Bella Ramsey’s ‘The Last of Us’ appearance in the season 1 finale

EXECUTIVE | Bella Ramsey

THE SHOW | HBO’s The last of us

THE EPISODE | “Look for the Light” (March 12)

THE ACHIEVEMENT | After the HBO drama’s penultimate episode, many of you were very angry that we didn’t highlight Ramsey’s performance as Ellie got her revenge on predatory priest David. And we get it! Ramsey, who uses “they” pronouns, was fantastic in both David’s death and Ellie’s shocked aftermath. But we had also been lucky enough to watch the series finale, so we chose to save our awards for their fantastic work in the season finale.

And now you can see why. While Ramsey was excellent throughout the episode, we’d like to focus on two key scenes. First, Ellie’s conversation with Joel after their giraffe encounter. After letting Bella’s long-buried childlike joy peek through as he fed the animals, Ramsey met Joel’s suggestion to abandon their journey with patient determination. “It can’t all be for nothing,” Bella said, memories of the pair’s shared tribulations—as well as the people they’d killed—very clear behind Ramsey’s expression. We’re still not quite sure how they made Bella seem both pained, youthfully serious, and wise beyond her years, but we felt lucky to have witnessed it.

Then later, when Joel fought back tears while admitting that he had tried to kill himself, Ramsey’s reactions felt so genuine and spot-on for a) a teenager and b) to teenager. Ramsey made Ellie make only the briefest of eye contact as her surrogate father came as close to saying “I love you” as he was able to. They filled the most indescribable lines (“I’m glad that… it didn’t work out”) with all the “I love you too”s that Ellie couldn’t voice. And then they looked palpably relieved as Joel ended the moving but emotionally awkward exchange by asking to hear some “sh-ty puns” – what a perfect cap to a season of excellence from one of the most dynamic young presences on TV.

Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…

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