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HBO’s The Last of Us Episode 7 Spoiler Free Review

Series Premiere: January 15, 2023
Starring: Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey
Episodes Commissioned: 9
Studio: HBO

Left Behind...

The Last of Us is truly entering its crescendo with palpable anticipation. The end game is upon us and anxieties are at an all time high between the two. Joel's fatal wound has impacted his ability to take care of Ellie. It was hinted earlier in the series that the youngster would like some independence, despite having Joel as her guardian. It's now without choice that Joel lets Ellie take the lead and make the imperative choice to save him, or let him die alone. The harsh reality of this alternate existence is many die without loved ones - a terrible fate that hits harder once one of our main characters are threatened with this outcome. After the closing moments of "Kin" (Episode 6), the panicking pair are stranded in an abandoned house, where Ellie scrambles to help Joel from bleeding out.

Joel insists she continue without him, however the headstrong teen denies his request until she's explicitly told to go and re-join Tommy, not before shoving her down. A teary Joel is left covered with his jacket while Ellie makes the tough decision to leave him. Ellie begrudgingly trudges up the staircase toward the building's exit where she hesitates, while we're transported back before Ellie was bitten. While civilisation was still deep in the effects of the cordyceps outbreak, military lead orphanages house children and young adults, educating them on becoming members of the force. While boarding, Ellie seemingly had a tumultuous relationship with others that provoke her into fights. After an altercation with another student, Captain Kwong decides not to discipline Ellie, rather deliver a teachable moment for her in how she can overcome the unfair abuse she receives.

We’re taken to Ellie’s dorm, where she prepares to sleep while an intruder enters the room. Ellie knocks them down to reveal a returning Riley, was pulling a prank on Ellie but then reveals to a recruit for the fireflies. The pair argue before Riley convinces Ellie to join her on a night out. Covertly sneaking through the monitored streets, Riley guides Ellie toward the abandoned Mall, where it’s rumoured to be infested with infected. Boarded off, the building has one entrance with the pair scaling multiple rooftops to eventually access. Riley surprises Ellie by powering on the indoor shopping estate, promising four wonders. Ellie’s social inexperience shines through within each fascinating feat the pair engage in, including a pair of escalators – something she had never encountered. Riley goes on to surprise Ellie with a working carousel, a photobooth where they take some snaps, and the main attraction of it all, an intact arcade with some of the cleanest cabinets I’ve seen survive an apocalyptic event. 

Albeit, it was certainly a treat seeing Ellie’s eyes light up as she gazed upon an authentic Mortal Kombat II arcade cabinet. I have to say, seeing this within a TV series based on a video game is very meta, and I was all for it. However, ignorance is bliss in the eyes of a youngster thinking everything was absolutely safe. This night would preface this entire story and its reasoning where Ellie and Riley would spend their last night together. A rollercoaster of emotions from happy to sad were turbulent, and without question heart breaking to those that know the outcome to this arc. It goes without saying that this is the plot point that ultimately showcases Ellie’s way of life in a nutshell, with an ending that gives viewers a desperate moment that Joel had been trying his best to avoid, yet yearned for.

Noteworthy Mentions...

  • This is the episode we see Joel and Ellie becoming a de-facto adoptive father-daughter. A moment of hesitation turns into a highly emotional act of heroism on the part of Ellie.

  • Left Behind’s narrative is given the spotlight with a great retelling that doesn’t re-tread, rather delivering viewers imperative cliff notes on Ellie’s backstory and how close of a friendship she had with Riley.

  • Unlike the video game, we’re given a glimpse of schooling in the age of the cordyceps outbreak and how students are turned rookie militants.

  • The simple things in life are certainly taken for granted, but are a shining beacon of hope for kids within this universe. They crave anything that gives them an escape, and it’s a sad sight but a sweet relief to vicariously experience.

  • Congratulations to Neil Druckmann, on his first solo credit as head writer for the series. Druckmann and Craig Mazin had co-wrote the first and last episode, but this was Druckmann’s first ever television credit as a solo lead writer.

The Last of Us is an upcoming American post-apocalyptic drama television series created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for HBO. Based on the 2013 video game of the same name developed by Naughty Dog, the series will follow Joel (Pedro Pascal), a smuggler tasked with escorting the teenage Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across a post-apocalyptic United States. It will feature Gabriel Luna as Joel's younger brother Tommy, Merle Dandridge as resistance leader Marlene, and Anna Torv as Joel's smuggler partner Tess.

Summary: Wikipedia

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