The Last of Us has previously hinted at Ellie’s survivor’s guilt, but this week’s episode pointed out why Ellie’s so afraid to be left behind. Episode 7 dived into Ellie’s origins, taking us three weeks before Episode 1, where she was with Marlene and the Fireflies.
The audience saw how Ellie regained her friend Riley and had a fun day out of the Boston QZ, but in the end, lost her first love to the Cordyceps infection. The episode focused on their relationship and how Riley was the first to die soon after Ellie learned of her own immunity and thus began her guilt and fear of losing everyone, she holds dear.
The show’s decision to focus on Ellie’s past must’ve shocked viewers since Joel was essentially on his deathbed at the beginning of the episode, but I think this was the perfect time to show Ellie’s first loss.
Ellie hadn’t faced any losses to the Cordyceps virus before Riley, and after spending so much time with Joel, he’d become the most important person in her life. So, as she hesitates to take up Joel’s advice to leave him and move on, she thinks of Riley and decides she will never leave someone she loves behind ever again.
The episode didn’t exactly reveal what happened to Riley after the two girls were bitten or how Marlene came to rescue Ellie, but we have enough dots to start connecting.
Riley doesn’t share the same miraculous blood as Ellie and thus must have turned, and considering Ellie telling Joel that Hunter wasn’t her first kill, she probably shot Riley to relieve her from a damned existence as one of the infected.
The Fireflies assigned Riley to get some supplies, which Marlene and the others must’ve come in search of, and instead learned of the child who could be the key to humanity’s cure.
The episode ended with Ellie finding a way to stitch Joel’s wound and prevent further blood loss, giving him a fighting chance to live. Episode 7’s ending establishes that both Ellie and Joel are now highly motivated to keep the other alive, and it’s not because of fear of being alone or for some possible cure but because they care for one another.
The preview for the next episode shows Ellie meeting David, who will give her the antibiotics she needs to save Joel. But gaming fans know David and James will spell trouble for the duo in the last two episodes of season 1, and it’ll be exciting to see how the show interprets this story.
The Last of Us will return with a new episode on HBO Max next Sunday!
About The Last Of Us
The Last of Us is an HBO TV series adaptation of the award-winning video game of the same name originally developed by Naughty Dog.
It is set in 2033, as a fungal infestation plagues humans, turning them feral and blind before finally finishing them off. The series follows Joel’s journey to escort an immune 14-year-old Ellie to the Fireflies, who hope to study her to procure a vaccine.
The cast comprises Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, both famed for their roles in Games of Thrones, along with Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandridge, and Nico Parker. The show was renewed for season 2.