Episode 7 of The Last Of Us begins with a blood trail leading straight into an abandoned house. Joel is not in a good way but he convinces Ellie to leave. Ellie does no such thing, covering him up with a coat and heading upstairs to grab some supplies.
We then skip back in time to see Ellie’s backstory. She’s doing gym with her Walkman, but when a girl called Bethany rips it off her head, the pair end up fighting. Captain Kwong shows and questions Ellie’s behaviour, admitting she has several choices in her future. She either becomes a delinquent or she can become an officer and use that power in a more constructive way. “We’re the only thing holding this zone together,” He says, going on to admit Ellie has leadership potential.
In the middle of the night, Ellie’s friend Riley sneaks in through the window and confronts her. She’s been gone for 3 weeks and Ellie is not happy at her absence. Riley admits that she run away and now that she’s back, Ellie is shocked that Riley has become a Firefly. She wants Ellie to head out with her and promises the best couple of hours of her life. Ellie sighs loudly before eventually getting changed and slipping out.
Evading FEDRA guards, Ellie and Riley end up finding some alcohol and they drink together. Riley also mentions her initiation story for joining the Fireflies, including how the guards are fascists and her disdain for them was enough to convince Marlene and the other Fireflies that she should join their cause.
The pair eventually end up in the old abandoned mall. Ellie is incredulous, believing the place is crawling with Infected. Riley though points out that’s not the case and besides, the place isn’t really sealed off anyway. Ellie follows Riley’s lead, who brings her into the mall where she switches on all the lights. A beautiful, electric parade just for them.
The pair have a great time, doing photos in the booth, playing on the carousel and messing about in the arcade, playing several rounds on Mortal Kombat II. In fact, the duo are so engrossed in what they’re doing that they don’t realize the place has an unaccounted for Infected that happens to be waking up, tendrils spread across the ground.
Apparently Riley has been living in the mall for a while, given there’s a sleeping bag and a whole bunch of gear in the back. The good mood soon turns sour when Ellie finds a whole bunch of homemade grenades in the back. It’s here that Ellie realizes that Riley has been lying to her.
Riley reveals that she was actually posted to the Mall by the Fireflies. It’s only a temporary spot though, as she’s being carted off to a posting in the Atlanta QZ in the morning. Riley wants Ellie to join her though as this is her last night in Boston. This whole charade at the mall was Riley’s way of saying goodbye.
Ellie and Riley end up dancing around on countertops with masks on. This eventually leads to the pair kissing and solidifying their feelings for one another. However we suddenly see something that’s absolutely shocking. That’s right, one of the Infected! It’s a rare sight in this show I know, but it comes at Riley and Ellie, leading to Ellie stabbing it in the head.
Unfortunately, Ellie ends up bitten as a result, while Riley too has a scratch across her hand. As the pair weigh up their options and decide what to do, we cut back to the present.
Ellie stitches up Joel and does everything she can to help him. However, he’s fading and needs antibiotics.
The Episode Review
While I appreciate the desire to adapt the Left Behind DLC and flesh out the story for Ellie a little more, it also highlights one of the biggest problems with this show – the pacing.
It also doesn’t help that in our show about the infected, we’ve seen the Clickers once, had a cameo appearance from one Bloater and have rare instances of the Infected dotted across maybe 3 of the 7 episodes so far. That doesn’t exactly ratchet up the tension or suspense and even shows like The Walking Dead balanced its drama with zombie action. The trouble is, the game isn’t anything like this laborious TV adaptation, managing to masterfully blend action, drama and strong themes.
By comparison, the show feels disjointed with two filler episodes that could be taken out completely and not lose anything. Don’t get me wrong, episode 3 was a great chapter with plenty to like, but episode 7 by comparison has very little to it. Sure, we see Ellie and Riley hang out for 50 minutes, discussing the pros and cons of the Fireflies, but beyond that there’s just nothing to this chapter at all.
In fact, compared to other shows in the post-apocalyptic field, The Last Of Us wouldn’t even make a top 5 in the field right now. We’ll have to wait and see if the remaining episodes can stick the landing.