And similar to that, the Season 1 finale of HBO’s The Last of Us has come to an in depth. The first 9 episodes of the collection caught fairly near the occasions of the 2013 sport, with some vital adjustments alongside the best way to deepen character growth. In the tip, although, these of us who’ve performed The Last of Us know the way it has to finish. And even with some added context within the Season 1 finale, the collection superbly landed the story’s conclusion.
Warning: The following accommodates spoilers for the Season 1 finale of The Last of Us, in addition to the occasions of The Last of Us Part II. If you have not seen the episode but or do not need to be spoiled on the 2020 sport, flip away now.
A real standout on this last episode is a returning Marlene (Merle Dandridge), who not solely bought pivotal moments with Pedro Pascal’s Joel all through the episode however was additionally explored by way of her personal flashback, which is an extremely vital piece of her story–and allowed for the return of a fan-favorite performer from the video games.
GameSpot sat down with Dandrige to debate all of Marlene’s main moments within the finale and the emotion that went into the episode.
The start of Ellie
The episode opens with the introduction of Anna, performed by Ashley Johnson, the actor who portrays Ellie within the video games. Now, although, she’s within the position of Ellie’s mom. While in labor, about to offer start to Ellie, Anna is bitten by an contaminated and similar to that, we all know her destiny is sealed. However, we additionally be taught that she is Marlene’s finest pal with the 2 having a connection that stems again to earlier than outbreak day.
Speaking concerning the second and her reunion with Johnson, Dandridge admitted, “When I first read that episode and that scene, I do believe I might have clutched it to my chest and sighed and cried… Working with Ashley has always been an absolute joy.”
What’s extra, although, this lengthy opening scene allowed Dandridge the chance to discover a chunk of Marlene we have by no means actually seen earlier than. “I think if you had really delved deep into the game, you might have heard some more of the backstory or the interaction between Marlene and Anna,” the actress stated. “And for those fans, those old-school, deep-dive kind of fans, they’re getting that payoff, but for us–I can’t speak for Ashley, but for me–the fundamental pieces around what and who I built Marlene to be, you know, through this vehicle of Merle, were steeped in this relationship and who she was before outbreak day.”
Interestingly, this explicit story was virtually explored extra deeply earlier than. During a convention name with the press, The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann revealed that he is had an thought for a narrative primarily based round Anna that he is tried to discover as a comic book ebook, a sport, and even a brief movie beforehand.
“I wrote this short script about Ellie’s mom and how she gave birth to Ellie, was bitten at the same time and wasn’t sure if she was infected during that birth,” he defined. “And it just became this little character drama that felt like it spoke to the same themes of parental love for their child and how much you’re willing to do even when you’re on death’s door.”
While that by no means got here to fruition beforehand, it really works as a centerpiece second for the HBO collection. And though Dandridge did not know it will be showcased till she learn the Season 1 finale script, it was on her thoughts from the beginning.
“In my first conversations with [showrunner] Craig [Mazin], Anna was such a part of that,” Dandridge stated. “She’s inherent to why and how I have been relating to Ellie and perhaps why she’s chosen to keep her safe and the way that she’s chosen to keep her safe.”
Ultimately, Joel rescued Ellie from the Fireflies’ physician, whose process would have killed her as a way to efficiently extract what he wanted to develop a possible treatment (in the event you name dooming the remainder of the world a rescue). But earlier than he escapes together with her, Joel comes face-to-face as soon as extra with Marlene, who makes an attempt to purpose with him.
An enormous second on this scene is when she tries to impress upon Joel that she understands why he feels the necessity to save Ellie. Let’s not neglect that earlier than Joel got here into the image, it was Marlene caring for the younger woman after her time within the FEDRA coaching camp. What’s extra, now that we all know her connection to Ellie’s mom, after all, she cares for the woman. Still, that needs to be balanced with the potential of a world-saving treatment.
If you have performed The Last of Us Part II, you understand that Marlene didn’t make the selection to sacrifice Ellie evenly. “You see that she is rigorously questioning and pushing back on this doctor’s technology and science that there has to be some other way,” Dandridge stated. “There has to be another way and only after exhaustive time and understanding and work and explanation and testing has she come to the realization that this is the only way. And that realization when she sees that come over Joel, ‘I do get it. I have been in the exact place of denial that you are right now. And I can confidently stand in front of you and say, I have loved her longer and more. And this is still the right choice.'”
At that time, although, Joel merely does not care. After killing the surgeon, and everybody else in sight, he shoots Marlene as nicely. After all, he knows–as does Dandridge–that if left alive, Marlene would by no means cease her seek for Ellie.
“She is unrelenting in her sense of purpose,” Dandridge stated. “Yes, she would follow Joel to the ends of the Earth if he had Ellie in his arms. And, there is a world in which a better outcome could have been reached–a better understanding.”
Was Joel proper?
That’s the last word query at play right here, and one The Last of Us followers have been debating for a decade. Joel primarily destroyed any risk of discovering a treatment for the an infection simply to avoid wasting one individual. However, that one individual is the factor he cares about conserving alive probably the most. It’s arduous to know if he is definitively proper or mistaken on this state of affairs. Dandridge has an opinion on the matter, although.
“My breath catches when I just think about it. If there was someone that I loved in harm’s way, I would do everything in my power to keep them safe to protect them from harm’s way,” she defined. “And fortunately, I’m not making those kinds of credit decisions for the sake of humanity. My goodness. But would you sacrifice that? I mean, that’s a biblical kind of question. It is so large in scope, that it’s overwhelming to even consider. So [as] Merle, I could not even put my mind to consider [it].”
Unfortunately, this appears like the tip of the street for Marlene. We know she does not survive Joel’s bullets within the video games. However, it isn’t as if adjustments have not been made to the video games up to now. Even Dandridge doesn’t know Marlene’s destiny. One factor’s for certain, she is aware of it is her want for Joel to grasp the nice that comes with the sacrifice that needs to be thought of.
“This quality of hers ends up being her demise,” she stated. “Or is it? I don’t know.”