The Last of Us Episode 7 was all about Ellie and her life before she met Joel. It is also the part of the HBO series that adapts the original game's DLC Left Behind. Although most of the scenes were fairly similar to what happens in the DLC, there's one particular sequence that is strikingly different and co-showrunner Neil Druckmann explained why the change was necessary.
In The Last of Us Episode 7, Riley takes Ellie to an abandoned mall where they take photos, ride a carousel, and play Mortal Kombat II at the arcade. After an argument, the girls make up and dance in a Halloween store where Ellie begs Riley not to leave Boston. Riley agrees and they share a kiss which is promptly interrupted by the arrival of a lone Clicker.
In the Left Behind DLC, Ellie and Riley are actually attacked by an entire horde that they eventually escape. However, both are bitten in the fight and decide to stay together while waiting for the infection to take.
So why does the show only feature one Clicker attacking the girls? Neil Druckmann shared during the latest Last of Us podcast that it was important to show that it doesn't take a horde to ruin your life when your guard is down.
"The infected attack is different from the game. In the game, there’s no indication until much later that there are infected, and it’s clear there are a lot more infected that ambush the player," he said.
"We have the characters comment on how it should be full of infected, but Riley is correct when she says it’s not. There’s only one, that’s all it takes, and what wakes him up is the sound of their joy and laughter and fun," Druckmann continued.
"As much as we can, we give our characters the things they want the most, and punish them for getting it. One of the fears you have in this world is that you’re never safe enough to have fun, to fall in love and to have a first kiss," he concluded.
Unfortunately, we already know that only Ellie survives. For now, it is unclear if the TV series will show us what happened to Riley afterwards.
The Last of Us Episode 7 is now streaming on HBO Max.
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