Last night’s finale of the ‘Last of Us’ masterfully carried us through what is supposedly the dark side of love. We follow Joel’s chilling transformation from a kind soul, hard-hit by the Cordyceps apocalypse, into a killing machine on a mission. The murders he commits on his trek to save Ellie provide emotional blow after blow as we are kept faced with the monstrosity of his madness and questioning if it is love that would drive him to completely disregard for the entirety of humankind.
But, spiritually speaking, what spurred Joel’s fall into the darkness was not love. Love has no negatives to it. Love is not privy to dualism. Love just is. What affected Joel was his mind getting caught in its inability to process the trauma of losing yet another young girl again, as he did his daughter. Joel’s mind wanted to control the situation and, ultimately, made him take control at all costs in the name of “love”.
In that sense, Joel is no different than the cordyceps he hates.
The show’s creators believe the dichotomy of what Joel did out of “love” and what he should have done is what made the narrative of the video game that the show is based on so beautiful. But this outlook is incorrect. In reality, this is about the struggle between the mind and the soul.
Love has nothing to do in any of that.
What is happening is that Joel is caught in a mind game whilst inside a video game.
The beauty is in the irony.