In episode 7 of The Last of Us, the focus shifts to the story of Ellie and Riley, with the episode ending leaving Riley’s destiny uncertain. After rescuing Joel and trying to tend to his wound acquired in the previous episode, Ellie begins to recall events from before the start of the series. These events took place three weeks prior to the first episode and delve into Ellie’s bond with Riley.
This story reveals how Ellie was bitten, discovered her immunity, and came into contact with Marlene and the Fireflies. However, the primary emphasis is on her connection with Riley.
The episode concludes on a tragic note, similar to the ending of episode 6, but Riley’s ultimate fate remains ambiguous. Despite the heart-wrenching conclusion, viewers are left wondering what might have happened to Riley.
Does Riley die in The Last of Us?
Riley’s fate is not clear at the end of The Last of Us episode 7. However, since she was bitten by an infected, she eventually must have turned into one. This means she could have been killed by either Ellie or the Fireflies.
The concluding scene of The Last of Us episode 7 features Ellie and Riley battling an infected attacker as a team. However, after successfully defeating the infected, they both realize that they have been bitten and their fate seems bleak.
The episode ends with Ellie and Riley acknowledging their limited time left and deciding to spend it together, going crazy as Riley describes it. While subsequent episodes of The Last of Us reveals what happened to Ellie, the uncertainty surrounding Riley’s destiny remains unclear at the end of episode 7.
Since Ellie is the only known immune character in The Last of Us, it is likely that Riley eventually succumbed to the infection. While there is no official confirmation in either The Last of Us game or episode 7 of the HBO adaptation, it can be assumed that Riley was either killed by Ellie or the Fireflies.
Ellie’s remarks about causing harm to people in episode 4 of The Last of Us probably relate to her relationship with Riley. This could be the reason why she refused to discuss it when Joel inquired.
Do we see Riley’s death in The Last of Us?
No. Riley’s death is not shown explicitly on screen but it is assumed that she succumbed to the infection which eventually led to her death.
Similar to the ending of The Last of Us episode 3, the fate of the characters is not explicitly revealed in episode 7. In episode 3, Frank and Bill’s dead bodies were not shown as a tribute to their story of taking control of their own destiny and to preserve the beauty of their tale.
Similarly, the ambiguous ending of episode 7 adds to the power of the narrative. It is established in previous episodes of The Last of Us that Ellie’s greatest fear is being left alone. By not explicitly showing Riley’s transformation into an infected, the notion of Ellie being gradually abandoned by Riley is even more heart-wrenching.
How Riley’s Death Affected Ellie
Riley’s destiny in episode 7 of The Last of Us has significant repercussions for Ellie’s future narrative. The implications are particularly notable in two areas: Ellie’s survivor’s guilt and her greatest fear, which are intimately connected.
Ellie’s profound fear of being alone arises from her experience of losing or being abandoned by everyone she has ever cared about, a situation that may be linked to her immunity. In the case of Riley, who was Ellie’s first love interest, her death was the first since Ellie discovered she was immune, thereby intensifying her survivor’s guilt.
These factors will likely shape Ellie’s character development and story arc in the series.
Riley’s death is also a significant factor contributing to Ellie’s profound fear of being abandoned. Given that Ellie was an orphan, it is likely that Riley was her primary attachment during her childhood, thereby amplifying the impact of her death on Ellie’s sense of being left alone.
This fear is further compounded by the numerous deaths that occur throughout season 1 of The Last of Us, such as Tess, Henry, and particularly Sam, all of which are a result of infection.
As Ellie is immune to the infection, the guilt of witnessing the death of everyone she cares for around her profoundly affects her mental well-being and drives her to save Joel in episode 7 of The Last of Us. All of these complex emotional states for Ellie originate from Riley’s death.
This is why the series dedicates an entire episode to Ellie and Riley’s story, allowing viewers to understand Ellie’s character almost entirely before the final two episodes of the season.
About The Last Of Us
The Last of Us is an HBO TV series adaptation of the award-winning video game of the same name originally developed by Naughty Dog.
It is set in 2033, as a fungal infestation plagues humans, turning them feral and blind before finally finishing them off. The series follows Joel’s journey to escort an immune 14-year-old Ellie to the Fireflies, who hope to study her to procure a vaccine.
The cast comprises Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, both famed for their roles in Games of Thrones, along with Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandridge, and Nico Parker. The show was renewed for season 2.