The thing with Marlene was "if I let you live, you will come after my surrogate daughter, so I'm going to kill because this is how I solve problems". Ellie is literally the only relationship Joel that has had in twenty years that wasn't built on survival or money, she's the only thing that really mattered to him by the endJeyl said:I think the bigger picture here is that regardless of how strong, intelligent and "take charge" the women are in "The Last of Us", Joel is the character who dictates how everything happens. Tess just dies at the first quarter, Marlene is outright murdered by Joel on the possibility that she would go after Ellie, and Joel lies to Ellie about the fireflies. Does she press him further about it? No. She's just like "ok" and we're left with the impression that this is the end and regardless of what Ellie really thinks doesn't matter, because Joel got his way.
All this talk about the women being capable doesn't mean jack if Joel is the only character who decides how things are going to go down, and the way he wants things to go down is essentially a big "fu** you" to every man, woman and child who are still susceptible to this fungus plague.
And the way she said "OK" it was obvious to me that she knew Joel was lying or at least not telling the whole truth, but she didn't want to push it.
As for Tess, she's more of a driving force than you give credit for. She pushes Joel to take Ellie to the Fireflies after all, and sets up the job in the first place. Before that the way Joel acted around her made it clear he was the muscle to her brains of the outfit