In the seventh episode of The Last of Us, while Ellie tries to save Joel, the show goes back to the time she lost her best friend back in Boston. The episode is now streaming on HBO Max.
Ellie takes Joel to an abandoned warehouse, where she attempts to find a way to save him. Joel instructs her to leave him behind and ride north to Tommy. Joel even pushes her away to prove that he is serious about this. She puts a coat on his freezing body and walks away.
The show cuts to the past. In Boston QZ, Ellie is listening to her Walkman during a training session with a group of teenagers. A girl named Bethany grabs her Walkman and orders her to pick up the pace.
Ellie says she doesn’t want to fight her. Bethany then reminds her that she never fights; her friend does the fighting for her, but she isn’t here anymore. After hearing that, Ellie ends up fighting Bethany and is sent to Captain Kwong’s office.
For the past few weeks, Ellie has been acting worse. Since punishments aren’t working, Captain Kwong explains to her the importance of what they are doing here in the QZ. They are basically holding humanity together.
Ellie is given two choices: she can continue acting like this and end up in a dump, or she can follow the rules and become a leader someday. After hearing Kwong out, Ellie chooses the second option.
At night, Ellie is visited by her friend, Riley, who has been missing for the last three weeks. Ellie is disappointed that Riley ran away and didn’t even tell her. Apparently, Riley is the friend who fights for Ellie.
Riley reveals that she has joined the Fireflies after being asked where she has been. She promises Ellie that she will tell her everything, but first, she needs to come with her to someplace special.
Riley shares that it’s high time that Ellie should choose who she should fight; she just can’t fight anyone. On their way, through the small windows and buildings, they find the dead body of a drunken man. They grab his drink before he could fall from the floor.
It is revealed that Riley has lost her parents. The first time she saw dead bodies was when her parents died. Riley also tells Ellie how a woman recruited her into the Fireflies after watching her sneaking around at night and easily avoiding the guards.
After hearing Riley’s thoughts on fascist FEDRA, the woman immediately offered Riley a position in the Fireflies. Ellie, on the other hand, argued that maybe Riley doesn’t know everything about FEDRA.
On their way to their destination, Riley and Ellie bicker about whether FEDRA is really here for the good of everyone. They reach their destination, which is a mall.
It was believed that the mall was full of infected people, but it isn’t. When FEDRA started providing electricity to some apartments, the mall got connected too.
Ellie is surprised to see a colorful mall for the very first time. She goes crazy over the escalator, which she calls electric stairs. Riley, on her side, has a full night planned for them.
Including the escalator now, there are five wonders of the mall she plans to show Ellie. They observe how some shops are full of supplies and others are empty.
Riley says her mother told her that when the outbreak began, people looted everything they really wanted. The second wonder Riley intends to show Ellie is the carousel.
The carousel is working. They hop on it and share a moment. When it stops, the conversation circles back to Riley joining the Fireflies. Riley likes to think that Fireflies can liberate this place because they have already successfully done that in other QZs.
If Riley stays here in FEDRA, Kwong is going to assign her the worst jobs possible, like sewage detail.
They head to the next two wonders. They click photos of themselves in a photo booth and play Mortal Kombat II in the arcade games section.
What they don’t know is that an infected is coming alive in a nearby doll section. After playing a few rounds and coming close, Ellie says that she needs to go back.
Riley makes her stay by telling her that she has a gift for her. She takes her to a taco restaurant where Riley has been staying and shows her the gift, which is ‘No Pun Intended Volume Too’.
They read jokes from that book, and Ellie soon discovers a handful of grenades there. Ellie then sums up that Riley hasn’t brought her here to have fun; the Fireflies have posted Riley here.
A furious Ellie heads back home. Before she could leave, Riley discloses that she is being sent to Atlanta QZ. The leader of the Fireflies, Marlene, won’t allow her to take Ellie, and therefore, she wanted to see Ellie one last time and say her goodbyes.
Ellie expected something more from her. She continues to walk away but gives this a second thought. She comes back and hears someone shouting.
Upon following, she finds out it is a prank by Riley. It’s the fifth wonder, a jumpscare mechanism from a Halloween-themed shop.
Riley is desperate about having a family again, which she thinks Ellie won’t understand. The Fireflies accepted her like family. She is sure about going with them.
Ellie accepts her decision. The two wear masks and dance along to Etta James’ cover of ‘I Got You Babe’. After dancing for a few minutes, they take off the masks and lock a kiss. Ellie continues to convince her not to go.
Their heartfelt moment is interrupted by an infected. They battle that infected together and even manage to kill him. Unfortunately, they both get bit in the process.
The two now know about their impending fate. Rather than killing themselves right away, they decide to stay together and live for the amount of time they have until they turn.
In the present, Ellie goes through the warehouse she is at, hoping to find something that will help her save Joel. Eventually, she comes across a needle and thread, which she uses to sew Joel’s wound.
- The Last of Us primarily shines not because of its thrills, the infected, or the post-apocalyptic world that it portrays. It shines because of the relationships that it depicts in the world of the infected.
- Ellie and Riley’s relationship receives the same treatment as Henry and Sam’s and Bill and Frank’s. In a single episode, they connect with the audience like no other.
- One can easily cross out this episode as a filler, but you just can’t miss the joy this episode gives. There is a lot of nostalgia, and watching Ellie discover some of the normal day-to-day 21st-century things for the first time continues to be amusing.
- Lastly, apart from diving deep into the story of the last person Ellie lost, the episode also puts forth a discussion of whether the FEDRA is right or the Fireflies are. Ellie and Riley’s discussion suggests that they both don’t know everything about either of these organizations, yet they are choosing sides.
The Last of Us season 1 episode 7
Also Read: The Last of Us season 1 episode 6 recap & review: Kin