The Last of Us 2 is apparently up for more interpretation than we first thought, as tiny detail sheds new light on the game’s ending. 

Before we get into it, be aware that the following contains full spoilers for Naughty Dog’s PS4 sequel, so don’t scroll down before completing the campaign for yourself. 

The detail has come to attention after Twitter highlighted a perspicacious YouTube comment online, suggesting that The Last of Us 2 ending isn’t as unhappy as it seems at first glance.

That’s right: while it may look as though Ellie returns from Santa Barbara to an empty farmstead where Dina has left her, this scene in fact appears to take place after our anti-heroine has returned to Jackson first, and mended relations with her partner, evidenced by the bracelet seen on her right wrist. 

This small detail completely re-contextualises our understanding of the scene itself. Ellie isn’t surprised to find her loved ones gone; she’s saying her final goodbyes to Joel, comfortable in the knowledge that she can move on with Dina, J.J., and the rest of her family in Jackson. 

It makes the ending much more hopeful, and arguably even more resolute than we first realised, and letting Ellie go from any potential repercussions of her foolhardy revenge quest to California. 

Naughty Dog has yet to confirm this is the correct interpretation of The Last of Us 2’s curtain close, and I doubt it ever will, but it’s certainly one that I’d like to believe in, purely as a way of knowing that baby J.J. has both his parents raising him on good terms. 

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