‘The Last of Us’ Episode 7 Recap: Was This Season 1’s First Major Miss? Yes. (Spoilers)

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When it’s time to call a spade a spade, we’re here for it.

So … Episode 7 was not good.

The comedown was bound to happen for a smash-hit HBO series that was riding a six-episode win streak. Only problem is that it arrived in the show’s final stretch — now two episodes from concluding Season 1.

Credit: HBO

For starters, it’s not a bad hour of television.

As OutKick’s David Hookstead addressed it: “Episode seven was the weakest episode so far, and if that’s the weakest the show ever gets, fans should consider themselves blessed.”

Exactly … don’t drop out of this show with two episodes left.

Episode 7, ‘Left Behind,’ Leaves An Injured Joel Out of the Picture

Episode 7 starts after a major cliffhanger from Episode 6 left audiences wondering if Joel would be able to complete his mission of delivering Ellie to the Fireflies after a broken bat was lodged into his abdomen during a confrontation with a raider.

The plot of Episode 7 rests on the video game lore — following the same beats as the “Last of Us: Left Behind” DLC. For casual viewers of the show, it’s a moot point.

With Ellie in disarray over Joel’s wound, the episode goes back in time several years to when Ellie was in a FEDRA training compound.

Credit: HBO

A fight with a classmate lands her in trouble, and a FEDRA dignitary warns Ellie to either shape up and be a leader for this cause or be told to fall in line for a lifetime. Surprisingly, Ellie leans toward becoming an officer over a civilian.

Once the story introduces Riley, Ellie’s best friend who escaped the compound to join the Fireflies, the episode becomes a hard sell.

Amateur Characterization, Dialogue Ruins Critical Episode

Falling to hit the mark was the snappy, adult dialogue that the show forces out of Ellie and Riley. Rather than attempting to give these teenagers a more suitable approach to their crass humor and F-bomb drops, they choose to rip off a page of dialogue meant for “Deadpool” and give it to these girls.

Plus the episode has a cameo from Mortal Kombat’s Dead Pool arena, so is it a coincidence?

Anyone who’s experienced rebellion in their late teens knows it’s full of angst. In this episode, Ellie’s too cool to be a kid growing up and is at times obnoxiously cavalier.

Riley convinces Ellie to ditch the compound for a night out at an abandoned mall, and the clock starts ticking on a tragedy to derail the near-perfect date these two are on.

The supposed romance also falls flat when these teenage girls are expected to pull off relationship drama that is better suited for a Hulu show about the troubles of dating in your early 30s.

Either that or these two teens are the most emotionally advanced couple to ever walk the earth.

Credit: HBO

Their bond fails to be convincing beyond being just friends and the romance does not add a new layer to the Ellie character that we’ve followed for six episodes. It’s the same character, just told to be more arrogant. Bella Ramsey does a good job of acting the part, but the script falls short here.

We reach the episode’s climax when a decaying Runner finds the two girls on their impeccably choreographed date and bites the two — showing viewers the origin of Ellie’s first bite. By now we know Ellie is immune to turning, but Riley doesn’t stand a chance.

‘TLOU’ Season 1 Aims For Strong Finish

Ultimately, with only two episodes left, Episode 7 feels like wasted time. When audiences call for Joel and Ellie to have more screen time together; learn more about FEDRA’s malice; see more of the undead; or resolve a cliffhanger, the episode instead chooses to be set up for Season 2.

Worst of all was the episode’s ending, which concludes on the same cliffhanger from the previous episode — questioning whether Joel will survive the stab in the gut. It’s recycled to the detriment of Episode 7.

Still, the series is expected to continue delivering an engaging two-episode run to the finish line. Excluding Episode 7, they haven’t let viewers down.

And the greatest sin of the episode, according to OutKick’s Matthew Wiley:

“The biggest problem with the last episode was that the kids were in an arcade that had Medieval Madness pinball AND Mars Attack pinball and they were playing MK — just shows poor judgment.”

Spot on.

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Written by Alejandro Avila

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