What Happened to Riley in The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 7
Episode 7 of The Last of Us tells the story between Ellie and Riley, ending with the latter's fate deliberately ambiguous.
Warning! This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 7 and the original game.
Episode 7 of The Last of Us focuses on Riley and Ellie's story, and the episode ends with Riley's fate somewhat untold. After bringing Joel to safety and trying to stop his bleeding from a stab wound at the end of The Last of Us Episode 6, Ellie begins to reminisce about events shortly before the series premiere. The story takes place in the first three weeks of Episode 1 of The Last of Us, and follows Ellie and Riley's relationship.
These events lead to Ellie being bitten, discovering her immunity, and her acquaintance with Marlene and the fireflies. Before that, however, her relationship with Riley was made public. At the end of the episode, Ellie and Riley's relationship ends in tragedy, just like the end of episode 6 of The Last of Us. Despite the heartbreaking ending, Riley's fate remains up in the air.
Riley Dies In The Last Of Us Season 1, Episode 7
The final scene of The Last of Us Episode 7 shows the infected Overlord attacking Ellie and Riley, who fight back together. Although, after killing the infected, both realize they've been bitten and fear the worst. See Ellie and Riley for the last time in The Last Our 7th episode is when the two of them decide to spend their final hours together, "losing their minds," as Riley puts it. As other episodes of The Last of Us show what happens to Ellie, questions surrounding Riley's fate remain.
Given that Ellie is the only known immune character in The Last of Us, Riley will eventually become infected. While it's not officially confirmed in either The Last of Us games or HBO's episode 7, it can be assumed that Riley was killed by Ellie or Firefly. In terms of the former, Ellie's comments about hurting others in The Last of Us Episode 4 could apply to Riley, which would explain why she didn't want to talk about it when Joel questioned her.
Why Riley Becoming Infected & Dying Isn't Shown In Last Of Us Episode 7
This ending is not explicitly shown in The Last of Us Episode 7, and is modeled after a similar ending in The Last of Us Episode 3. While the latter doesn't show the bodies of Frank and Bill as a way of honoring the way they chose their own story's own ending without tarnishing the beautiful story, the ambiguity of The Last of Us Episode 7 The ending makes the story more powerful. From the first few episodes of The Last of Us, Ellie's greatest fear is dying alone. It's not Riley's turn, and the thought of Ellie being slowly abandoned by Riley is all the more heartbreaking.
What Riley's Death Means For Ellie
Riley's fate in The Last of Us Episode 7 has a major impact on Ellie's story development. The primary way these effects are felt is through Ellie's survivor's guilt and her aforementioned greatest fear, which are intrinsically linked. The reason Ellie is so afraid of being alone is because everyone she ever cared about has died or left, which may also stem from her immunity. In Riley's case, her first love was the first person to die of the infection since Ellie discovered she was immune, triggering Ellie's guilt as a survivor.
Riley's death may also have been a significant factor in Ellie's fear of being alone. Since Ellie was an orphan, Riley was likely her main attachment growing up, making her death a big impact on Ellie being alone. The many deaths in The Last of Us season 1 only made things worse. from With the deaths of Tess, Henry, and especially Sam, Ellie's fear of being alone grows alongside her survivor's guilt. All of these deaths were directly caused by - or in Henry's case were greatly affected by - people being infected.
Since Ellie cannot be infected, the guilt of everyone she cares about who died around her greatly affects her mental state and explains her drive to save Joel in The Last of Us Episode 7 . All of these complex character emotions for Ellie start with Riley's death. This explains why "The Last of Us" dedicates an entire episode to Ellie and Riley's story, so that Ellie's character can be almost fully understood before the final two episodes of the season.
"The Last of Us" airs new episodes every Sunday on HBO.