The Last of Us episode 7: The biggest changes between the HBO show and the PlayStation game

Storm Reid as Riley and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

Just like the HBO show's third episode did, The Last of Us episode 7 takes a detour from the main story and indulges us with flashbacks – this time into Ellie's past. While episode 3 filled in a lot of the blanks from the game with original content, though, 'Left Behind' directly adapts the accompanying DLC by the same name.

With that, it's pretty faithful to the source material for the most part but that doesn't mean the episode doesn't tweak things here and there, from Ellie's bestie Riley's involvement with the Fireflies and Ellie's upbringing in the FEDRA camp, to a particularly creepy corpse encounter. Below, we go into all the differences between the latest installment and the Naughty Dog game.

Unsurprisingly, this article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 7, so proceed with caution if you've yet to tune in and don't want to know exactly what happens. All up to date? Let's dive in...

Ellie doesn't go to a mall in the present day – and doesn't fight to protect Joel 

Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

By far the biggest change from game to show in Left Behind's adaptation is the framing device used to take a peek back into Ellie's past.

In the game, Ellie (Bella Ramsey) is similarly treating Joel (Pedro Pascal) after he was stabbed in the side. However, Ellie holes Joel up in a mall in Colorado instead of the generic building in the show. There, Ellie fights off raiders from the same group that attacked the pair at the university to find medicine. This, inevitably, leads Ellie to recall the memory of the last time she was in a mall – just weeks before the events of The Last of Us.

In the HBO series, Ellie simply goes into another room to find supplies for Joel. She saves him by suturing his wound in pretty straightforward fashion. Well, as straightforward as life-saving surgery goes, anyway.

The PlayStation title offers up a far more dramatic conclusion to events. Ellie fights (and kills) several raiders in a last stand to save Joel, as well as encountering clickers and climbing up a crashed helicopter to retrieve supplies. The pair then escape, leading into the game's 'Winter' chapter. It's likely the series will follow the same path, which could mean an imminent encounter with David and his band of survivors.

 Bethany (and more scenes with FEDRA)

Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us episode 7

(Image credit: HBO)

Due to Ellie not actually sheltering Joel in a mall in the show, she's not triggered enough to think of the location directly. Instead, as Joel's condition seems to worsen, she thinks back to the last time she lost someone: Riley.

Her memories, though, start at a time when her former friend-turned-sweetheart Riley went missing from the FEDRA training camp the youngsters were living in. Turns out, in Riley's absence, Ellie is being picked on by a nasty bully named Bethany, an original character.

One scene sees Bethany taunt Ellie during a PE session, which prompts the fired-up latter to sock the former right in the face. The girls get into some fisticuffs before they're separated by an adult, and Ellie is carted off to a superior officer's office. There, he tries to encourage her to follow the rules, because he sees potential in her to become a future FEDRA leader. None of which happens in the game.

 The dead man

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Storm Reid as Riley in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

On their way to the abandoned Boston mall, Ellie and Riley stumble across a dead body in one of the QZ's derelict buildings. At first, the twosome think he might be infected but once they clock the cannister of pills and the empty bottle of alcohol by his side, they deduce that he's probably overdosed.

Before they can get too close, the corpse falls through the floor to the level below, all of which was conjured up especially for the episode by scribe Neil Druckmann and director Liza Johnson.

 The wonders are in a slightly different order

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Storm Reid as Riley in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

 As seen in the HBO series' flashbacks, Riley has a list of four wonders (five if you count the escalator) to show Ellie in the mall. They are: the merry-go-round, the photo booth, the arcade, and the costume store.

Not much has changed here from the source material, though in the games the pair head to the costume store – and goof around with masks – far earlier than anything else on the list. In the show, the costume store is the last place Ellie and Riley go after the former tearfully heads towards the sound of screaming, presuming it was her BFF. 

 No water pistol fight

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Storm Reid as Riley in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

Ellie and Riley may have gotten up to mischief in the mall, but they missed out on one of the DLC's most memorable – and endearing – moments.

After Riley tells Ellie she's leaving, they perk themselves up by having a water pistol fight. It's played out as a low-stakes take on a combat encounter from the main game, with Ellie having to spray Riley a handful of times to 'win.' No such luck in the HBO series, though. No water guns at dawn here.

While we're talking fun and games, Ellie got to play in the arcades in both the game and the show – with a slight caveat. On TV, it’s the video game Mortal Kombat 2. In the game, it’s a fictional title called The Turning and the arcade cabinet doesn’t work. Instead, Ellie imagines herself playing it. 

Riley's explosives 

Storm Reid as Riley in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

In the show, Riley is seen protecting weapons for the Fireflies to use against FEDRA. In the game, her involvement in the group isn't quite so hardline and Riley is seemingly not looking after any explosives. In fact, she shouldn’t even be in the mall to begin with. As such, there isn't as large a wedge between Riley and Ellie before they kiss.

It's also worth mentioning that, in the game, Riley takes Ellie to the mall as it'll be the last time they see each other before Riley gets shipped out to another unnamed city. In the show, the city – Atlanta – is named and Riley suggests Ellie comes with her.

 The 'I Got You Babe' scene is in a different store

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Storm Reid as Riley in The Last of Us

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The show's take on Left Behind remixes a handful of locations from key moments. The ‘I Got You Babe’ dancing scene in the HBO series takes place in a Halloween-themed costume shop. In the PlayStation DLC, it’s in a nondescript electronics store. In a similar vein, Ellie and Riley’s last scene during episode 7 is in the aforementioned party store. In the games, it’s in a larger opening in the mall’s plaza – during the daytime. 

The Last of Us continues on Sunday, March 5 on HBO and HBO Max in the US, and Sky Atlantic and NOW the following day in the UK. Make sure you never miss an episode by checking out our The Last of Us release schedule and our breakdown of how many episodes are in The Last of Us.

For more from the series, check out our guide to the major Last of Us episode 6 changes from the games and a terrifying look at the Cordyceps fungus.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.

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