Ashley Johnson Playing Ellie’s Mom In The ‘Last Of Us’ Finale Has A Deeper Meaning

Intense spoilers for “The Last of Us” under!

Ashley Johnson supplied an exquisite, full-circle second for “The Last of Us” followers.

The actor, who rose to fame taking part in Chrissy on the Nineties sitcom “Growing Pains,” performed the mom of Ellie (Bella Ramsey) within the Season One finale of the HBO drama Sunday night time.

And within the online game from which the present is customized, Johnson voiced a reasonably important character, sequence co-creator Craig Mazin defined in an “Inside the Episode” video for HBO Max.

“Here we are at the end,” Mazin mentioned about Johnson’s opening scene within the season finale. “And we go all the way to the very, very beginning of Ellie. Which is her mother, Anna, played by Ashley Johnson, who is the true beginning of Ellie because Ashley played Ellie in the game.”

Yup, that’s proper — Johnson voiced Ellie within the 2013 “Last of Us” online game, and bought the chance to play the character’s mother within the HBO adaptation.

“There was a special level of it for me, to play the mother of this character that I care so deeply about,” Johnson advised HBO Max in the identical video.

“There’s this genetic connecting between the two Ellies we know,” Mazin advised HBO. “And this moment connects them together.”

The opening scene of Episode Nine is a flashback sequence, the place we see Johnson’s character pregnant and operating via the woods, making an attempt to evade a fungal zombie that’s chasing her.

Ashley Johnson within the Season One finale of “The Last of Us.”

Johnson’s character finally seeks refuge in an previous farmhouse, and whereas strolling up the steps to discover a place to cover, she realizes she’s going into labor. She finds an previous nursery, barricades the door and holds a knife in preparation for an assault. When the contaminated breaks down the door, she fights for her life and finally stabs the zombie within the neck, killing it.

Soon after, Johnson’s character offers start. But she notices that she’s been bitten, which suggests she’s gotten the present’s cordyceps an infection and can quickly flip right into a zombie. Realizing this, she shortly cuts her umbilical wire with the identical knife she used to kill the zombie, in an try and maintain the an infection from spreading to her child.

She then picks up her new child, and as she holds the crying toddler, she appears to immediately grasp her daughter’s character. She says: “You fucking tell ’em, Ellie.”

This is when viewers understand they’re watching the story of Ellie’s start, and that the scene may vaguely clarify Ellie’s distinctive immunity to the cordyceps an infection. This origin story is just not included within the recreation, and introduces brand-new info to followers of the sport and the present alike. Neil Druckman, the sport’s creator and the present’s co-creator, advised The Hollywood Reporter that this scene is a “hint” as to Ellie’s immunity, and offers “some theories as to why Ellie [is] immune, even though we don’t answer that conclusively.”

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Marlene (Merle Dandridge) holds baby Ellie in Episode Nine of “The Last of Us.”
Marlene (Merle Dandridge) holds child Ellie in Episode Nine of “The Last of Us.”

Later within the episode, Ellie’s mom’s title is revealed to be Anna, when her lifelong good friend Marlene (Merle Dandridge, who voiced the identical character within the recreation) finds Anna within the farmhouse’s nursery. Anna is holding child Ellie with one hand, singing to her, and holding a knife to her personal neck with the opposite.

Anna lies to Marlene and tells her Ellie’s umbilical wire was lower earlier than she was bitten. Marlene then agrees to hold out Anna’s dying want: that Marlene kill her, save Ellie and provides Ellie Anna’s knife. Fans of the present and the sport will know that Ellie grows very connected to this knife.

Johnson advised The Hollywood Reporter that she was “shocked” and “burst into tears” when she was provided the position of Anna within the HBO adaptation. She defined that voice and motion-capture actors concerned in video video games “aren’t usually brought along to be part” of a TV or movie adaptation.

“Being able to still be a part of this story and this world and to also be the first character that fights for this character to live means the world,” Johnson mentioned.

Johnson additionally mentioned it’s been a “surreal” expertise watching another person play a personality she as soon as portrayed. But she mentioned she’s been “blown away” by Ramsey’s efficiency, and that the younger actor’s character embodies “the essence of Ellie.”

“There was a moment when Joel [Pedro Pascal] had finally given Ellie the gun,” Johnson mentioned. “She gets this look on her face where she starts smiling because she feels so cool but she’s also trying to keep it under wraps. Like, ‘I’m chill about this.’ I took a video of it and sent it to Bella and I was like, ‘Dude, this is hilarious.’”