The Last of Us episode 7 features a mention of Riley’s parents being dead, but what exactly happened to them, and how does it tie into her story?
Warning! This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us episode 7.The Last of Us episode 7 reveals a lot about Ellie’s first love, Riley, including that she is also an orphan, which significantly shapes her story. At one point in The Last of Us episode 7, Ellie and Riley are sneaking through a building to get to the abandoned mall in the Boston QZ. In the building, they find a dead body, prompting Ellie to ask Riley if it is the first one she has ever seen.
Riley replies that it is not, referencing her parents’ death. This provides some context as to why Ellie and Riley may have become so close in the first place, with both being orphans. However, while The Last of Us episode 7 does not divulge specifically what happens to Riley’s parents, a comic book from Neil Druckmann and cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks entitled The Last of Us: American Dreams reveals this story. While seemingly inconsequential to The Last of Us episode 7, Riley’s parents’ fate shapes what happens in HBO’s show regarding Riley, Ellie, FEDRA, and the Fireflies.
Riley Had To Kill Her Dad After He Got Infected (& Killed Her Mom)
In The Last of Us: American Dreams, Riley reveals to Marlene, leader of the Fireflies in Boston, that her father was infected. After losing control of himself due to the Cordyceps infection, Riley’s father killed her mother in front of her. This then resulted in her father turning on Riley, which forced her to have to defend herself.
Riley killed her father, which resulted in her enrolling in the FEDRA military school. While again, this story is not mentioned in The Last of Us episode 7, it is important context given Riley’s story in the episode. The ending of The Last of Us episode 7 makes the importance of Riley’s tragic family history evident when Riley talks about her motivations for joining the Fireflies.
How Riley’s Tragic Backstory Shapes Her Last Of Us Story
After Riley explains that she is leaving Boston, Ellie lashes out in anger after realizing the night was not specifically about her and Riley was guarding a Firefly cache. However, after thinking Riley is in danger, Ellie heads back into the mall. Upon finding Riley, Ellie further questions her on why she left FEDRA, joined the Fireflies, and is willing to leave Boston and her behind.
Riley states that the Fireflies feel like a place where she can belong. This is when Riley mentions her parents, stating that Ellie does not know what it feels like to belong to a family, meaning the latter cannot yearn for that feeling again. In The Last of Us episode 7, Riley states that the Fireflies chose her which makes her feel like she matters to them as she did to her parents. This is what led Riley to join the Fireflies, meaning the heartbreaking history of Riley’s parents that shaped her story subsequently shapes Ellie’s throughout The Last of Us season 1 and going into season 2.
New episodes of The Last of Us release every Sunday on HBO.
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