In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Storm Reid (A Wrinkle in Time, Euphoria) discusses the homophobic comments that came after the third episode of The Last Of Us and the impending backlash the latest episode is expected to receive. This article contains spoilers for episode seven.
Reid reiterates what costar Bella Ramsey’s (Game of Thrones, Hilda) said to GQ U.K.: “Like Bella said when episode 3 came out: If you don’t like it, don’t watch. We are telling important stories. We’re telling stories of people’s experiences, and that’s what I live for. That’s what makes good storytelling, because we are telling stories of people who are taking up space in the world.”
Episode three of the drama, titled “Long, Long Time,” featured three-time Emmy nominee Nick Offerman (The Great North, Pam & Tommy) and Emmy winner Murray Bartlett (The White Lotus, August). They portrayed Bill and Frank, respectively, and told a story of the romantic relationship between the two. Following the episode, angry viewers were taken aback by the gay couple and deliberately gave harsh reviews on sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes to lower its ratings.
Reid stars as Riley in the seventh episode of the apocalyptic thriller. The episode followed the franchise’s DLC game, Left Behind, which depicted the events leading to the original game.
Via Entertainment Weekly, “the episode flashes back in time to when Ellie was training to become a FEDRA soldier in the Boston QZ. Riley, her roommate and best friend, has been missing for several weeks when the episode begins, but she returns one night by sneaking through the window of Ellie’s dorm room. Riley, who we discover has joined the Fireflies and will soon be leaving Boston, wants to share one more special night with Ellie. They break into an abandoned mall and pal around on the carousel, the arcade, the ‘moving stairs,’ and the photo booth, culminating in Ellie and Riley’s first kiss.
“Moments after their kiss, Riley promises Ellie that she won’t leave with the Fireflies. She’ll stay with Ellie in Boston. Then an Infected, woken by their night in the mall, attacks. The girls subdue it, but both have been bitten. Crying and a lot of rage ensues, but they eventually agree to sit with each other and wait until they both go mad from the infection. Viewers, however, know by this point that Ellie is immune, so she will be forced to watch the object of her affection turn into a monster.”
The adaptation is shockingly similar to the game. Reid describes the process that went into portraying Riley. “Maybe just adding a little bit more life to her, whether it was things that I said or the way that I moved or interacted with Ellie. Basically how Riley took up space is what I wanted to try to hone in on the most. I think I did that just by stepping into her shoes and trying to become her and experience her given circumstance and not neglecting how I would feel in that situation.”
Reid offers one final piece of advice for any homophobic viewers still watching the show: “It’s 2023. If you’re concerned about who I love, then I need you to get your priorities straight. There’s so many other things to worry about in life. Why are you concerned that these young people — or anybody — love each other? Love is beautiful, and the fact that people have things to say about it, it’s just nonsense.”