We dig into Ellie’s fate as Joel lays dying in a random basement, and we get a visual of why his attempt to abandon her was so devastating.

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We dig into Ellie’s fate as Joel lays dying in a random basement, and we get a visual of why his attempt to abandon her was so devastating.

Aired (HBO) February 26, 2023
Director(s) Liza Johnson
Writer(s) Neil Druckmann
Newly Noted Characters
Riley Storm Reid
Previously Noted Characters
Joel Pedro Pascal
Ellie Bella Ramsey


This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Go On, Save Yourself – Joel, Ellie

While Ellie was able to get Joel to somewhere relatively safe and has the potential to be warm, that doesn’t lessen the fact he was stabbed and is in immense pain. In fact, he is ready to die and tells Ellie to head back to Jackson, live life with Tommy and forget about him.

This isn’t an option for Ellie, even though, at first, you may think she is considering it.

The Best Last Night – Riley, Ellie

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Storm Reid as Riley at the mall
“Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Storm Reid as Riley at the mall,” The Last of Us, “Left Behind,” directed by Liza Johnson, 2023, (HBO)

This isn’t an option for Ellie because Joel might be the person she has gotten closest to since Riley. Now, who is Riley? She was Ellie’s best friend from back when she was at a FEDRA school in Boston. She was older, cool, always ready to fight someone for Ellie, and was a master at sneaking out. But, the last time she snuck out, she was gone for three weeks, and Ellie thought she was permanently gone.

The truth? Marlene found her, recruited her, and she became a firefly. Why? Well, Riley has always been critical of FEDRA, and with her about to turn 17, which means she’d get her work assignment and getting assigned to something dealing with sewage? She was given every reason to abandon FEDRA but didn’t want to abandon Ellie.

Hence her coming back for her hoping they might have a proper goodbye. One which will be at the mall, which recently got access to the restructured power grid, and from the arcade to a Halloween store, and giving a pun book, Riley had a whole evening planned. But, sadly, between seeing the bombs Riley was tasked to make and realizing this is a goodbye, the night sours. It perks up when they share a kiss and realize there are reciprocated feelings, but no sooner than having that bliss, a clicker appears and bites both. Leaving Ellie set off on the journey she’s on now, and Riley’s fate being sealed but not shown.

Once Was Bad Enough – Ellie, Joel

Being that Ellie has only known true loss once, and that was with Riley, she has no desire to experience it twice. No, Joel and Riley aren’t the same, as they offered Ellie two different relationships. Riley was Ellie’s first crush, love, and kiss. Joel is her first parental figure, father figure, and has given her a sense of family which may require some level of denial, since he tries to maintain the idea she is simply cargo, but this is her chance to prove herself. By taking care of him at his lowest, that should seal the deal, so as much as protecting and sewing up Joel’s wound is about their mutual survival, it is also the best way she can knock down his final walls and be let into his heart.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Is it at all weird that Ellie and Riley, who were three years apart, were into each other? I get things are different in the world of “The Last Of Us,” but that’s like a junior or senior liking a freshman. Even without us knowing what kind of power dynamics there are, it is hard to not think of their crush as weird, mainly due to their age difference.
  2. Surely Joel needs more than for the wound to be sewed up externally, right?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Ellie is likely going to be holding down the show for at least one to two more episodes.


Notable Performances or Moments

Bella Ramsey As Ellie

While some certainly may have questioned choosing Bella Ramsey for Ellie, at this point, if you are a detractor, it is personal and not because of her performance or talent. At this point, we see more than the strength of Lyanna Mormont, her “Game of Thrones” character. We get a well-developed depiction of a young girl living in a post-apocalyptic world. One where some guy, or rather girl, isn’t something she revolves around.

No, it’s about survival, and while, yes, it has hardened her, at the same time, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t seek out opportunities to be soft, a kid, and find levity. The issue is, the opportunity is few and far between, and Ramsey goes nails going from this wannabe tough kid to someone who just wants to let their guard down.


Knowing What Happens And Still Crying

Riley’s death still messes me up. Yes, I played the game and knew it was going to happen. But that doesn’t take away the flirting, knowing this was one of Ellie’s first significant relationships, romantic or platonic, and it ended right when it reached a peak. That hits hard, and then pair that with Joel ready to give up and die and Ellie is desperately trying to keep him alive? It is a lot to process.

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Bella Ramsey as Ellie sewing Joel up
The Last of Us: Season 1/ Episode 7 “Left Behind” – Recap/ Review
Episode 7 exemplifies seeing is believing, and though Ellie has told us how she felt about losing people before, seeing one of her life's loves get a death sentence really drives the point home.
Bella Ramsey As Ellie
Knowing What Happens And Still Crying

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