The Last of Us Ending Explained: What Does Ellie’s ‘Okay’ Mean?

Published 03/19/2023, 9:20 AM EDT

The Last of Us television series by HBO Max is by far one of this year’s best productions that blessed the screens. Based on Naughty Dog’s magnum opus gaming series, the Last of Us narrates a story that ponders upon the question, how far can one go for love? Is it worth dooming humanity to save a loved one?

(The article contains spoilers for the Last of Us season 1)

The first season of the Last of Us show wrapped its story in 9 episodes. It shared the terrifying and eye-opening journey of Joel and Ellie, in a world that is broken by a war against nature that humanity lost. Till the end, the story shares brutal instances of violence, but in the last episode, the final moments hit the fans most severely. 


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The Last of Us ending explained

Joel (Pedro Pascal) was given the task of delivering Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to a Fireflies facility where the doctors were supposed to research her immunity from the fungus and prepare a cure that could be the last hope for the human race. In episode 9, Joel was finally able to cross the country and deliver Ellie to her destination.

But what he found out there was dreadful. In order to make the cure, doctors had to perform surgeries on Ellie’s brain that would most certainly take her life. Unable to accept the fact, Joel killed everyone in the facility and escaped with Ellie. On their trip back, Ellie, recovering from her anesthesia, asked Joel what happened, and he answered with a lie.

At the doorstep of Jackson, Joel promised Ellie that everything he had said was true, and all Ellie said in response was, “Okay”. In the post-episode podcast, Troy Baker asked original Ellie actress, Ashley Johnson, “Do you believe that the ‘Okay’, is it her believing the lie or is it her accepting the lie?”


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“I don’t feel like it’s either. You know, and this also sets up the rest of their story in part II. I think she sees that he’s lying and the ‘okay’ is like, ‘alright, we’re done’. You are not being truthful with me and I can’t trust you. Like I love you, but this was the one thing that my life would have mattered and I could have made a difference somehow and that’s taken away from me now,” said Ashley Johnson. 


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Johnson’s insight gave a clear view of how deep the simple ‘okay’ was. This one moment was the first crack between Joel and Elle’s relationship that will never be fully healed. In the upcoming days, the crack caused by the lie only went deeper and eventually left a severe blow, which will be explored in the upcoming seasons. 

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Rituraj Halder

804 articles

Rituraj Halder is an eSports writer at Essentially sports. Writing creative narratives since his childhood, Rituraj claims to be a modern-day storyteller. He loves JRPGs, single-player titles, and games with good narratives in general.

Edited By: Jito Tenson