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How Did Ellie Get Caught in HBO’s The Last of Us?

Ellie in HBO's The Last of Us
Image Source: HBO
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How Did Ellie Get Caught in HBO’s The Last of Us?

All the curse words in the world couldn’t seem to help Ellie break the chain.

With the series premiere of HBO’s The Last of Us now out, many fans of the game franchise and newcomers alike have tuned in to see the story of Ellie and Joel as they navigate the post-apocalyptic world. With Ellie’s debut into the show, she appears to have been captured and chained up in a room within an unidentified building, held there by none other than the Fireflies. Here’s everything you need to know about how Ellie got caught in HBO’s The Last of Us.

***Spoilers for The Last of Us follow***

How & Why Was Ellie Caught in HBO’s The Last of Us, Explained

Ellie makes her first appearance chained up inside a room of an unknown location, and it’s more than obvious that she is certainly not happy about it. As more characters step onto the screen with Ellie, it can be inferred that the building is some sort of Fireflies hideout, and that Ellie being captured seems to have some sort of link to the Fireflies themselves.

Although it may seem like the Fireflies saught Ellie out and captured her for testing due to Marlene’s intentions of shipping Ellie away out of the Quarantinze Zone, fans of The Last of Us’ video game series know there’s much more to this than what appeared in the first episode of the show. If you want to jump into learning about the events that led Ellie to be chained up by the Fireflies ahead of its reveal in HBO’s TV adaptation, then read on below for all the information you’ll need.

Bella Ramsey as Ellie in HBO's The Last of Us
Image Source: HBO

Fans of the The Last of Us video games know that there’s a series of events that led Ellie to be chained up in that room, and these events may partially explain why she was so moody and aggressive towards the Fireflies as they tested her. The truth is, Marlene did not seek Ellie out, or kidnap her to run tests on. It turns out, Marlene was a close friend to Ellie’s mother from prior to the outbreak, and made her a promise to keep Ellie safe.

Part of this promise resulted in Marlene sending Ellie to FEDRA Military School, where she would be able to learn techniques to defend herself and improve her survival skills, as Marlene saw that as the safest place for her. It was here that Ellie met a close friend and love interest, Riley. As Ellie gets to know Riley, she learns that the latter is fed up with the soldier system and wants out of the Quarantine Zone. Riley begins to grow curious about the Fireflies due to this, believing that they may be a way out for her.

After meeting Marlene, and succeeding with her initiation to become a Firefly, Riley asks if Ellie can join the organization too. In response, Marlene shuts down the idea, before forbidding Riley from seeing Ellie again, as she believes Riley will only get Ellie into trouble. While at first Riley obeys Marlene’s command, she decides to sneak out and visit Ellie after three weeks of silence.

The two sneak out to revisit an arcade within an abandoned mall that they had previously stumbled across during one of their adventures, and have plenty of fun trading jokes, goofing off, and playing the arcade games. However, it is here that Riley reveals that Marlene has reassigned her to a different Fireflies group in another city. Despite this, the two share a tender moment, and Ellie is able to convince Riley to stay, giving up her place in the Fireflies.

Unfortunately, things take a dark turn when the two are caught off-guard by the presence of infected runners. Although they try to flee through the back of the mall towards safety, along the way, Riley and Ellie have to fight off numerous infected, and unfortunately, they both end up with bite marks. Understanding the dire circumstances, the two teens decide to fight the infection and spend as much time with each other prior to turning.

Eventually, Riley succumbs to the infection, whereas Ellie does not, revealing that she was somehow immune. After these tragic events, Ellie seeks out Marlene, who takes her under her wing, but almost shoots her upon learning she’s been bitten. Upon learning that Ellie had the potential of being immune to the infection, it can be inferred that Marlene and the Fireflies chained her in the room in case she eventually did succumb to the infection just as Riley did, while also using the opportunity to monitor and test her, before jumping into a plan of action regarding the possibility of a potential cure for humanity.

Ellie’s rude gestures and moody attitude towards the Fireflies seem to make a lot of sense, considering she had lost the closest thing she had to both a friend and love interest only three weeks prior to Marlene releasing her into the hands of Joel and Tess. And who could blame her?

Poor Ellie has gone through all of that, just to be placed into the care of complete strangers with the goal of completing a highly dangerous journey. That sounds beyond stressful for anyone, let alone a 14-year-old girl; so all things considered, it seems Ellie is handling it rather well. It’s also indicated that her survivor’s guilt from Riley’s passing also helps play into her choice of assisting Marlene and the Fireflies with their cause, as she feels the pressure to help prevent people from dying in the same fashion.

That’s everything you need to know about how Ellie got caught in HBO’s The Last of Us. For more helpful news, lists, and guides, on all of your favorite entertainment and video games, check out the rest of our content. We have a variety of topics for all of you The Last of Us fans and newcomers alike, such as who is Riley? explained, who are the Fireflies? explained, and where does HBO’s The Last of Us take place.

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