What Happens In The Last Of Us Part II?

HBO's The Last of Us has wrapped up its first season and the hit series has already been renewed for season two. It's unclear when the show will be back with more episodes but what we do know is that it will cover the events of the second video game in the series. The Last of Us Part II was a controversial title when it was released in 2020, which we'll get into later, and for anyone that isn't ready to wait for the new episodes we're going to dissect what happens in broad strokes. Full Spoilers for The Last of Us Part II will follow.

Released seven years after Naughty Dog's original game, The Last of Us Part II picks up not too long after the events of the first game. Having returned to Jackson, Joel confesses to his brother Tommy what he did in Salt Lake City to the Fireflies, confiding the truth in him and swearing him to secrecy. For the bulk of The Last of Us Part II the plot is set about four years later, with a now 19-year-old Ellie having firmly established herself as a permanent member of the community in Jackson along with Joel. She has friends, romantic partners, and takes patrols to make sure their town is safe from infected.

Joel's big moment in The Last of Us Part II

The primary driving incident of the game however stems directly from the ending of The Last of Us. Introduced near the start of the game is a new character, Abby, who is clearly working with friends to reach Jackson. After being ambushed by infected, Abby is saved by Joel and Tommy, which is when the trap is largely sprung and this new character's intentions are revealed. One of the many people Joel killed in The Last of Us' final minutes, perhaps the most important one, the doctor that was intending to operate on Ellie, had a daughter of his own...Abby. Now having found the killer of her father, Abby takes things into her own hands, and kills Joel. Through a matter of necessary narrative circumstance, Ellie happens to be present too and sees it all happen.


This becomes the big plot driver for the game, sending Ellie on another cross-country trip in search of revenge. After figuring out that Abby and her friends came from Seattle, Ellie and her new girlfriend Dina make the trip to the west coast in search of the people that wronged her. Their pursuit begins as a favor to Maria, as Tommy has already left before them with the same quest in mind, but as their journey continues Ellie's thirst for vengeance begins to consume her. Ellie's journey through Seattle sees her killing a lot of people, including many of the people that helped Abby get to Jackson, only for her eventual confrontation with Abby to trigger a twist in the game.

The Last of Us Part II's surprise playable character

Right after Abby and Ellie finally meet, The Last of Us Part II flashes back to when Ellie first arrived in Seattle but has players actually play as Abby in the game and follow her journey in that same time frame. This eventually leads to the confrontation with Ellie and forces players to go up against Ellie in a boss fight. This, coupled with Joel's death, made The Last of Us Part II incredibly controversial upon release to some fans of the series. While playing as Abby, players found themselves in a story not unlike Joel's from the first game (complete with taking in a young character under their wing). As a result, those that perhaps had conflicted feelings about playing as Joel's killer find themselves the subject of a lot of introspection; hopefully wondering why they had no problem playing as a tough-as-nails, no-nonsense killer in the first game but were uncomfortable with it in the second.

For the most part, The Last of Us Part II is told largely in a non-linear fashion. Elements of Ellie's story, and even Abby's, are peppered throughout the gameplay with the full picture not even fully visible until the conclusion. One of the biggest reveals, about halfway through the game, is that Joel and Ellie had become estranged after she returned to Salt Lake City and figured out he had lied to her at the end of the first The Last of Us. The final piece of the puzzle doesn't happen until the end of the game, when Ellie relents on her quest to kill Abby and actually lets her live. Distraught and broken, Ellie recalls the last conversation she had with Joel, wherein they began to reconcile and she told him that she would forgive him, all of which happened the night before he was killed.


That's the big story beats of The Last of Us Part II. We left out some details to help preserve some of the story because it is best experienced in some way or another; be it the game or the eventual episodes of the TV show. How will The Last of Us TV series handle all of this though? Luckily that's for the show's creators to decide, but one thing they've already indicated is that the storyline of The Last of Us Part II is perhaps too big for just one season of TV.

"I think that the amount of story that remains that we have not covered would be more than a season of television," series co-creator Craig Mazin previously told io9 about future seasons. "So assuming we can keep going forward, the idea would be to do more than just one more season. But this isn't the kind of show that is going to be seven seasons."

The Last of Us Part II earned a lot of praise at the time of its release for how it combated with player perceptions and ideals, forcing you into new points of view to further challenge you. When it comes to the television series it will be interesting to not only see how they handle this in an entirely different storytelling medium, but what parts of the game's story they will choose to alter, or even expand on.

It is worth noting though that the first season of The Last of Us TV series has already begun to plant seeds for the storyline of The Last of Us Part II. Elements of the city of Jackson were introduced in the TV show that weren't actually seen in the game, and the tease of a couple of characters has also already happened. You can learn more about that below.