Watch: 'The Last of Us' Reveals Ellie's Queer Past

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday February 27, 2023

A scene from Episode 7 of "The Last of Us"
A scene from Episode 7 of "The Last of Us"  (Source:HBO)

Episode 3 of "The Last of Us" was no fluke; another flashback in Episode 7 gave viewers a good look at main character Ellie's own LGBTQ+ past., faithfully hewing to the show's video game source material in doing so.

Rolling Stone recapped the episode, sketching out how the flashback unfolded in the wake of Ellie (Bella Ramsey) dealing with the injury of her escort, Joel (Pedro Pascal), who was shot in the previous episode.

The hour, titled "Left Behind," "is a flashback to Ellie's life before she met Joel, to a love story that feels far more tragic than the life Bill and Frank got to spend together," Rolling Stone noted, referencing the gay love story at the heart of Episode 3, which guest starred out gay actor Murray Bartlett and American actor Nick Offerman as two men in a decades-long committed relationship.

In its own recap, TVLine described the hour this way: "We watch a tender story about love and loss play out against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic teenage dream."

"And if you're among the viewers who had a hard time with Episode 3 because Bill and Frank were gay," TV Line added, "Ellie is queer. Get over it."

Series star Bella Ramsey said much the same thing in a recent interview about the show. Ramsey, who is non-binary, told British GQ that homophobic trolls who bombarded the epic third episode with hate are "gonna have to get used to it," and added that they are hoping for a second-season romance that will, as the show has so far, remain faithful to the video game with a lesbian love story for Ellie.

Whatever the future holds, Episode 7 depicted a same-sex teen romance that also expanded on the post-apocalyptic dystopia where the show is set. In the flashback, viewers saw Ellie's life at a school where future enforcers of a repressive government are trained. Ellie has a choice to make about whether to be part of the system, or chafe against it — and so far, it seems she has been chafing.

But when Riley (a runaway from the school, and someone about whom other students bully Ellie) sneaks back to spirit Ellie away on a night of unexpected fun and freedom, they begin an adventure that will be full of danger and romance.

(No spoilers, but this episode explains the origin of an interesting scar on Ellie's arm.)

Watch the trailer for the episode below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.