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

HBO Max Twitter Account Seems, Uh, Confused About Ellie and Riley on ‘The Last of Us’

Harold, they're lesbians.

Surprise for fans of the HBO series The Last of Us who don’t know the game! Ellie is a lesbian. In episode 7, titled “Left Behind,” fans got to look into a part of the game aptly titled Left Behind that features the story of how Ellie got infected with Coredyceps and discovered her immunity—which is heavily connected to her crush and friend, Riley.

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In the episode 7, Ellie (Bella Ramsey) is taking care of Joel (Pedro Pascal), who was stabbed at the end of episode 6, and in a series of flashbacks for Ellie, triggered by Joel’s injury, we get to meet Riley (Storm Reid).

While yes, technically, prior to their admission to each other, they’re best friends and the only person there for each other, the episode makes it pretty clear that the two young women like each other in a romantic way. The kissing and the “poetic shit” line make it clear that both Ellie and Riley are potentially in love with the other.

It’s the second time an episode has veered off the main storyline and highlighted a relationship in the series. First, it was episode 3 “Long, Long Time” with Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett). Now, it’s Riley and Ellie. One could even argue that the pilot also had a story, separate from the main storyline, that informed you about the characters we’re on this journey with. Sarah (Nico Parker) was featured only to inform us of how Joel used to be and what he became because of his pain.

So, episode 7’s deviation from the main storyline is there to give us a look into who Ellie is. What is funny, though, is that whoever runs the HBO Max Twitter account doesn’t seem to get her. Or Riley.

Harold …

Predictably, there is a current conversation over the show “making” Ellie gay, which is … not something the show did. It’s just who Ellie is, as a character, and always has been.

But seeing how the HBO Max account said that Ellie and Riley had that best friend “stare” is, well, interesting given what happens later in the episode. After running through a mall together where Riley is showing Ellie the “four wonders of the mall” to try to make her happy, they get in a fight about Riley leaving town to go to Atlanta. But when they reconcile, Ellie leans up and kisses her.

The two smile and seem to both be very happy with the new development, and sharing a kiss and Riley saying they should poetically die together says that they’re more than best friends to me! And the reason this is both funny and upsetting is because Ellie, an established queer character in a video game that is being adapted into a live-action series, can’t even be queer onscreen without some sort of “woke BS” backlash.

And it’s made all that much worse by saying “that best friend stare” when those are two young queer girls who clearly have feelings for each other but don’t know how to go about it. So, Harold (HBO Max’s social channels), Ellie and Riley are lesbians.

(featured image: HBO)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.