The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann has spoken about the latest episode of the show, explaining why the kiss between Ellie is Riley is such an important moment for them as well as setting up the larger views on sexuality within the context of the series.
The recent episode of The Last of Us adapted a beloved DLC from the first game, Left Behind. The narrative provided a look into Ellie’s life before meeting Joel and told the story of how she was bitten, infected, and then discovered she is immune to the virus.
As one may expect, the tale is tragic, largely due to how Ellie’s best friend and love interest Riley gets infected alongside her. However, Riley is not immune.
Despite the heartbreaking core of the story, episode 7 is a beautiful tale of young love, with the two exploring an abandoned Mall, dancing around, and even playing some Mortal Kombat.
Why Ellie & Riley’s kiss in episode 7 is so important to The Last of Us
During the most recent episode of The Last of Us Podcast, showrunner Neil Druckmann explained the importance of the Left Behind story, why the bittersweet kiss shared between Ellie and Riley is pivotal to Ellie’s character, and outlined how sexuality is represented in The Last of Us universe.
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“These girls like each other, they really like each other, but they’re too afraid to say anything. Here are two girls who are both gay, and their sexuality is confusing to them and scary to them. The world in our show – to remind everybody – stops in 2003.”
Druckmann adds, “the revolution that we’ve gone through as a culture to become accepting of homosexuality and whatever we’d call non-hetero normative sexualities hasn’t occurred… in this world, that stuff is still ‘problematic’ as they say. It’s just like the game… and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think it’s a wonderful thing, because it was perfect in the game, and it’s perfect here.”
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