The Last of Us episode 7 continues its stride with yet another excellent episode – a flash back sequence of a time where Ellie lived a normal life that very quickly turned sideways. We see what triggered this transition as Ellie tries to save a mortally wounded Joel. Storm Reid who plays Riley does a phenomenal job in showing the chemistry she has with Ellie, keeping up with the same acting caliber as Bella Ramsey. There are highs and lows that flows into tranquility, only to be ripped from you with tragedy, even if some great elements were missing in this episode that was present in the game.
The Moment that Struck
Episode 7 continues directly after the events of episode 6 where Joel is stabbed by a hunter with a broken bat. Ellie manages to drag Joel to a nearby town for safety. We then see Ellie panicking to figure out how to stop the bleeding. This moment is special because we don’t see this in the video game – and Joel thinks this is his last moment and pleads Ellie to leave and turn back to Tommy. This tension leads Ellie to turn away and right before she leaves, we transition to moment in her life that pretty much defines who she is now.
Here, we see an Ellie in military school being a misfit, something we all could have anticipated – you can tell she doesn’t feel like she fits in. Ellie is then ridiculed for beating up a person who antagonized her – which the officer then tries to convince Ellie to stray from this self-destructive path to “do the right thing,” for the sake of humanity. If you remember, FEDRA is a totalitarian group who seeks to dominate and control everyone in the QZ with their misguided governance. But Ellie is convinced they’re the good guys.
Then we get introduced to Riley, the best friend who Ellie thought was dead – since she was gone for over 3 weeks. You can sense the history they have together, the tough Riley is a total contrast to introverted Ellie – both filled with uncensored dialogue. And so, the real turning point begins.
The Hidden Wonders of the World
What I loved about this episode is the sheer production value – everything from the dilapidated streets to the harrowing halls of the mall is made with such intense detail, it feels like this world is actually happening – I loved every aspect of it. The moment when the lights turned on, Ellie’s eyes lit up with pure wonder – the innocence that she managed to act out was so endearing, Bella Ramsey truly has been knocking it out of the park. I was blown away by the look of the arcade, damn near 1:1 to the video game. It was nice to have the Mortal Kombat machine actually work – whereas in the game, the arcade was busted, and Riley had to explain it to Ellie, which prompted a mini-game. Additionally, all the easter eggs like the Dawn of the Wolf poster gave it several nice touches. This is all coupled by the overflowing chemistry Riley and Ellie was showcasing – it was genuine and felt as though they actually spent time together. It was rich and utterly familiar and faithful; I just couldn’t get enough.
When the carousel stopped working, it made me feel so sad for them – that moment of solidarity and peace could have gone forever – but it was also a way to continuously remind the audience a recurring theme: all good things will come to an end. My only issue with the show was the absence of the water gun fight and the man with the horse, who Ellie learned to ride from.
Throughout the episode, Ellie and Riley shared their opinions about the Fireflies and FEDRA with Riley assuring Ellie that they are not killing innocent people or blowing up areas where people were populated. We soon find out that may have been a lie. This is coupled with the revelation that Riley is leaving the QZ, which upsets Ellie – the raw emotion of betrayal and abandonment is very much present, which reinforces the moment when Ellie told Sam that her biggest fear is being left alone. Moments after was a devastating end to an excellent episode that I would rather leave to the viewers discretion.
REVIEW SCORE: 9/10
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