Even after all the violence he commits, Marlene gives Joel one more chance to do the right thing in the parking structure. She begs him to see her perspective, that the entire future of humanity is at stake. But for Joel, stubborn and set in his ways as he is, his decision has already been made. “He shot her [Marlene]. She already can’t chase him,” Neil Druckmann said. “He’s got the car, and he still goes back for her because he can’t even take the chance that she will regroup, change her mind, and come after him.”

No matter how deplorable, Druckmann always tries to make an effort to empathize with his characters and avoid casting judgment on their actions. As a parent himself, he wrote Joel with a piece of his own soul, which is exactly what a strong storyteller should do — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any personal lines of justice for the creative. Druckmann elaborated:

“And that’s the part where I think when people sometimes ask me like, ‘Do you think Joel did the right thing or the wrong thing?’ Like, for me, I always say, ‘I hope I would have the willpower that Joel has in that same situation.’ I don’t think I would. Except for the Marlene part. To me, that’s the part where he goes too far.”