HBO’s original series The Last of Us based on video game franchise under the same name season one episode seven entitled “Left Behind” starts with Pedro Pascal’s Joel Miller, and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie as she tries to give Joel medical attention due to an injury he received. Ultimately, Joel tells her to leave him and go back to his brother so he can keep her safe. In his mind, he sees that he will die as there is no medical supplies and no one who can help him. Which is why he wants Ellie to live even if it is without him. Deep down he does not want to leave her alone. Unfortunately, he knows that he will just slow her down with him bleeding out.
Additionally, the viewer sees Ellie have a flashback to when she was in her military school. This is where the viewer gets a taste of how the kids of this world grow up into soldiers. The interesting part about this is how Ellie is given a choice between staying a troublemaker or a model student aiming for a high position in the military. In her mind, she sees that eventually she will have to join the military when she comes of age. Usually, she would not care about anything having to do with a high position. However, she figures it is better for her in the long run as in the future she can be someone with the power to tell someone who is bothering her off. Interestingly enough, as Storm Reid’s Riley Abel returns to take Ellie out to have fun they get into a discussion about the fireflies and the military. From here the viewer can see how both of them see things differently as one sees that the fireflies fight for freedom and the military fights for control. Meanwhile the other sees that the military fights for order while the fireflies fight for anarchy. The viewer could argue that both of them are just brainwashed by each side to fight for their side’s ideals. This is demonstrated by how Riley says that the military are dictators who kill innocent people. However, Ellie says that the fireflies are terrorist who bomb things and kill people just doing their jobs. Also, she talks about how they claim to fight for freedom only that they fight for their version of freedom.
Later into the episode, Ellie and Riley find themselves having fun exploring a mall. It is here where the viewer sees how Bella Ramsey’s acting makes the scene of Ellie finding new pieces of the old world that much more enjoyable. She makes it seem as if Ellie is genuinely fascinated to be told of the things people in the real world used to use in everyday life. She gives Ellie a sense of curiosity that makes her stand out from the rest of the characters that appear. Not to mention that Storm Reid does a fantastic job at showing the emotion one would have when it comes to trying to act cool especially when around the person you have feelings. Also, the viewer can feel how sorry Riley is when it comes to leaving Ellie behind to go with the fireflies. By far, the best moment is when the viewer sees them dance together as in that moment, they forget about everything. That is something that the viewer can relate to as there are days where everyone would like to forget about their worries and just have fun.
At the end of the episode, the viewer is thrown back into the harsh reality of their world with seeing them being bitten. It is here where the series pulls the heartstrings of the viewer thanks to the acting done by Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid where they show how scary their situation truly is. Ultimately, the viewer knows who makes it out alive in the end, which makes it that much more heartbreaking when they decide to lose their minds together as a last show of love.
Overall, the series has managed to make a completely interesting and captivating episode from just a small story fragment for the video game. It has added new elements such as conflicting viewpoints as well as background information to explain who a character chose a certain path. For the most part the episode has stayed true to the small story for the video game. The only difference is that there are some aspects that have been changed when compared to the game. An example would be how Ellie and Riley do not have a brick throwing contest. However, the interactions with the mall’s stores in the series leaves the viewer with a refreshing new experience.