The Last of Us 1×09 “Look for the Light” brings us to a place longtime fans have known was coming. And this time around, having experienced the game multiple times, I’m still with Joel. I might be even more on his side thanks to the way that this show has brought Joel and Ellie to life. Because every moment and interaction has led to this. And there was no other choice. There never was.
Let’s dive into The Last of Us 1×09 “Look for the Light”!
Warning: There will be hints at season 2. You’ve been warned!
And I’d Do It Again
Joel didn’t regret one moment of killing all those people to save Ellie. And I have to back him on this. Yes, murder is bad. We know that. I know that. But it doesn’t change the fact that Ellie is Joel’s universe. She is the light that has been missing from his life. And he’s not going to let a chance at a cure be the reason why he loses Ellie. I wouldn’t let a chance get in between me and my loved one either. And I don’t feel any guilt in that decision. I didn’t 10 years ago when the game first came out. And I don’t regret it now.
And if you asked Joel if he’d do it all over again, knowing what comes next, he’d still do it. Because Joel is ride or die for Ellie. So, everyone had to die. And when I mean everyone, I mean everyone, which Joel would totally fix if given the opportunity. *looks over at the two nurses* No survivors means no revenge, right? RIGHT?! But again, even knowing what’s to come, Joel would choose her. He’d always choose her. Because Ellie deserves the world and he wants to give it to her. Yes, it is a tiny bit selfish. But love like this is complicated and I don’t blame him for choosing love.
The Last of Us 1×09 “Look for the Light” is also the episode that I hope Pedro Pascal receives awards for. Playing Joel and taking on the complexities of the man he was and is, isn’t an easy task. But he effortlessly took them on, cementing that he is one of the most talented actors on our screens. And he did the impossible by making me love Joel even more than I did before. Because the bond that this character formed with Bella Ramsey‘s Ellie, it’s familiar. But it’s somehow been brought to life with fresh eyes because of Pascal. And I’ll forever be grateful.
The Healing of Ellie
A part of the reason why Joel made the choices he did in The Last of Us 1×09 “Look for the Light” is because he wanted Ellie to heal like she helped him to heal. Ellie is a badass. Always has and always will be. But what happened with that creeper David freaked her out. It was a savage murder after all. And for just a moment, Ellie laughed with that giraffe. She had no worries, no woes. She was just a kid. And Joel wanted to make sure that Ellie took the time to heal from the wounds and that he would be available to her as her father to find her way in this crazy apocalyptic life.
Joel’s decision isn’t easy peasy, of course. No one should make decisions for Ellie. She should make her choices. She should have the say. And shame on Marlene for not giving Ellie the information to make an informed decision. The same thing goes for Joel. Shame on him for not being upfront with Ellie, especially when she asked for the truth. She deserves honesty from those around her and it will come back to bite Joel in the ass in catastrophic ways. But then again, he is the adult and Ellie is his daughter. Who’s to say any other parent wouldn’t make the executive decision as he did for their child?
Besides that decision that has been debated for over 10 years, much love and appreciation has to be sent Bella Ramsey‘s way. Like Pascal, they have brought a beloved character to life in a new and refreshing way. They have shown Ellie’s strengths, weaknesses, and humor. And as a long-time fan of this story, I can not wait for what is to come in season 2 and what Ramsey has planned for the future, whether in acting or storytelling. They are the future of Hollywood. Period.
Ashley Johnson, My Heart & Our Mother
You know you’ve spent too much time with The Last of Us game if you recognize Ashley Johnson‘s voice just from her grunts of pain and panting. Don’t lie. You recognized her too! But anyway, there are not enough words to express the emotions I was going through watching Johnson portray Anna. Because in a way (and I know this sounds cheesy) she brought Ellie to life twice. Once with the game all those years ago. And now all over again in the HBO adaptation.
As a character, it goes to show you that Ellie comes from a fighter. Because from what we’ve seen, it’s hard enough surviving in this ravaged world. Add being pregnant and it’s a whole new set of problems that Anna faced head-on. But face them she did. And even though she got bit and didn’t see her daughter grow up, she won. Her daughter survived and she got to spend her last precious moments with her child. Got to name her. Got to sing to her. And got to love her.
Personally, I hope Johnson’s appearance on The Last of Us 1×09 is a reminder to Hollywood that Johnson is the kind of talent that you want in your shows, movies, etc. She’s the kind of actor that steals your heart in the span of five minutes. Imagine what she could do with a series? Movies? We would all fall for her and regret not one second of it. Until then, we’ll be crying all over this episode, journey, and the gift that is this show and everyone involved in it.