The Last of Us' season finale will surprise people — but not the way you think

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us season finale trailer
(Image credit: HBO via YouTube)

The Last of Us season finale is one of the biggest TV events of the weekend, and we've just spotted a reason to expect a fair bit of surprise. While gamers know one potential reason to be particularly amped up, this finale's runtime could create a moment that will remind some of one of the best HBO Max shows of all time.

But don't worry, we're not going to reveal any details of the iconic ending to the game version of The Last of Us up here, above our spoiler warning. As I told a colleague in our Slack: "I would never." But the big surprise — at least if is to believed — is that The Last of Us is going to create a massive record-scratch moment.

Remember how The Sopranos just ... ended? Well, The Last of Us, a series made up of episodes normally around an hour in length, is scheduled to have a 45-minute season finale.'s schedule entry for The Last of Us season finale shows its 45 minute runtime.

(Image credit:

And if the series follows the game, more on that below, we anticipate some people will think something went wrong with HBO Max.

Check out the trailer:

And a reminder: The Last of Us season 2 is confirmed. All signs point to the series mirroring the games, as the show that's aired so far feels pretty close (at least in terms of its overall narrative) to the structure of the first The Last of Us game. So, that means we should expect The Last of Us season 2 to match The Last of Us Part II

Curious about what all this means? I'll explain it below based on how The Last of Us Part I (the game's new name after it was remastered) ended. This may or may not require a spoiler warning, but we'll place one here to err on the side of caution.

If you haven't played the game, or know what happens in it, I wouldn't recommend you go further.

An image indicating spoilers are ahead.

Analysis: A shorter The Last of Us season finale could be a perfect fit for the ending

So, you're ready for potential spoilers, right? Well, here's how The Last of Us Part I ends. Joel and Ellie, having reached the Fireflies who are working on the cure, are knocked out. Joel wakes up to realize that Ellie's in surgery, and that she'll have to die in order for the doctors to harvest the material they need for the potential cure. 

Joel doesn't accept this, and goes on a rampage to free Ellie. You can watch it all in this video:

Once Ellie wakes up, in the back of Joel's car, he lies to her and says that there were a lot of people who are immune, and that they've stopped looking for a cure. He's driving them home, and apologizes.

The very last scene of the game sees Joel and Ellie hiking on a mountain, where she tells him about Riley, and suspiciously asks him about the incident with the Fireflies they just left. Specifically, Ellie says, "Swear to me that everything you said about the Fireflies is true." 

Joel replies "I swear," and Ellie — looking like she knows he's lied — simply says "Okay." And the game ends right there. If The Last of Us on HBO Max mirrors this ending, gamers will know that it's gone according to plan. But those who don't know may be wondering what the heck happened.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.