'The Last of Us': Episode 7 'Left Behind' answers questions about Riley's death and Ellie's earlier character traits
Spoilers for 'The Last of Us' Episode 7 'Left Behind'
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: We are just two episodes away from knowing the conclusion to 'The Last of Us' story and what the creators will bring in the upcoming season. Episode 7 'Left Behind' just dropped and answered many questions that were unanswered from the start of the season. This episode opens the book of Ellie's life, years before she met Joel. This is a stand-alone episode about Ellie and Riley's friendship. This episode shows a back-and-forth perspective change from Joel being hurt and Ellie rummaging through the medicine cabinet to those memories triggering her and taking her back to a time that was full of happiness, when she and Riley broke their curfew, escaped military school, and went wandering in a mall. But, even though this episode started out on a note that takes you through good memories, it eventually ended in sadness and the duo fighting for their lives.
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Who is Riley?
Although Riley is mentioned in 2013’s 'The Last of Us' game, her story isn't the focus of the show, and the audience didn't get to learn much about her, except in this episode, where we learn that she and Ellie used to be in military school together, and due to some inequality, Riley leaves and joins the fireflies. But who is Riley, and why does her story matter to complete the tale of 'The Last of Us'? Episode 7 'Left Behind' picks up events later. Having left the military school and becoming one of the fireflies, Riley returns one night to visit Ellie. This meeting occurs three weeks before Ellie meets Joel. As in Episode 7, we don’t actually see Riley’s fate. However, we learn that Ellie and Riley both get bitten by an infected in the mall and only one of them survives. Prior to that, we are made to understand the subsequent events: Marlene takes in Ellie and later works to render her to the Fireflies.
Ellie’s earlier character traits
Ellie loses an important person in her life at a very young age. Going through that trauma in the midst of moving to a completely different place changed Ellie and brought up many traits that gesticulated how the pent-up emotions developed into character traits post Riley's death. As in Episode 7, we see how Ellie isn't very supportive of Riley going off and joining the fireflies. Riley's death explains Ellie’s earlier character traits—her rage in Firefly captivity, her compensating humor, and her veiled helplessness. It also explains her motive for seeking a cure: She feels responsible for Riley’s death. We think that this episode was needed to learn more about Riley, her contribution to the story leading to Ellie and Joel's story, her life before she met Joel, how all the occurrences shaped her into who she has become, and how her character will supposedly develop in the upcoming season.
'The Last of Us' is exclusively available to watch on HBO Max.