How did Ellie get bit the first time on The Last of Us?

The Last of Us Episode 7
The Last of Us Episode 7 /

Spoilers ahead of The Last of Us episode 7

The Last of Us episode 7, “Left Behind,” finally gives viewers insight into Ellie’s life prior to her our introduction to her in the premiere when she was being held by the Fireflies. It’s been months in the series since she was being groomed into a vital member of FEDRA, with a promising future if she could stop picking fights and letting the other girls get to her.

That’s a far cry from where she is now with Joel but, based on the episode, her goal is still the same. Ellie wants to make a difference in some fashion. Back then she took to heart what she’d been told about FEDRA possibly being the glue that was keeping everything together in the Boston QZ and she was skeptical of her best friend Riley‘s belief that the real difference is being made by the Fireflies.

Still, their disparate beliefs didn’t stop Ellie from sneaking out with Riley, who’d been missing for weeks and presumed dead. At the time, Riley seemed to be Ellie’s only friend and their feelings for each other were growing by evidence of the date Riley takes her on to the abandoned mall. The two had been warned that the place was crawling with Infected but Riley scoffed at that because the Fireflies showed her that was a lie FEDRA was selling to people.

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The girls were having a good time right up until Ellie spotted the bombs Riley had made and her friend had to confess that she’d only came to see her one last time before she got stationed elsewhere. Riley said she’d tried to get the freedom fighters (who Ellie refers to as terrorists) to take her, too, but Marlene denied her request.

Angry, Ellie took off with every intention on going back to base. But she didn’t make it out of the building without changing her mind. She turned heel, prepared to talk with Riley and then really started beating feet when she thought her best friend was in danger due to the screams she heard.

How did Ellie get bit the first time on The Last of Us?

Turns out the screams she heard were coming from a Halloween prop that Riley had found. It was the fourth wonder of the mall that Riley had wanted to show Ellie. She’d saved it for last because she thought Ellie would like it the best.

As the girls reconciled, dancing to a song from Ellie’s walkman while sporting costume masks and even sharing a kiss, they missed the fact that they had awakened an Infected. The Fireflies had done a sweep of the mall, had posted Riley there for the time being because they thought it was safe, but they’d missed one.

The fungi controlled zombie had remained in a dormant state until he overheard Riley and Ellie playing in the arcade. He attacked them, triggering a frantic fight for survival. Though Ellie managed to take him down after a frightening skirmish, she realized she and Riley had both been bit. Under the impression they were going to die, the girls huddled together, choosing to spend whatever time they had left with one another.

“Left Behind” ends without playing the tragedy of Ellie and Riley’s mall visit fully out, but we can infer what happened next as Ellie’s the only person we know who’s survived a bite from an Infected.

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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.