This The Last of Us Part 2 article contains spoilers.
Whether you enjoyed it or now, The Last of Us Part 2 will be a game fans talk about for a very long time. Not only does the game’s ending leave a lot open to interpretation but it also features quite a few big twists throughout its 20+ hour story campaign. The biggest twist of all? The second playable character who ends up sharing top billing with Ellie. Her name is Abby (played brilliantly by Laura Bailey) and the first thing you watch her do in the game is kill Joel, one of the most beloved characters in the series.
Joel’s death at Abby’s hand is the game’s most shocking scene, but what happens after this inciting event sets off a chain reaction that leads Ellie and Abby to a violent confrontation in post-apocalyptic Seattle, and it’s one of the bloodiest tales of revenge ever put in a video game. And while the conflict does eventually reach a gruesome conclusion, things aren’t quite so clear cut. By the end of the game, there’s no clear winner. Just people who need to deal with what they’ve done in the course of this grim story.
If you have questions about what happened to Abby at the end of the game and what her ending might mean for the future, we’ve broken down some of the key moments in the final act of the game.
Why does Abby spare Ellie?
Abby and Ellie exist as reflections of each other for most of the game, both trapped in a cycle of violence that won’t end until one of them is dead — or the cycle is broken. During their big confrontation in the Seattle theater, Abby chooses to do the latter. Positioned as the villain of the piece for the first 15 hours of the game, Abby is ultimately the character who chooses to do the right thing and show mercy, even after Ellie has killed off all of her friends.
The decision doesn’t come easy, though. After all, Abby had already shown Ellie mercy once in Jackson when she chose to spare her, even though she knew this decision could come back to bite her later. But killing Ellie didn’t feel right to Abby. Joel had wronged her, killing Abby’s father in Salt Lake City, so he had to die, but Ellie hadn’t done anything to Abby at this point. Even as the “villain,” Abby has a moral code throughout the game.
But when they are reunited in Seattle, things have definitely changed. Ellie has killed Owen, Mel, and Nora, three of Abby’s closest friends. As Abby says as she holds Ellie at gunpoint inside the theater, Ellie had done nothing with the second chance she’s given her. Perhaps Abby is within her right to finally kill Ellie at this point.
So what stops her from putting an end to Ellie’s rampage? It’s Lev, the 13-year-old Seraphite who Abby becomes close to after he and his sister, Yara, help her escape a group of Scars who intend to kill her. When Ellie reveals to Abby that Dina is pregnant just as the former Wolf is about to cut Dina’s throat, it’s Lev who stops Abby from going through with it.
This situation mirrors one from a few hours earlier when Ellie did (unknowingly) kill a pregnant Mel, a casualty that finally convinces Ellie that she, Tommy, Jesse, and Dina need to leave Seattle before things get worse. Hours later, Abby gets to make the choice Ellie didn’t have (Ellie kills Mel in self-defense). Abby attempts to break the cycle by letting Ellie, Tommy, and Dina live, leaving with Lev to go find the Fireflies in Santa Barbara.
Why does Ellie spare Abby?
If, after 20 hours of experiencing the story from both the perspectives of Ellie and Abby, you still felt that Abby deserved some sort of punishment for killing Joel (besides, you know, Ellie and Tommy killing all of her friends), she definitely gets just that when she encounters the Rattlers while searching for the Fireflies in Santa Barbara. The slavers capture and beat Abby and Lev, and by the time Ellie tracks them down in the game’s final act, the two are near death after months of torture and slave work.
When Ellie discovers Abby and Lev tied to poles on a beach, she at first shows mercy, freeing them and helping them reach boats to make their escape. But just as Abby and Lev are going to head out, Ellie sees a vision of Joel’s bloodied face seconds before Abby killed him at the start of the game. It’s at this moment that Ellie realizes that she just can’t Abby go. The only way for Ellie to ever find any peace and return to Dina and her baby J.J. (who she abandons to chase after Abby) is to finally kill Abby.
But Abby had already made her choice in Seattle. She no longer wants any part in this tale of revenge and refuses to fight Ellie. But when Ellie threatens to kill Lev unless Abby stands and fight, Abby agrees to protect her new family.
The fight that ensues between the two protagonists is one of the bloodiest this writer has seen in a video game, as Ellie and Abby punch, kick, tackle, scratch, and bite each other on a gloomy California beach. Abby even manages to bite two of Ellie’s fingers!
Eventually, Ellie overpowers Abby and begins to drown her. Finally, Ellie will get her revenge. But even as she’s seconds away from the catharsis she’s been craving all along, Ellie is troubled by another vision of Joel. This time, she sees Joel sitting on a porch with a guitar. It’s a brief image that pops into her head as Abby begins to go limp underwater.
What does this vision mean and why does it stop Ellie from killing Abby? We learn later in a flashback in the final scenes of the game that this snippet is actually a memory of one of Ellie’s final conversations with Joel where they begin to hash things out after their falling out. Despite discovering that Joel had lied to her at the end of The Last of Us, confirming that he’d killed the Fireflies to save her, dooming humanity in the process, Ellie tells Joel that she’s not sure she can forgive what he’s done but that she’d like to try.
As she’s about to kill Abby, Ellie remembers that she’d once been on the path to forgiving Joel, something she once thought impossible. Can she now do the same with Abby? Can she put the past behind her and move on? Ultimately, Ellie lets Abby go and watches them speed off on a boat to parts unknown.
Where did Abby and Lev go?
Did Abby and Lev ever find the Fireflies? Or was all of that talk a hoax used by the Rattlers to lure people to their turf? By the end of the game, it seems like the latter is the most likely explanation. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Abby, whose future appears to be wide open now, as she sails away with Lev into a fog that seems to symbolize a curtain into a new life.
Where will Abby and Lev go next? I don’t know for sure, but since Abby and Ellie’s stories mirror each other throughout the game, it seems likely that Abby will find a place to settle down with Lev where they can try to live out the rest of their days in peace. Maybe even a farm!
Of course, this being the cruel Last of Us universe, it’s possible that something dark awaits Abby and Lev down the line, perhaps a group Seraphite survivors out to get revenge on them? While Abby’s story seems to be at an end, this was also the case for Joel and Ellie in 2013 when The Last of Us took its final bow. There’s the chance that a The Last of Us Part 3 could revisit Abby and Lev (and Ellie) down the line.
As far as a third game goes, Naughty Dog hasn’t confirmed any plans, and you shouldn’t expect any news on that front for quite some time. In fact, when asked by IndieWire whether a The Last of Us Part 3 was in the works, Druckmann didn’t rule out the possibility of a third game, echoing the comments he made in an interview with GQ, where he said that “the next thing could be a Part 3, the next thing could be some new IP.” That said, Druckmann admitted to IndieWire that he didn’t quite have the right idea for a third game just yet.
“There’s already so many things you’ve seen about the backstory, about how the outbreak happens, so we’d really have to figure out how to create a new experience that matches the emotional impact of these stories and I don’t know what that is. Currently.”
But considering The Last of Us Part 3 has turned out to be quite the critical darling and a financial success — even if not all players are happy with the sequel at the moment — the chances that Naughty Dog will begin work on a third game are pretty good. Let’s just hope that the game finds Abby and Lev in a better place than where we left them.