away from the hospital and gives him Anna’s switchblade to remember Ellie by. Joel refuses to accept this fate for Ellie and goes on a killing rampage to save her. Floor after floor, he takes everyone out. He makes it up to the pediatric surgery floor and walks into the operating room.
He asks the doctor to unhook Ellie. When the doctor doesn’t comply, he shoots the surgeon in the head. He orders the nurses to unhook her, and they quickly listen to him. Joel carries Ellie out of the room and makes it down to the parking garage where he crosses paths with Marlene. She’s got a gun pointed at him. She can’t let them leave. She believes that sacrificing Ellie to save humanity is the right thing to do. She thinks Ellie would think so, too.
Cut to Joel driving away with Ellie in the backseat. He lies to her about what happened at the hospital. He says there are others who are immune like her, and they stopped looking for a cure after research. He tells her that raiders attacked the hospital, and he barely got her out.
Ellie asks if Marlene is okay. Joel doesn’t answer her. He just says that he’s taking them home. “I’m sorry,” he mutters.
Joel Kills Marlene To Protect Ellie
Joel did kill Marlene. He shot her with the gun he grabbed during his rampage. After she was shot, Marlene begged Joel to just let her go. “You’d just come after her,” Joel says before shooting her in the head.
Joel and Ellie make it to Wyoming when the car breaks down. On their hike to Jackson, he brings up Sarah. He thinks that Ellie and Sarah would have been friends. Ellie takes a moment to address when Joel asked her about the first time she killed someone. She tells him about Riley and what happened at the mall.
Riley was the first to die for her, followed by Tess. She makes Joel promise that everything he said about the Fireflies and what happened at the hospital is true. “I swear,” he says. Ellie looks like she doesn’t believe him. “Okay,” she says.