The Finale (Fan Creations)

by Korny @, Dalton, Ga. US. Earth, Sol System, Monday, March 13, 2023, 11:29 (435 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by Korny, Monday, March 13, 2023, 11:32

It flew by. Everything just went so quickly when he went terminator on everyone

These are the words of someone I know who had not played the game. I for one agree. The finale dropped the ball. It did not work and unraveled it all.

Funny. My brother has not played the game, and hates the post-episode "recaps" that explain the creator's intent with the episodes (he literally walked out of the room after every episode so these summaries would not manipulate his own thoughts on the episode).
And yet, he understood how the show emphasized Joel's biggest character flaw throughout: his selfishness and willingness to manipulate his loved ones for his own gains. For as rushed as the episode was (and boy was it rushed), it did almost every character justice, except, sadly enough, Ellie.

Now, I haven't played the game in a while so my recollection might not be exact, but I think the criticism still holds here. Joel does indeed go 'Terminator', and the lack of emotion here is just ridiculous. I recall getting to Ellie being difficult; in the show it should have been possible only through sheer will and desire to save her. Also, the coldness of it all really came off very differently than the game. Before it felt like an act of despair. Now? Kind of… psychopathic. As a viewer I don't know if I'm 100% behind Joel the way you were when it was you playing. I mean shit, he just executes Abby's dad immediately.

Now, I HAVE played the game several times, and recent enough that I still have emotional context (and with the bonus hindsight offered in Part II), and I think the show did a good job establishing that Joel is a monster for what he is doing, especially since the show creates a more compelling explanation for how the "vacccine" works. It's feasable, and Joel, in his selfish refusal to lose another daughter, slaughters the world's last hope in order to hold on to her. It is truly psychotic, and the coldness with which he straight up murders people (even the ones who stand down) is captured perfectly.
That said, the game gave you way more time to bond with Ellie, and gave you way more "unimportant" scenes to get you to love her (I had a talk very recently about how the very last comic book in the game's collectathon for Ellie is found during Spring's emotional high point, coming after a tough fight with multiple bloaters, and after you get just comfortable enough that the bright and cheerful Ellie is back! And literally moments before it all comes crashing down and she drowns for Joel.
Knowing that the Fireflies who find you and knock you out before you can see or hear her awake and safe again made it much easier to kill them just for a chance to get that moment with her again does add a sense of "desperation" to the slaughter, but remember that this is where the game gives you your first fully-automatic rifle, and with plenty of ammo to boot. You are given the tools to make the rampage easier, and the body count higher. It is psychotic. Despair would have been if you had to claw tooth and nail to get to her, but the game itself made it explicit that that wasn't the case. It was always meant to be a bloodbath (and as Part II established, Joel wasn't the only one with something personal to lose here).

What was a gut punch in the game goes by just like another action scene, as does their conversation in the end.

The true gut punch, act of desperation, and emotional weight, funny enough, was what happened after Joel's rampage. It was picking Ellie's unconscious body, and running blindly through the halls as Fireflies swarmed and blocked any possible exit while they shouted about trying to get a clear shot at you. In this segment, you are unarmed, you are lost, and you have Ellie at her most vulnerable. This is the moment that broke me during the game. It was the "what have I done? What am I doing? What do I do?" thoughts running through my head as I clung to Ellie, knowing that I was actively robbing her of her life's purpose, but knowing I needed to escape with her alive.

And yet, that was cut entirely from the show, skipping right to the last chance moment of making things right.

Let down pretty hard IMO. But needlessly so. They wasted 2 episodes. The DLC episode just never should have happened. And while Bill and Frank's story was amazing on its own, it took too much time away from the main relationship. I really think it could have worked if things didn't have to happen at warp speed.

While I agree that Left Behind didn't need to be an episode, I don't think it deserved to be cut. I think they messed up by making Riley noticeably older than Ellie, but it did a number of things right, down to setting up how the Fireflies had Ellie in their possession in the first place. I think the biggest problem was that HBO gave them 10 episodes to work with, they trimmed it down to 9, and should have had 11. Winter and Spring being a single episode each was a huge mistake, while giving the Hunters an extended focus was well-meaning, but mishandled in the two episodes with them. That should have been time spent with the cannibals instead (and they should have included the section where Ellie had no choice but to build trust with David in the sawmill. It would have also reminded us that the infected are an ongoing concern, as they otherwise completely disappeared after episode 5. And would have endeared viewers to David, as the show has us completely on guard against him the entire time

As with all things, running a script through a third person to tighten up characters, dialogue, and interactions would have done wonders for the show, but as far as adaptations go, I've seen most people very happy with the show. It always comes down to "We know better", having played the game, but it's otherwise a very successful adaptation, and I loved Ashley Johnson's entire scene.

Also, did you catch Laura Bailey's cameo in the show? A very fitting place for her, all things considered. :)

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