The Last of Us: Did Joel make the right decision?

The Last of Us Episode 3
The Last of Us Episode 3 /

Did Joel make the right decision during the season finale of The Last of Us?

Whether you played the video game or watched the show on HBO, the ending of The Last of Us was emotional. Joel and Ellie finally made it to the Fireflies so a vaccine for the cordyceps pandemic could be made. The problem was the sample they needed was in Elle’s brain. Extracting it would kill her. Joel wasn’t going to let that happen. He chose to save Ellie rather than have her experimented on.

When The Last of Us video game was first released, people had an issue with what Joel did. He risked the world to save someone he loved. After being annoyed with Ellie for close to a year, Joel loved her like she was his kid. It made sense. They went through a lot during their time together. It was also an opportunity to keep her alive when he couldn’t do that for his daughter. Despite knowing why Joel made the decision to save Ellie, did he do the right thing?

Why saving Ellie in The Last of Us was the right movie for Joel

When it comes to love, people will make decisions that seem irrational. That’s why many viewers thought what Joel did was wrong. They weren’t in his shoes. On the outside looking in, Joel may look like the villain, especially considering what he did on his way to Ellie.

Joel killed a bunch of innocent people on his way to Ellie. Among them was Marlene. A woman who’s known Ellie since the day she was born. If anyone knew how difficult it was to sacrifice her, it was Marlene. It couldn’t have been easy for her to let the doctors do what they had to do (a scenes that’s shown in The Last of Us Part II). However, she let it happen. Joel killing her could have been wrong, but who’s to say she wouldn’t have come back for revenge after he left?

Another point is something this writer’s wife brought up. There’s no guarantee that a cure would  have been created. It’s not like there’s any medical facility in the world that was in pristine shape. The means to create and distribute a cure might not have been possible. Ellie would have been killed for nothing. On top of that, Ellie wasn’t given a choice in the matter. She was unconscious when she was brought in and immediately prepped for surgery.

Why saving Ellie was wrong

Finding a cure in Ellie’s brain wasn’t a definite thing, but there was still a chance. There’s a reason why Ellie didn’t turn when she was bitten and the answer was literally inside of her. The doctors and scientists charged with coming up with a cure had the best chance in saving the world. All it would have cost was the life of one person. As the phrase goes, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. The ending of The Last of Us is a perfect example of this. Unfortunately, many were sacrificed.

Even if Ellie didn’t have the cure inside of her, data would have been collected. Everything they learned would have brought the world one step closer to being saved. It also would have given Earth hope. Something no one thought they’d ever have again. That means “failure” wouldn’t have meant defeat. It means a cure would take longer to discover.

The Last of Us verdict on Joel’s decision

At the end of the day, it really comes down to the person and their opinion. But it isn’t hard to see why Joel saved Ellie. After spending so much time with a person, you develop a kinship. Also, there are too many variables that say that she would have died for nothing. Let’s not forget that Ellie wasn’t given the option either. Maybe Joel hearing what Ellie wanted would have changed his mind. But neither of them were given an option.

On the flip side, there are certainly people reading this who believe emotions should have been thrown out the door. They aren’t wrong. When it comes to finding a cure to save the world, things would be done that could be considered morally wrong. Although, is it morally wrong if it saves humanity? It looks like that’s up for you to decide.

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What would you have done in that position if you were Joel in The Last of Us? Let us know in the comments below.