The Last of Us Episode 7 ending explained

A still from The Last of Us Episode 7HBO

The Last of Us Episode 7 comes with another dose of heartbreak in the story of Ellie and Riley – here’s a breakdown of its ending.

In our review of Episode 7, we described it as a “moving, faithful adaptation of Ellie’s devastating backstory; success can be found in deviation, but why change perfection?”

Don’t expect the plot to progress too much. While Ellie tries to help Joel with his stab wound, the majority of the episode takes place three weeks before the main events of the show.

We follow Ellie’s final day with her best friend Riley, a Fireflies recruit who takes her to see the “four wonders of the mall” before setting off to Atlanta – but it all goes wrong.

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Spoilers for The Last of Us to follow…

The Last of Us Episode 7 ending explained

Just as Ellie and Riley make up and share their first kiss, they’re forced to fight off an infected runner. They’re both bitten in the scuffle, but neither of them decide to take the “easy way out.”

Throughout the episode, as Riley showed Ellie a working carousel, phone booth, arcade, and fancy-dress shop, their connection clearly went beyond friendship. It’s why Ellie felt so hurt when she realized Riley wasn’t being entirely truthful with her about the Fireflies, and felt the urge to storm off.

The Last of Us review bombingHBO

When she returns, Riley apologizes, and they have a dance together to Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe. In the heat of the moment, Ellie finally gets the courage to kiss Riley. 

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“What do we do know?” She asks with a big smile on her face. “We’ll figure it out,” Riley says, but before they even begin, a runner emerges and pursues them through the shop. Ellie manages to kill it with her knife, but both of them were bitten in the scuffle. 

The episode cuts between’s Ellie’s last moments with Riley and her determination to help Joel in the present day. “We don’t give up,” Riley tells her, as Ellie in the present day attempts to sow up Joel’s wound. As Riley holds Ellie’s hand, Joel’s grasps hers – their love may be different, but it’s love all the same. 

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The Last of Us Episode 8 will be available to stream on March 5 in the US and March 6 in the UK. Check out the rest of our coverage here and the trailer for the weeks ahead here.