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Did Joel Make The Right Decision In The Last of Us?

Did Joel Make The Right Decision In The Last of Us?

If you haven’t played this game, turn back now, as this article contains spoilers. After the game The Last of Us came out in 2013, there was one question on everybody’s mind when they rolled credits after killing countless clickers and petting multiple giraffes — was Joel’s choice to lie to his now surrogate daughter, Ellie, and steal her from the hospital the right thing to do? Joel went through some of the most traumatic events that anyone could ever go through while also losing his daughter at the beginning of the apocalypse. So all of that and the fact that he was forced to kill countless people in the presence of another person he grew to love — you can understand his reasoning to an extent.

However, he did rob the world’s chance to find a cure for the cordyceps virus, which would’ve been a substantial success for humanity and the world as a whole. If Joel had never busted into that operating room, then the doctors would’ve never been given a chance to spread the cure around the globe while allowing humanity to reset and start the world over again. Not only would that scenario have saved thousands of people, but it would’ve also prolonged our existence on this planet, along with countless other scientific advancements into the future. It’s a moral decision that comes down to whether you’re selfish and want to save the one you love or if you want to be the good guy and sacrifice the one reminder of your former life for the betterment of an untold amount of people. This debate is what makes The Last of Us so interesting, and it’s been dividing fans for nearly a decade.

There is no way to say definitively whether Joel made the right decision because it depends on each person and their beliefs. The game is a story about humanity, and we can always understand it because we’re the ones who deal with it every day. But for us, it just makes sense, and that’s really special because The Last of Us is the only videogame that’s actually about us. Naughty Dog told an honest story that showed an impressive amount of understanding of what we have to deal with on a daily basis, and that should never be forgotten.

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I believe Joel made the right choice. Maybe that’s because of my soft heart and fear of losing someone close to me, or perhaps it’s due to my nostalgia for The Last of Us and its memorable characters. Whatever the case, he did the right thing despite all the wide-reaching consequences for the thousands of people he didn’t know and will never know; Joel was right. His choice to save his adopted daughter just speaks to me as a loving and caring thing to do after losing his child because of the government and their orders. It also likely leads to Joel finding another wife and starting a new family (let’s not bring the sequel into this discussion). So seeing people in love just makes me happy! It does suck that humanity wouldn’t get another chance to reset because of Joel’s actions. However, the world could still start over because of Ellie's immunity. Wouldn't you take that risk if you could save the one you love?

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After a decade of discussion about The Last of Us, marking the anniversary with such a highly debated topic feels fitting. The game delivered a narrative-driven experience with an honest and gripping story, still leading to moral discussions like this one. But what do you think? Are you on Joel’s side? Or are you on the side of the Fireflies? Well, let me know what you would do or wouldn’t do in this situation down in the comments section.

Jon Wilson

Jon Wilson

Staff Writer

Lover of dogs, video games, and Fall.

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