The Last of Us once again took a touching detour into the past, but this time around, Ellie (Belle Ramsey) was the focus of the episode as the HBO series adapted the “Left Behind” DLC from the video game. In the flashback tale, which occurs shortly a badly-wounded Joel (Pedro Pascal) tells Ellie to leave him following last week’s cliffhanger ending, viewers get to see Ellie as a FEDRA trainee whose rebellious streak has her on a one-way ticket to nowhere. However, when the head of the training school recognizes Ellie’s untapped potential and intelligence, he offers her a path to becoming an officer.
Ellie accepts the offer, but she’s still haunted by a feeling of loneliness from her missing roommate and closest friend Riley (Storm Reid). That loneliness is short-lived as Riley sneaks back into the FEDRA facility to reunite with Ellie and take her for a fun-filled trip to an abandoned mall. After having a teenage night of exploring a strange past and their true feelings for each other, Ellie and Riley’s escape from their post-apocalyptic reality comes crashing down when they’re attacked by a Clicker.
Despite Ellie dispatching the infected with a brutal stab to the head, the girls discover they’ve both been bitten. While we know that Ellie will survive, she doesn’t know that she’s immune and neither does Riley. As far as the two are concerned, they’ll be turned into infected within hours. With time running out, the two hold each other until the very last second.
The show jumps back to the present where Ellie is about to leave Joel as he instructed, but decides against it after remembering her final moments with Riley. (Ellie also revealed earlier in the show that her greatest fear is being alone.) With a new determination, she ransacks an abandoned house and finds thread to stitch Joel’s wounds. She races back to sew him up, and this time, he doesn’t tell her to leave. Ellie quickly gets to work, and it’s clear from her efforts that she’s dead-set on not losing someone she loves again.
The Last of Us airs new episodes on Sunday on HBO.