‘The Last of Us’ Episode 1 Ending Song Meaning

If you’re just like us, then you’re obsessed with The Last of Us. Whether you played the video game at one point or you’re just getting into this world now through the TV series, it seems like HBO’s latest hit is going to be one of the biggest shows of the year, and it’s only getting started. As with every adaptation, there are slight differences between the series and the original…and a big one has to do with the final moments of The Last of Us episode 1. Yes, we’re talking about that song playing at the end. And trust us, you’re going to want to know more about it.

Here’s everything you need to know about Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” in The Last of Us episode 1.

Wait, so that’s the song playing at the end?!

Yes, episode 1 of The Last of Us ends with Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” playing from Joel’s radio as he, Ellie, and Tess leave the quarantine zone and head to Boston. Showrunner Craig Mazin has a very good reason why he went with that track for the final scene of the first episode.

“My wife has an encyclopedic knowledge of 1980s music,” Mazin told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I was like, ‘Okay, Melissa, this is what I need.’ And I literally said all the things you just said. I need it to be a song that I kind of know but I haven’t heard in a long time. One that hasn’t been beaten to death. And I needed it to have context. I needed to be meaningful. I needed to have be foreboding, and ideally, without being super on the nose, give me a comment. I needed to start a particular way so we can show that radio turning on. And then she was like: ‘Never Let Me Down Again.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.’”

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Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again (Official Video)

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But what does it mean?

Well, remember earlier in the episode when Ellie and Joel are back at his place and she goes through his stuff, and she picks up his copy of The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits? As she flips through it, she notices a piece of paper that says:


80 — ❌

hbo max the last of us


Ellie overhears a discussion about Bill and Frank, giving her the first clue of what the “B/F” stands for. She asks Joel what it means, confirming with him that it’s a smuggling code. Depending on the decade of the song that plays on the radio, it could mean that nothing new is in or there’s new stock. But he still doesn’t explain to her what an ’80s song means.

Later on, after Joel wakes up from his nap, Ellie tells him the radio came on and played a song that said “Wake me up before you go-go,” which causes Joel to panic. He freaks and she tells him, “Gotcha. ’80s means trouble,” proving to him that she cracked the code.

Well…as they all leave for Boston, the radio starts playing Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” which came out in 1987…so you can probably guess what this will mean for the future.

PlayStation 4 The Last of Us Remastered

The Last of Us Remastered

PlayStation 4 The Last of Us Remastered

Will we see Bill and Frank in the future?

Slight game and show spoilers, so make sure to turn back if you don’t want to know more…

Last warning! Spoilers ahead!

But yes, Bill and Frank will indeed appear. Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman will be playing Bill while The White Lotus’s Murray Bartlett will be Frank. Bill has been confirmed to appear in episode 3, so you’ll learn more then.

Meanwhile, gaming fans will be surprised to see that Frank won’t just be a corpse, as he is only seen briefly in the first game when we learn about Bill’s backstory. Game and show creator Neil Druckmann confirmed that his story will change in the TV series.

“As awesome as that episode is, there are going to be fans who are upset by it,” he told The New Yorker. “To me, the story we tell is authentic to the world. It’s authentic to the themes that we’re talking about.”

So basically, it’ll still be a departure for fans of the video game and a fun surprise for new fans who are watching the show.


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