HBO 'The Last of Us' Episode 7 recap: Big reveal about Ellie's past

The newest episode of the show, with a focus on Bella Ramsey's character, answers one major question: How did Ellie get bitten?

After that massive cliffhanger in Episode 6 of the HBO hit The Last of Us (on Crave in Canada), where Joel (Pedro Pascal) is stabbed and seriously injured, Episode 7 of the show looks back at what Ellie's (Bella Ramsey) life was like before we met her at the beginning of the show.

While we wait to see what happens with Joel and if he and Ellie can actually make it to the Fireflies working on a cure, the newest episode of the series answers one major question: How did Ellie get bitten in the first place?

Here's everything you need to know from Episode 7 of HBO's The Last of Us (spoilers ahead):

Bella Ramsey in HBO's The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)
Bella Ramsey in HBO's The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)

The episode begins with Ellie and Joel in an abandoned house, they're in the basement of this property and Ellie is trying to stop the bleeding from Joel's torso. He grabs her and tells Ellie to leave him and go north back to Tommy, and forcefully pushes her away. Ellie covers Joel with a jacket and starts going up the stairs to the main floor of the house. That's when we enter the flashback to Ellie's past.

We now see Ellie at the FEDRA school she attended in Boston, before she ended up with Marlene (Merle Dandridge), as we saw in the first episode of the series. She's running around a gym with her fellow schoolmates, listening to music on her walkman cassette tape player, when a girl named Bethany yanks her headphones off, telling Ellie to pick up the pace.

Ellie says she doesn't want to fight and Bethany responds by saying, "You don’t fight. Your friend fights. She’s not here anymore, is she?"

That leads Ellie to punch Bethany, heading to Cpt. Kwong's office to get disciplined for her actions. We find out Ellie has been getting into quite a bit of trouble at school, which leads Kwong to urge her to take a better path, that there's a "leader" in Ellie and FEDRA can really hold the city together.

Bella Ramsey, Storm Reid in HBO's The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)
Bella Ramsey, Storm Reid in HBO's The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Who is Riley in 'The Last of Us'?

Back in her room, Ellie is reading a "Savage Starlight" comic. The first "No Pun Intended" book by Will Livingston is nearby, a Mortal Kombat poster is on the wall, and she has Etta James and A-ha music for her walkman.

She falls asleep and Ellie's friend Riley (Storm Reid) comes into the room through the window. Ellie thought she was dead because she hasn't seen her friend in three weeks. Riley reveals that she is now a gun-carrying Firefly, something that doesn't particularly please Ellie.

Riley has returned to sneak Ellie out of the school to have "the best night of [her] life."

Initially resistant, Ellie agrees to go. As she changes her clothes, Ellie asks Riley to turn and face away from her.

"You're so weird about that," Riley says. It's a detail to remember as we see how this relationship plays out in the episode.

The pair first make a stop at an apartment building, going up to the seventh floor where they see a dead body, a man who has a bottle of booze and pills on the ground next to him. The girls take the alcohol and head out, both drinking some before arriving at an abandoned mall, which had been sealed off because it was filled with infected.

Ellie probes Riley about how she became a Firefly. Riley responds by explaining that one day, while Ellie was being punished for her bad behaviour in "the hole," she snuck out and an "old" woman, who Riley describes as being in her 40s or 50s, indicated she was impressed by Riley's ability to sneak around. The woman asked Riley about her thoughts on FEDRA and Riley said they're "fascist d-ck bags and they're the ones who should be hung for their crimes." That's when Riley was propositioned to join the Fireflies.

Bella Ramsey, Storm Reid in HBO's The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)
Bella Ramsey, Storm Reid in HBO's The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)

In the mall, Riley promises to show Ellie the "four wonders," but Ellie is particularly excited about getting to experience an escalator, so now it's really the five wonders of the mall.

As they walk through the mall, looking at the stores, Riley starts giggling as they come to a lingerie store, saying she was imagining Ellie wearing a piece of lingerie in the window. Ellie stares at it for a moment, touching her hair, before Riley guides her over to a merry-go-round.

Ellie continues to try to convince Riley to go back to FEDRA, saying they could make things better and "run things." But Riley says, since she's turning 17 next month, she got her assignment from FEDRA, which was sewer detail.

“Stand in guard while people shovel shit," Riley said. "That’s what they think of me.”

Moving on again, the pair go into a photo booth and take a series of funny pictures that Ellie keeps with her. They then head into an arcade with games like Tetris, Attack From Mars, Daytona USA and Mortal Kombat II.

Riley also got Ellie a gift, the second volume of the "No Pun Intended" book, which we've seen Ellie use to entertain herself, and Joel, in previous episodes.

Ellie then realizes that Riley didn't actually just stumble upon this mall, she was posted there by Fireflies to guard their stash, including weapons.

"They would never use them on you or anywhere near. ... I would never let them," Riley says, but Ellie isn't confident about that.

Bella Ramsey, Storm Reid in HBO's The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)
Bella Ramsey, Storm Reid in HBO's The Last of Us (Liane Hentscher/HBO)

'You're my best friend and I’ll miss you'

As Ellie starts to walk away, Riley reveals that this is her last night in Boston because she's leaving for a post at the Atlanta QZ. Riley says she asked Marlene if Ellie could go too, but Marlene said no.

Ellie storms off but ends up returning. She hears a scream coming from a shop with costumes and decorations. She thinks it's Riley screaming but it's actually just a Halloween decoration Riley wanted to show Ellie. Another wonder of the mall.

“Maybe the Fireflies aren't who I think they are but they chose me. I matter to them," Riley says to Ellie

“You're my best friend and I’ll miss you," Ellie says in response.

To lighten the mood, Riley pulls out the walkman she took from Ellie's room and starts playing Etta James' "I Got You Babe," and they dance around with a clown and a wolf mask on.

Ellie tells Riley not to go and kisses her. Ellie apologizes but Riley says, "for what," and they both start laughing together.

But sweet moments don't last long in The Last of Us. A Clicker comes out from behind a store shelf and starts attacking them. Ellie stabs the creature, then Riley hits it over the head while the Clicker is attacking Ellie. Then it goes after Riley, and Ellie stabs it in the head.

Ellie sees she has a bite mark on her forearm, and Riley has one on her hand. They both come to the realization that they're infected and will turn into Clickers.

Riley outlines two options. She says they can "take the easy way out," looking at her gun in her hand, but Riley quickly says she doesn't like that path. Option two, she says, is they keep going.

"It ends this way for everyone sooner or later right? Some of us just get there faster than others," Riley says. "But we don’t quit."

Riley holds Ellie's hand and while they're both crying she says, "Whether it's two minutes or two days, we don't give that up. I don't want to give that up."

Then we jump forward in time again. Ellie is opening all the drawers and cupboards in this house and finds a needle and thread. She runs back downstairs to Joel, holds his hand, and then starts stitching up his wound.

Leaving us guessing, we'll wait another week to find out if, or how, Joel survives his injury.