What Happened to Riley in HBO’s The Last of Us? Answered

We can just lose our minds together.

Episode 7 of HBO’s The Last of Us was almost an entirely faithful recreation of the Left Behind DLC from the original game, and it introduces us to Riley Abel, who serves as Ellie’s best friend and love interest from the QZ. The episode ends on a rather bitter note, but if you want some clarification on what happened to Riley in HBO’s The Last of Us, here’s what you need to know.

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Riley’s Fate in HBO’s The Last of Us Explained

Riley ends up dying in The Last of Us. Unlike Ellie, she isn’t immune to the cordyceps virus and once she gets bitten, she’ll end up transforming into one of the infected eventually. It’s also heavily implied that Ellie is the one who kills Riley.

At the end of the episode –and this unfolds the same way in the game as well– both Ellie and Riley decide not to take the easy way out, and to just live out the rest of their lives together while waiting for the end to come. They decide to treasure whatever time they have left with each other whether it’s two minutes or two days, and to just enjoy each other’s company until they eventually turn. This backstory episode also serves as an explanation as to why Ellie refuses to give up on Joel even after he’s been brutally stabbed.

Of course, at this point, Ellie doesn’t know she’s immune, either. While neither the show nor the game actually show or tell us, it can be implied that Ellie stays with Riley until she turns, and is eventually forced to kill Riley herself when that happens. This would lead to her looking for Marlene, and end up setting the events of the show in motion.

That’s all you need to know about what happened to Riley in HBO’s The Last of Us. Be sure to search for Twinfinite for more news and information on the show.

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Zhiqing Wan
Zhiqing is the Reviews Editor for Twinfinite, and a History graduate from Singapore. She's been in the games media industry for nine years, trawling through showfloors, conferences, and spending a ridiculous amount of time making in-depth spreadsheets for min-max-y RPGs. When she's not singing the praises of Amazon's Kindle as the greatest technological invention of the past two decades, you can probably find her in a FromSoft rabbit hole.