This was the episode of The Last of Us that I was looking forward to the most. When I played through the game the “Left Behind” DLC hadn’t been released yet. I’ve never been able to play through it but I’ve known the basics of what happened. After seeing the series’ version of the events, I feel like it was a disservice to the story for it to come out after the games initial release.
The events of “Left Behind” make Ellie feel more like a co-lead in the story rather than a macguffin. This being her origin story, showing how she became infected and learned that she is immune. We’re shown her in the FEDRA school where she doesn’t fit in. She’s already an angry person, and that was only exacerbated by the disappearance of her roommate and crush Riley. The majority of the episode is Ellie and Riley spending the night having fun in an abandoned mall. Early in the episode we learn that Riley joined the Fireflies while she’s been gone. Riley eventually tells Ellie that she’s being sent to a different QZ and that it was her last night there. This turns out to be a catalyst for Ellie and Riley to show their true feelings for each other, that brief moment of tenderness is ripped away when they’re both infected. The episode begins and ends with Ellie deciding to not give up on Joel.
“Left Behind” is the Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid show. Both of them make the most of their time together in the episode. The way that Bella Ramsey plays this version Ellie shows that this isn’t quite the same person that we’ve been seeing the past few weeks. We see how she became the person we’ve been seeing evolve since the first episode. The chemistry between Ramsey and Reid is what makes the episode as great as it is.
“Left Behind” is the best episode of The Last of Us since the third episode. That’s how I feel about this episode in terms of the rest of the season. The next two episodes are looking to cap off the events of the first game. I’m wondering how the events are handled. I also wonder at the length of the episodes. I give “Left Behind” 9 Walkman out of 10.