'The Last of Us 2' Ending for Joel and Ellie Explained

The Last of Us Part II, the sequel to hit game The Last of Us, has been released and met with stellar reviews from critics, and flooded with thousands of negative reviews from fans, despite the game only having just been released.

But what does the ending of The Last of Us Part II mean, and how do Ellie's flashbacks of Joel explain her need for revenge? Below is a spoiler-filled summary of the ending of The Last of Us Part II and a possible explanation for why Ellie did what she did.

The Last of Us Part II sees Ellie on her quest for revenge after losing Joel and follows her journey as she tracks down Joel's killer, Abby.

The Last of Us Part II ending starts with Abby leaving Ellie for dead. But Ellie heads back to Dina and the game flashes forward to the couple living on a farm near Jackson, Wyoming, with a baby named JJ, which could be named after Joel and Jesse.

Ellie is suffering from PTSD caused by Joel's murder and still believes she needs to kill Abby to move on, then Tommy visits the farm and reveals he may know where Abby and Lev are. Despite Dina asking Ellie to stay, Ellie leaves her behind and sets off for California to try and find Abby.

Leo Faierman for Screen Rant says: "Here, though, Dina and Ellie's baby feels like just another dreamlike aspect amid their serene golden field of wheat and breathtaking country views.

"None of this is a dream, though, and Tommy paying a quick visit to the homestead to explain how he finally sniffed out a lead on their nemesis feels appropriately vulgar, a disturbing shoulder-shake that threatens the couple's sanctum."

Meanwhile, Abby and Lev have tracked down the Fireflies in Santa Barbara but are captured by The Rattlers. After a few months, Ellie finally reaches Rattler HQ and finds Abby and Lev as prisoners, but considers helping them escape.

the last of us part 2 animation
'The Last of Us Part II' tells a story of revenge, love and perspective. Sony Interactive Entertainment/Naughty Dog

Instead, haunted by the image of a murdered Joel, Ellie chooses to fight Abby, resulting in a battle in which Abby bites two of Ellie's fingers off, and Ellie nearly drowns Abby.

But Ellie is reminded of another memory of Joel which forces her to grant Abby mercy. She lets them escape and returns home to Wyoming.

Alex Avard for Games Radar believes that Abby and Lev could ave made it to San Catalina: "This is where the Firefly on the radio told Abby that the reformed group was now based, and the image of a beached boat in the foreground [on the menu screen once the game is completed] suggests she and Lev actually managed to make it there after all."

When Ellie gets back to the farm, the home is cleared out except for her room which contains music and paintings. Ellie stars playing guitar, despite having lost two fingers, and she thinks about the memory of Joel that prevented her from killing Abby.

The night before Joel's death, Ellie confronted him about his interference in her life, but Joel isn't regretful and tells her: "If somehow the Lord gave me a second chance at that moment, I would do it all over again."

Ellie says: "I don't think I can ever forgive you for that... But I'd like to try." Their final conversation ends with an awkward goodbye.

The flashback to Ellie's final conversation with Joel could suggest that Ellie's need for revenge is sparked by her own guilt for not having forgiven Joel before he died. Alternatively, Ellie may have been ready to begin forgiving Joel but was never given the opportunity.

However, the flashback to Ellie suggesting that she will eventually forgive Joel also prevented her from killing Abby. Perhaps it reminded her that she is capable of mercy, and if she forgave Joel, she could forgive Abby too.

Now, back in the present, Ellie sets down her guitar and walks away from the farm, finally moving on.