Episode 7 of The Last of Us begins with a trail of blood in the snow leading to an abandoned house. Ellie has managed to get Joel there alive. He begs her to leave him and go back to Tommy. She covers him with a blanket and walks out of the basement.
The show flashes back to when Ellie was in the QZ. She gets into a fight with one of the girls and has to meet with the captain. He tells her that she can choose to follow the rules and become an officer or fall through the cracks. “There’s a leader in you. And one day it could be your turn or not,” he says. Ellie takes the keys he gives her.
In the middle of the night, Riley returns and surprises her. She’s been gone for 3 weeks. Ellie asks Riley where she’s been all this time. Riley reveals that she’s joined the Fireflies. Riley pleads with Ellie to come with her for a few hours. Ellie is hesitant but she ultimately can’t refuse. The girls steal some booze after stumbling across a dead body.
Ellie asks Riley how she became one of the Fireflies. Riley explains that she snuck out and came across an older woman. After revealing her thoughts on FEDRA, Riley was taken in by the Fireflies. But that’s not the point. Riley has an exciting night planned for Ellie — at the mall.
Riley wants to show Ellie the “four wonders of the mall.” Ellie is amazed by the escalator of all things. They see the abandoned stores, some more cleaned out than others. Riley brings Ellie to a working carousel.
“You’re the one thing I miss from that f—ing place, if that makes a difference,” Riley tells Ellie. The girls have some fun in the photo booth before heading to the arcade. As they’re enjoying themselves, one of the lone infected in the mall wakes up.
There’s a moment where it looks like Ellie and Riley may kiss, but they both stop before going there. Ellie then tells Riley that she needs to go back. Before she goes Riley takes Ellie to where she’s been staying, a restaurant at the food court. Ellie discovers handmade grenades that Riley made, and she realizes that Riley is stationed there.
Ellie storms off. Riley confesses that she’s leaving. She’s being sent to a post outside of Boston. “I asked if you could join so we could go together, but Marlene said no,” Riley reveals. This is Riley’s last night in Boston.
“Why did you bring me here?” Ellie asks. Riley replies, “Because I wanted to see you.” Riley wants to be able to say goodbye properly. Ellie tells Riley goodbye and begins to walk out of the mall. She decides to go back. Suddenly, she hears a scream.
Thankfully, it was just a Halloween machine that Riley turned on. It’s the last wonder of the mall. Riley and Ellie get a chance to talk further. “You don’t know what it was like to have a family, to have a mom,” Riley says. “I belonged to them, and I want that again. Maybe the Fireflies aren’t what I think they are, but they chose me. I matter to them.”
Ellie tells Riley, “You mattered to me first.” When Riley stresses that this is the right decision for her, Ellie accepts her choice. “You’re my best friend, and I’ll miss you,” Ellie says.
Riley has one last thing to show Ellie. She throws Ellie a wolf mask, while she puts on a scary clown mask. They listen to music and have a dance party. Ellie asks Riley not to go. “Okay,” Riley replies. Ellie kisses Riley.
Suddenly, they hear something in the distance. Riley tells Ellie to get ready to run. The infected man attacks Ellie and Riley in the Halloween store. The infected manages to knock Riley out. During the fight, Ellie stabs the infected in the head as he’s going after Riley.
Ellie soon realizes she’s been bitten. Riley discovers she has the same fate. Ellie starts smashing things and believes their lives are over. Ellie doesn’t know yet that she is immune. Riley says they have two options: kill themselves or just keep going until their time is up. They break down in tears together. We all know how this ends, unfortunately.
In the present day, Ellie doesn’t leave Joel behind. She goes searching for anything she can use. She finds a needle and thread. Ellie refuses to leave him, and he’s not going to leave her. Not if she has anything to do with it. She begins to stitch him back up with her needle and thread.