I have a really hard time taking these criticisms seriously.
Furthermore, the whole setup-confrontation-conclusion argument you brought up hinges on you accurately identifying the story elements. You say that the story is all backwards and mixed up and doesn't make sense. But there are hundreds, if not thousands of revenge stories that are written with a similar type of setup.
You say that we need to see Abby's story before we see her kill Joel, but do we really? We PLAYED the first game. We know how bad Joel is. For all I care, the first game IS Abby's exposition.
Joel is a villain- Despite bonding with him, or liking him, or even agreeing with his actions. Joel is a villain.
TLOU is great game specifically due to how the narrative induces compassion for Joel's journey.... If you honestly need more exposition to understand Abby's motives at that part of the game, then I'm afraid to say that it's pretty obvious why. You didn't understand the last of us.
Playing through it myself, I was also surprised that Abby was out for revenge. I wrongly assumed that since she was kind of normal and I had been playing as her, she would be a good guy. What's more interesting is that even now, I can't think of a reason to say Abby was wrong to kill Joel. AFAIK, Abby's story begins 4 years earlier when Joel kills her father. AFAIK, Abby could actually be the hero of her own story, climaxing with her killing the target of her vengeance. If you think about it, Ellie's journey in TLOU2 is Abby's exposition. Abby is just Ellie from the future, if you understand my meaning. The difference being that Abby didn't spare her target and Ellie does.
The way you described how the story should have been written, we should have played out an entire story of Abby's revenge and then played out Ellie's revenge. Honestly, I can't think of anything more tedious or boring than having to play out the same plot twice.
You are merely projecting your logic into the matter but don't really have anything concrete to back that up. It's not that Joel cannot trust people, but it is clear he does not let his guard down that easily. Case in point, when Joel meets Henry and Sam. It took them a while before he completely trusted them. For Abby and her friends, it was almost instantaneous. Why he did so is everyone's guess.
However, I kinda see what they may have wanted to portray with this current Joel. Joel has or is trying to move on. His house was filled with things that he likes. He seems to be respected by the people in the town judging by all the flowers people left at his home. Seems like he may be trying be a better person. Not just to Ellie but to everyone else. But without having anything solid to bridge us from TLOU1 Joel and the current Joel, it comes out severely lacking in context and just forces people to formulate theories. I enjoy a story that has a continuous flow. These flash backs served nothing but just force context to conveniently support the events that was happening or is about to happen. It's also one of the things that hurts the pacing so bad.
If you are having a hard time taking the criticisms pertaining to Joel's death seriously, a lot of people are way ahead of you as people like me can't take anything in this game's story seriously with how bad it is.Last edited by iron_megalith - on 25 June 2020