5 things that don't make sense in the 'The Last of Us'

  • "The Last of Us" season one finale aired on HBO on March 12, but I still have questions.

  • There are still a few confusing elements of season one that puzzled viewers.

  • Warning: Major spoilers ahead for season one of "The Last of Us."

How confident were the Fireflies, really, about extracting a cure from Ellie's brain?

ellie in the last of us laying, unconscious, on a surgical table, wearing only a hospital gown and with bare feet. around her stands a team of doctors and nurses, all wearing blue srubs, caps, face masks, and gloves. the doctor in the front is explaining himself to someone, holding his hands up
The Fireflies prepare to remove the cordyceps from Ellie's brain in "The Last of Us."Liane Hentscher/HBO

Marlene doesn't exactly reassure Joel about the certainty of the Fireflies' doctor being able to develop a cure from Ellie's immunity, despite the fact that surgery to remove the cordyceps in her brain will certainly kill her. The leader tells Joel that the doctor "thinks" he could develop a cure after operating on Ellie — and clearly, that's not good enough for him. Even it it was certain, it likely wouldn't be good enough.

But ultimately, the entire process seems a bit rushed. Why go directly to killing Ellie? Did the doctor conduct any other tests to determine whether or not the chemical messengers that prevent Ellie from infection could be replicated without directly extracting the fungus? Ultimately, the lack of certainty undercuts the severity of Joel's decision. Of course he would save her.


Why didn't we get more Joel and Ellie solo time?

joel and ellie in the last of us. they're sitting at a dining table inside a large wooden cabin lodge, eating soup, drinking water, and looking very seriously to the side
Joel and Ellie in episode six of "The Last of Us."Liane Hentscher/HBO

One of the most puzzling elements of "The Last of Us" was how little time it devoted to its most important relationship. It wasn't until episode four, when the pair drove from Bill's town to Kansas City, that we got a significant amount of solo time — in fact, it felt like we knew much more about Bill and Frank's relationship rather than the protagonists Joel and Ellie's.

As a result, crucial developments in Joel and Ellie's relationship, like Joel calling her "baby girl" when he finds her again in episode 8, felt a bit hollow.


Where did everyone in David's town go while Ellie was hacking him to pieces?

TLOU 108, The Last of Us season one, episode eight Joel and Ellie
Joel finds Ellie in episode eight of "The Last of Us."Liane Hentscher/HBO

David and Ellie's final confrontation ends with her slashing him over 20 times with a meat cleaver as the building around them burns. Mysteriously, though, no one from David's group comes to his aid — in fact, after Ellie's captured, it seems like everyone other than David and James has evacuated. Joel doesn't seem to run into any resistance in the town either.

While it's not difficult to imagine a reason, it's a bit bizarre that all of David's followers — suspicious though they may be — are suddenly gone.

Where is Riley getting her box braids done — and where was she getting the hair?

riley in the last of us. she's forlorn and sitting with her back to a display case, her hands clasped in front of her. she has blonde hair styled in braids, with a headband over her hairline.
Storm Reid as Riley in "The Last of Us."Liane Hentscher/HBO

Riley, Ellie's childhood best friend, comes crashing into her life again in episode seven after joining the Fireflies. She also, as multiple viewers pointed out on TikTok, has blonde microbraids, a protective hairstyle that can be time-consuming to get done and sometimes includes hair extensions.

That raises some questions, namely where Riley got the added hair, who did it for her, and how many ration cards she spent to get it done in the Boston QZ.

Why did Tess think it would be best to send Ellie to Bill and Frank's?

tess in the last of us, looking very serious as she crouches in front of ellie with one hand resting on her knee. she has several small cuts on her face
Tess, played by Anna Torv, in episode two of "The Last of Us."Liane Hentscher/HBO

In episode two of "The Last of Us," Tess uses the last moments before she turns to command Joel to bring Ellie to Bill and Frank's, saying that they'll "handle it from here." Joel insists that the couple won't take Ellie into their custody nor get her to the Fireflies — which, from all that we learn about Bill in episode three, seems true. In the game, Tess instructs Joel to bring Ellie to his brother Tommy, reasoning that he'll know where Ellie needs to go.

To be fair to Tess, at this point she knew that she was moments away from death and likely wasn't thinking too clearly. But it's a bit of an odd change from the game that seems primarily designed to set up episode three, which focuses on Bill and Frank's relationship.

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