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The Last of Us Episode 7 Recap breaks down everything you need to know about episode 7 of The Last of Us.

On this week’s episode of The Last of Us, we finally meet Riley and spend a heart-rending night at Liberty Gardens. For this week’s The Last of Us (TLOU) recap, here’s what we loved about The Last of Us episode 7.

Where to watch The Last of Us

The Last of Us airs Sundays on HBO and HBO Max at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PDT. Read our HBO Max review to learn more about the streaming service.

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The Last of Us
“Left Behind”

The Last of Us (HBO)

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Let’s go to the mall

Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid sitting by a countertop in HBO's The Last of Us.
Image courtesy HBO.

What’s better than one devastating love story episode per TV season? How about two?

In this week’s episode, we finally meet Riley (Storm Reid), Ellie’s best friend who was briefly mentioned in episode 1. If last week’s episode gave much of the spotlight to Pedro Pascal, this week’s standalone episode was a similarly stellar showcase for Bella Ramsey.

After checking in with Joel and Ellie, we flash back to Ellie’s time at FEDRA’s Boston military school. It’s not hard to see signs of current-day Ellie (putting her bully into the infirmary). Still, Ellie’s greener in other ways: she’s not jaded about FEDRA, she hasn’t killed anyone, and—like any teenager—she’s learning how to express her feelings.

Riley and Ellie’s mall date builds up to their kiss in the Halloween store, but it also continues to fill in the margins of Ellie as a character. We’ve already spent ample time with Ellie as a hardened post-apocalyptic survivor. But as we follow Riley and Ellie playing Mortal Kombat II and goofing off around the mall, the levity’s a nice reminder that Ellie was, at one point, a carefree teenage girl. We won’t understand the depth of Ellie’s survivor’s guilt if we don’t see the peaks of Ellie and Riley’s friendship.

As Riley, Storm Reid more than holds her own alongside Ramsey. Despite Riley’s limited presence before this week, it’s easy to believe that Riley’s more worldly than Ellie while being as much of a teenage girl as she is.

And after the Stalker bites them, Riley’s resolve eventually calms Ellie as she rages through the Halloween store. Death’s inevitable in TLOU, but as with Bill and Frank’s pact, Ellie and Riley’s relationship gives them the strength to face death on their terms as they get “poetic and lose our minds together.”

The Last of Us episode 7 easter eggs: how did Riley die in The Last of Us?

Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid sitting on a carousel in HBO's The Last of Us.
Image courtesy HBO.
  • This week’s episode takes its name and story from The Last of Us: Left Behind, a 2014 spinoff chapter from the original TLOU game. As in the show, Riley eventually succumbs to her Stalker bite off-screen.
  • Riley was first introduced in The Last of Us: American Dreams, a 2013 comic book series that filled in Ellie’s backstory before TLOU.
  • Along with Savage Starlight and No Pun Intended: Volume Too sightings, Ellie and Riley pass by a movie theater playing Dawn of the Wolf Part 2. In the TLOU games, the fictional movie—which Joel describes as a “dumb teen movie”—nods to franchises like the Twilight series.

The Last of Us episode 8 preview

On next week’s episode of TLOU, Ellie finds a group that’s offering help, but things might be more complicated than they seem. (For TLOU game fans, we’ll get an on-screen appearance from Troy Baker, who played Joel in the games.)

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