Even in The Apocalypse, Human Connection is Important
Even in the apocalypse, humans crave human connection. That could not be more apparent than in The Last of Us universe. Here’s a look at some of the franchise’s best partnerships.
1. Ellie & Dina: Young Adult Love
Ellie and Dina are together in The Last of Us Part ll. Dina is doing her best to support and love Ellie after her trauma while Ellie is doing her best to support Dina and her pregnancy. All Dina wanted was to live with Ellie and baby JJ on the farm, but Ellie was too consumed by her grief and choices. However, Dina comforts Ellie in the theater and is there for her through everything and never leaves Ellie’s until she can’t stand by Ellie’ side. She loves Ellie so much that after watching Ellie choose her path, she reaches her eventual breaking point and ends up leaving her. The farmhouse fight scenes and buildup to the very last shot of the game and direct consequences are fantastic. Like any relationship, their disagreements and reactions to each other’s choices are extremely believable. Though Ellie loves Dina, she does not listen to her. Dina and Ellie really want to build a life together with baby JJ and live out their days with their trauma behind them, but Dina walking out woke her up and told Ellie that Ellie’s life and future was back in Jackson. Ellie coming back to the empty farmhouse at the end of The Last of Us Part II is a gut punch. The dance scene is pure and relatable to anyone who’s ever gone to a dance with someone they loved.
2. Ellie & Joel: A Father Daughter Dynamic
How far will a parent go for their child? Joel is a very damaged man plagued by his past and what he had to do to survive for over 20 years. Ellie is a girl born into the apocalypse, becomes an orphan, and has a sad past of her own. However, the relationship that they develop is beautiful. Both are afraid to suffer loss again, yet they open up to each other over time. He goes from not wanting the past to repeat itself to essentially having another daughter and Ellie relearns how to trust. It is built on a foundation of both sides not wanting to be around each other to later one avenging the other’s death. Watching them bond over their journey is such a treat to experience and very real. Joel’s choice at the end of the first game and the fallout of his choice are the peaks of their relationship. So far, the show has done a great job of filling in some of the gaps in the earlier part of their journey and them getting to know each other while taking its time as well as showing the mirrors of Joel and Ellie’s relationship in other characters. On the night prior to Joel’s fate In the second game, that conversation says so much. Ellie was ready to forgive Joel and did, and Joel went to bed that night happy that Ellie finally was ready to let him in again and ready to hang out with her again.
3. Ellie & Riley: First Love
You never forget your first love. Left Behind, the DLC that takes place prior to the events of The Last of Us Part I focuses on Ellie’s past weeks prior to the events of the game and her time with another girl named Riley. Their interactions are endearing, awkward, and innocent. This is juxtaposed by what happens to them. They are both bit and Riley’s death is a bit vague, but we know that Ellie had to make a big choice. The show is hinting that Ellie had to ultimately shoot Riley and we will be getting more details about what happened. It is clear in both the games and show that Riley’s death left a very lasting impact on both games and show Ellie and her perception of relationships and love.
4. Tess & Joel: Smuggling Partners
Tess and Joel have a very interesting relationship unlike any other characters we’ve seen. They are a pair of smugglers who have known each other for at least a decade. They had some sort of relationship and deeply cared for each other, but were not dating. They both suffered immense loss but found each other and had to keep surviving. The show adds another layer to their relationship that is so human and important. The driving force of this is Tess’ final choice and reaction to Ellie’s secret in both the game and show. Tess is one of the catalysts of Joel’s whole journey.
5. Bill & Frank: Partners
In The Last of Us part I, we know that Bill’s partner was a man named Frank and Joel knew them. However, the show dedicated an entire episode to their relationship. Frank literally falls for Bill and they end up growing old together. The messages of learning how to let someone fully in and be able to live with your true love even in an apocalypse is beautiful. Bill is a paranoid prepped man and Frank appreciates the finer things in life and teaches Bill to do the same. Frank brings out a different side of Bill and their ending is heartbreaking.
You can meet these characters and more in The Last of Us video games available on Playstation 4 and Playstation 5, as well as HBO’s adaptation airing weekly every Sunday.
The Last of Us (2023) Official HBO Max Trailer
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