How does Ellie save Joel in The Last of Us episode 7?

The Last of Us. Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO.
The Last of Us. Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO. /

Spoilers ahead of The Last of Us episode 7

The Last of Us episode 7, “Left Behind,” is primarily a flashback episode that informs the audience of how Ellie got her first Infected bite.

We’re led to through a heartwarming tale of her and her best friend Riley’s date at the abandoned mall in the Boston QZ. However, it’s interrupted briefly by the reality of Riley’s choice to join the Fireflies and then completely derailed by an Infected who attacks them moments after they share a kiss and are considering the possibility of a romantic future together.

Though the episode doesn’t give us too much of the aftermath of the girls discovering they’ve been bitten, we’re left with the impression Riley left on Ellie about deciding to cherish the moments you have with someone you care about no matter the outcome that may be awaiting them. There’s an implication in “Left Behind” that it’s this memory that pushes Ellie to defy what Joel had told her.

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How does Ellie save Joel in The Last of Us episode 7 “Left Behind”?

At the top of the episode, Joel had urged Ellie to go back to Jackson and find his brother, Tommy. Having made the trek with the two to the university, we know that it’d be close to two weeks before Ellie would be able to come back for Joel. With his wound, he may not even last a day in the cold house she’d managed to shelter them in for the time being.

Ellie left the room, draping Joel’s coat across him in an effort to keep him warm, and for a moment it looked like she was going to do what she was told. Then she breaks into a frantic search for something, anything to help Joel and possibly by him time.

Eventually, she finds a needle and thread. Sterilization clearly isn’t the point here, and her solution could possibly lead to an infection, but it’s what they have. Ellie comes barreling down the stairs, grabs Joel’s hand and wordlessly conveys that she’s not leaving him. She gets to work on sewing his wound up because she refuses to lose him without at least trying to save him.

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Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more The Last of Us news and coverage! New episodes air (and stream) Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max. The finale premieres March 12.