Ok, so the simple answer is probably no.
A huge thank you for checking out the video… I’ve been Paul, and I’ll see you next time.
No, so I think that most people probably have a bit of a complicated relationship with The Last Of Us Part 2. I was someone who read the leaks when they first came out, and though I wasn’t suggesting old yeller Naughty Dog, I was pretty disappointed with the way things were going.
It almost put me off playing, but I gave the game a chance, and in the end, I did end up liking it, even if I wished that the story hadn’t started off with Abby doing a Tiger Woods impression on Joel’s beautiful…beautiful head.
After the first episode was released, I ended up going back to the game, and after playing through it, a key theme stuck out to me. I think most people see the game as a story about how an eye for an eye mentality leaves both people blind. It definitely shows that, but I think there’s also the often overlooked theme of forgiveness.
But can we forgive Abby?
The Last Of Us Part 2: Who Is Abby?
Well, that’s what I want to discuss in this video, and I also want to go over how I think they should handle the character in the second season. Ever since the show’s release, there’s been the constant conversation topic of whether they should go the way they do in the game, and that got me thinking of the best way to use her character.
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Now the creators of the show are extremely lucky because they know the kind of backlash that they got from the game. This hindsight allows them to understand what people liked and now the kind of backlash that they got from the game. This hindsight allows them to understand what people liked and didn’t like and adjust the show accordingly to counteract the inevitable backlash.
Just last week, the face model for Abby said she still gets sent hate mail over it, and because of this, I do genuinely feel bad for the person who gets cast as her in the show.
So how should the series bring her in to avoid this?
Well, personally, I think that the game already gave us the answer. I think I speak for most people when I say that playing Abby allowed you to see things from her point of view, and most people who hated her probably started to see why she did what she did.
The Last of Us is the only game I can think of where you actually played as both the hero and villain, and it’s a framework that really allowed you to see things from her perspective.
So that is the key, and instead, I think that the second season should actually be all about Abby and her story rather than doing it the way that we saw things play out in the game.
Now before you turn off the video, let me explain why.
On paper, Abby is very much the hero of her own story.
Framed from her point of view, she is the person getting revenge on her father’s killer, who brutally murdered him, killed most of her firefly family, and also destroyed humanity’s chance of getting a vaccine. Had we not played as Joel in the first game, then we would very much be rooting for Abby from the get-go because, on paper, Joel is one of the biggest pieces of s**t in the world. However, we have played as him, so we totally get why he did what he did, even though there will be people who don’t condone it.
Because we saw things from his perspective, we at least understand, even if we don’t agree, and I want to see this employed with Abbie as well.
Now, I think the best way to make audiences root for Abbie is to hide the Joel reveal from those that don’t already know it.
Therefore, newcomers don’t have this bias and want to see her fail because they don’t know.
I also think it would be a massive gut punch for viewers to follow Abby on her journey, root for her the whole time, and then, in the last scene, make us realize that she was actually hunting Joel the entire time. It would be a complete “oh sh*t” moment that would completely mess with the heads of the audience, who had no idea what was coming. Those that had been rooting for her the entire time would suddenly have to question what side they were on, and then they could see Joel’s death play out, basically making it the Red Wedding of the series.
Season three could then show things from Joel and Ellie’s side, and after his early death, we could follow Ellie on her quest for revenge and the eventual arc that happens in the game.
Now that all ties back to the key question of whether we can forgive Abby or not?
I think it’s an important question too.
What the game is really asking us is if someone killed the person that we loved could we let it go or would would let our quest for revenge consume our lives. That’s very much what Ellie wrestles with, and in the third act of the game, she’s presented with a choice.
She can either let things go and stay on the farm with Dina and her child or go get revenge on Abby. She chooses the latter, even after Dina says she’ll leave her if she goes and does it. Ellie simply can’t let go, and because of this, she loses out.
It shows how the need for vengeance always takes over, gives you tunnel vision, and causes you to lose what’s most important to you. It always reminded me of the saying, If You Seek Revenge, You Should Dig Two Graves. You will lose out no matter what, and thus, I think that Ellie’s entire arc is about forgiveness.
Now, this is very much mirrored in her relationship with Joel as well.
In the game, we learn early on that the pair are no longer on speaking terms because she found out the truth about the fireflies. Ellie ends up kissing Dinah in the Tipsy Bison, and at this point the bartender shouts some homophobic insults. Joel ended up stepping in and punching him, which is when Ellie started to see Joel as the protective father that she once did.
That night, the pair ended up speaking to each other, and Ellie said that, though she can’t forgive him just yet, she is going to try.
Now, this scene actually plays out at a key point in the game, and it happens during the final battle between Ellie and Abby. For the third act, you play Ellie as she hunts her down and finds that she’s been captured by slavers along with her sidekick Lev. The musclebound woman she once was is no more, and she’s a shadow of her former self due to malnutrition and the backbreaking labor she’s been subjected to.
Ellie ends up fighting her, and even though this is the final boss, it’s pretty one-sided. You can probably beat Abby with one hand tied behind your back, and it’s in this moment that Ellie realizes what she’s doing. She sees this cycle of violence that is going to repeat with Lev, and it likely means that she’s going to be hunted herself one day.
Now, this is a motif that’s also repeated in Abby, and after the fight in the theater, she does have the opportunity to take Ellie and Dina out.
However, after Lev begs her not to, she stands down and lets them live.
She very much forgives Ellie, even though she’s spent the last couple of days hunting her friends down.
Now, this is very much reflected in Ellie at the end, and whether you think it works or not, I think that we’re very much meant to be put in the position where we too forgive Abby.
What Does Abby Do To Joel In The Last Of Us Part 2?
Joel was a character that we all became very attached to when playing that first game, however, like Ellie, I think a lot of us have learned to let it go and accept that The Last of Us Part 2 is, well, The Last of Us Part 2.
I still see people to this day dropping videos about it, and when the face models start getting sent hate mail, you start to think, is this worth becoming an asshole for?
After this recent playthrough of The Last Of Us Part 2, I really started to see Abby in a new light, and Ellie along with her. She was a character that I was always there with and someone that I rooted for throughout the first and second games.
In the end, she ends up forgiving Abby, and it really made me realize that I probably should too.
Though I absolutely hated seeing Joel get killed in the way that he did, the world that the creators built was ripe for this kind of thing to happen.
The people in this world don’t get to choose when they live or die, and whether we admit it or not, Joel did a lot of bad things.
This was very much his comeuppance, and we have the choice over whether to still hold a grudge over it or be like Ellie and accept that unfortunately that’s what happened but we won’t let it destroy us too.
Now, whether you forgive her or not is something entirely different, but I hope at the very least that this video has given you something to think about in regards to it.
Also, I realize I’m coming across as a bit holier than thou by being like, “Oh, you can’t forgive Abby, but I can,” but I think it elevated the second game for me to realize that I was very much going on the same arc as Ellie was.
Fictional characters and our attachments to them are weird as they don’t exist, yet when they’re killed off, we very much feel like a real person has died.
It’s a weird sensation, but it shows just how well crafted these stories are.
Anyway, hopefully this has given you a deeper appreciation for the second game, and obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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If you want something else to watch, then make sure you check out our breakdown of the perfect scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming. We break down the entire thing, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you want to know more.
With that out the way thank you for sitting through the video, I’ve been Paul and I’ll see you next time. Take care, Peace