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The Last Of Us Episode 7 Finally Adapts This Obscure Part Of The Story

At this point, fans of "The Last of Us" know that Ellie is a bit of a comic book nerd. Her particular favorite is "Savage Starlight," and players can hunt down and collect issues of the series over the course of the game. Savage Starlight's catchphrase, "Endure and Survive," even went on to be the title of the terrifying fifth episode of the HBO TV series. But did you know that "The Last of Us" itself received a comic book miniseries at one point in time? Unlike many video game tie-in comics, this wasn't a direct adaptation of the game's story. Instead, "The Last of Us: American Dreams" was a four-issue miniseries from Dark Horse Comics that ran in 2013 and filled in a bit more of the backstory concerning the time before Ellie met Joel.

Before it aired, the seventh episode of "The Last of Us" was already being earmarked by fans as an important installment, as "Left Behind" was clearly poised to adapt the critically acclaimed DLC of the same name. However, it turns out that the episode also managed to bring a few choice bits of "American Dreams" to life, adapting one of the more obscure sections of the franchise's mythology.

How American Dreams influenced HBO's Left Behind adaptation

The flashback portion of the original "Left Behind" DLC opens with Ellie's last night in boarding school, which is when Riley convinces her to sneak out for the night. The new episode of the HBO series, however, backs up just a bit and shows viewers a little bit more of her life in said FEDRA school. As the episode begins, she's running laps in a gym before getting into a scuffle with a fellow student who takes her walkman. Similarly, the comic opens with her getting in a fight with a couple of kids for messing with her belongings. In both cases, this leads to a conversation with the head of the academy, who comes down on Ellie for her disobedient behavior. In both cases, we get to see from the beginning that Ellie doesn't fit in with the other people in the school, but she's not sure where else to turn — until she meets Riley.

More specific elements from the comic also make their way into the episode, including Riley's penchant for stealing Ellie's Walkman (although it's for a much more romantic purpose in the eventual episode). The sequence in which Ellie and Riley jump across the rooftops to make their way through the QZ undetected also comes straight out of the second issue of the miniseries, and it stands out as a moment of pure joy in both cases.

While "Left Behind" doesn't offer a one-to-one adaptation of "American Dreams" — for instance, it does away with the idea that Ellie met Marlene before the events of "Left Behind" — several sections of the episode borrow ideas and images from the comic book. In essence, episode 7 offers longtime fans of the franchise a compelling remix of Ellie and Riley's time together.