The Last Of Us episode 7 dives into the story that video game fans have been waiting for – that of Ellie and Riley. Told initially in the DLC for The Last Of Us, viewers get to explore how Ellie was bit, her first love, and a really cool look at an abandoned mall.
Starts in the Present
The Last Of Us episode 7 starts off following a blood trail that ultimately ends at a house where Ellie has managed to bring Joel inside. He is bleeding pretty badly and eventually musters a few words, telling Ellie to leave him and go to Tommy. She puts a jacket over him and reluctantly leaves. As she walks away, we see a tear leave his eye.
When Ellie reaches for the doorknob to the outside, viewers are sucked into a flashback, where we spend most of our time in this episode. It starts with Ellie in military school. She has a walkman, which a girl grabs while telling her to pick up her pace. When Ellie threatens her, she mentions that her friend is no longer there to protect her. Ellie’s response? Punching her right in the face, which she is sent to the Captain’s office for.
He explains that she is heading down the wrong path, but he sees potential in her. He tells her she has two options. She can become a grunt and do grunt work, or she can be an officer. He sees the leader in her. She chooses the officer path.
Cut to Ellie in her room reading comics, and a quick camera pan shows that there is another bed, albeit empty, in the room. She goes to sleep, and at 1:53 am, someone opens the window and covers her mouth, startling her. It is Riley. This is where game players will be thrilled yet heavy-hearted, immediately knowing what is to follow.
Ellie asks where she has been these three weeks that she has been missing. Riley tells her she ran off and joined the fireflies, but since she is there, is Ellie ready to have the best night ever? Ellie says no at first, clearly upset that Riley had left her behind. She uses the excuse that she has drilled in a few hours where she learns to kill…fireflies before deciding to go out with Riley to a surprise destination.
Along the way, they find a dead body, which Riley says wasn’t there yesterday. He has a bottle of booze which they take, and then he falls through the floor, which startles them both. They drink from the bottle, having difficulty swallowing it because they are not used to alcohol.
Ellie asks Riley why she joined the fireflies. She explains that when Ellie was in the hole, she snuck out. A woman approached her and asked what she thought about Fedra. Riley was honest and said they deserve to be the ones who are punished. And then she was asked to join the fireflies, so she did.
The Abandoned Mall
Ellie and Riley jump across roofs until they get to an abandoned mall. Ellie tells Riley she is out of her mind – they sealed it off for a reason. Riley points out it’s not sealed off…. and they climb in through the roof. Riley tells Ellie to go down the hall, through a door, and then wait. When Riley flicks the breaker switch, Ellie sees all the lights of the stores and signs turn on and is in awe of it. Riley explains that she planned a night for them with the wonders of the mall.
When they get to the escalator, Ellie is in complete awe. She has never seen moving stairs before. Ellie asks if it’s the first wonder, and Riley says sure, why not? Riley tells Ellie to close her eyes as she takes her hand to lead her through the mall. Finally, they get to a carousel which she turns on. As they ride on it, they drink some more.
Riley explains that she got her Fedra assignment for her 17th birthday, and she got assigned to sewage detail. That is part of the reason she wanted to leave. Riley confesses that Ellie is the one thing she misses from that place, and Ellie smiles.
They are now two wonders down and three to go. Ellie wonders how it gets better than a magical horse, and then Riley brings her to a photo booth where they take pictures together. Next up is an arcade packed with games they can play because Riley broke open the coin machines.
They find Mortal Kombat II (which they had the poster of in their room at the QZ). The two play and have a blast together. However, all good things must end, and the camera pans out and goes down the hall to a toy store, where we see an infected person stuck to the wall. Suddenly he wakes up, and things become a lot more ominous.
Ellie Gets Upset With Riley
Ellie finally wins a round, and the two get very excited and close – almost kissing, but the moment is interrupted when Riley says it is time for the next thing. Ellie, who is clearly annoyed and maybe a little worried, says it is getting late, and she needs to return. Riley says they have a few hours still, and Ellie says they will resume the fun tomorrow, which Riley ignores. Instead, she convinces Ellie to stay a little longer by telling her she got her a gift. They head to the food court where Riley has been sleeping, and we discover that the gift is the pun book.
The two laugh and giggle as they go through it, but Ellie finds a pile of pipe bombs. She asks if Riley made them, to which she replies yes. Ellie figures out the fireflies posted Riley at the mall and gets mad. Riley tells her they posted her there initially, but now she is heading to Atlanta in the morning. All she wanted with her last night was to see Ellie. She even says she asked Marlene if Ellie could come but was told no.
Ellie says goodbye and walks down the hall and out of the mall. However, she starts to cry and goes back in. As soon as she opens the door, though, she hears screaming. Ellie runs after the sound until she enters a Halloween store. It turns out it was a decoration screaming, and Riley says, surprise, quietly. This is the fifth and final wonder.
The two talk. Riley says the fireflies chose her, and she matters to them. Ellie says she mattered to her first. First, Ellie asks if she is sure about leaving, and Riley says yes. Then, Ellie says you’re my best friend, and I’ll miss you. Riley says the night is not over yet, and she has one last thing planned.
Let’s Lose Our Minds Together
Riley gives Ellie a werewolf mask, and she puts on a clown mask. She plugs in Ellie’s walkman, and the two dance on the counters. Ellie takes off her mask, and so does Riley. They get close, and then Ellie says to not go. Surprisingly, Riley agrees. The two then kiss. All seems right in the world until the infected man comes in, clearly brought there by the music.
There is a bit of a struggle, but eventually, Ellie is able to kill the infected with a knife through the head. When they should be celebrating, Riley starts to cry, pointing out they were both bit during the fight.
The cinematic choices at this point are brilliant. Viewers flash between seeing Ellie looking for medicine and supplies for Joel in the present day and breaking things in the mall while Riley sits there and watches.
Ellie asks Riley what they should do now, and Riley says there are two options. Option one is the easy way out. It is quick and painless. However, she doesn’t like that option. Option two is to keep going. It’s not over yet; they can live and be together until they turn. Riley says they can lose their minds together, which is quite poetic. Ellie asks what option three is as the two hold each other and cry.
Cut to the present day, where Ellie finds a sewing kit and runs downstairs to Joel. He’s in bad shape but still alive. She holds his hand, cleans his wound, and sews him up.
This was a much-anticipated episode of The Last Of Us, and while it arrived sooner than expected, it really delivered. Here we get to explore the relationship between Ellie and Riley. We learn much about her past, including how she got bit and her first love.
This episode feels like it is ripped precisely from the video game, with very few minor changes, and while most players will love this, some might find it redundant or slow. It truly feels like we have already seen it because, well, technically, we did. We even played it.
This episode will surely be a standout of the season for those who have not played the game and do not know the story. The show finally explains things to first-time viewers they did not know. We are excited to see where this goes from here, with just two episodes left.