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The Last Of Us' Left Behind Is The Episode Most Faithful To The Game Yet

Warning: This article contains spoilers for "The Last of Us" Episode 7.

Week after week, HBO's riveting adaptation of "The Last of Us" stuns fans with gripping episodes that build off the original PlayStation game. The series faithfully recreates memorable scenes of action-packed gameplay while infusing original material for a fresh viewing experience. It even recruits composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who previously scored the beautiful soundtrack for both games, to further enrich the show. In Episode 7, titled "Left Behind," the television depiction takes on Ellie's (Bella Ramsey) backstory first told in the unforgettable, additional downloadable content of the same name.

Like the events in the game, we flashback to Ellie's harrowing discovery after Joel (Pedro Pascal) is gravely injured by violent strangers. She vividly remembers the tragic time she couldn't save a loved one, much like Joel with his young daughter Sarah (Nico Parker). Ellie recalls when her dear friend Riley (Storm Reid) treated her to an extraordinary mall adventure with a dark and horrific end.

So far, "The Last of Us" has accurately replicated many iconic scenes from its extensive source material. Though there have been some notable differences in the TV version, the essence of "The Last of Us" remains the same, with unforgiving sequences of violence and terror. In spite of this, the central theme shines through with Ellie as a bright beacon of hope in the all-consuming darkness.

HBO's version of Left Behind is meticulously authentic

Diehard video game fans of "The Last of Us" and the supporting content "Left Behind" already know the upsetting ending waiting for Riley and Ellie at the end of this episode. However, that doesn't take away from the stunning commitment to feature an abundance of references to the original story. From posters to story beats to actual game mechanics, "Left Behind" is the most accurate episode to its video game counterpart.

Though there are some slight differences, we still meet Riley in the same way, with her sneaking up on Ellie and scaring her into brandishing her switchblade. We're immediately tuned into their emotional dynamic, which is playful and loving, with plenty of teasing. We also travel to the mall after an outdoor excursion of roof jumping and snappy dialogue. They even find the same bottle of alcohol, which helps break the tension. When we get to the mall, Riley surprises us with the power reveal, dazzling carousel, and heartwarming photo-op. The setting even has the ragged "Dawn of the Wolf" poster on display, which gamers will surely recognize. In a refreshing update, Ellie gets to play countless rounds of "Mortal Kombat 2," where the retro machine was unfortunately broken in the game.

Ellie and Riley's interaction with the Infected is pretty similar to the game, right down to the song choice and Halloween masks. Their separate fates sadly pan out similarly to the game as we cut back to Ellie and Joel. In a fantastic move, we see Ellie employ real gameplay mechanics when she loots the house to find a needle and thread. She bravely sews Joel up until we cut to black, just like in the heartbreaking original narrative.