In the season finale of “The Last of Us” during the giraffe scene, Ellie tells Joel that when their mission is all over and done with, they can go and do whatever they want together. Joel certainly delivers on that promise, giving Ellie a stable place to call home.
In my opinion, Ellie is wise beyond her years. In season 1’s final moment, I believe she knows that there’s something more than Joel’s recounting of what happened with the Fireflies. However, for the first time in her life, she has someone she loves who hasn’t abandoned her or died too soon. By accepting Joel’s lie, she’s giving herself permission to live in peace. Of course, you can’t build upon a relationship based on a lie. Eventually, it will fester and rear its ugly head. But, for a child who has never known belonging, this will have to do for now.
Joel and Ellie made it out alive, but they’ve been forever changed as they decide to make a life for themselves in Jackson together. A new beginning, indeed.