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Why 'Take On Me' In The Last Of Us Episode 7 Is So Important

This article contains spoilers for "The Last of Us" games and TV series.

"The Last of Us" is a franchise that uses music in unexpectedly poignant ways. Nowhere is that more true than in the second game, during which Joel and Ellie each get moments to shine with their instruments. Joel plays snatches of "Future Days" by Pearl Jam to express his paternal love toward Ellie, as well as the regret he feels over their falling out. Ellie, on the other hand, takes up the guitar on a few occasions to treat Dina (and the player) to a variety of cover songs. The most memorable of these is Ellie's rendition of A-ha's "Take On Me," which she plays during a tender moment with her girlfriend. 


Since then, the song has become an important part of "The Last of Us" lore, with an epic-sounding version of the track underscoring one of the first trailers for the HBO series. That trailer was edited in such a way that it seemed like Bill and Frank were broadcasting it as a message to Joel and Tess. However, when the first episode of the series aired, it was actually Depeche Mode's "Never Let Me Down Again" that came blasting over the radio. 

The TV series didn't forget about "Take On Me," though, and the track finally made its way into the show with Episode 7, "Left Behind." Here's how the show used it, as well as how that song's importance to Ellie may have been emphasized by the HBO adaptation.


'Take On Me' is incredibly important to Ellie

In "Left Behind," Ellie's best friend (and love interest), Riley, invites Ellie to a night out at an abandoned mall. To Ellie's surprise, the mall has a working electrical system. As the pair make their way down the escalator — or "electric stairs," as Ellie hilariously calls them — the familiar sounds of A-ha's original recording of "Take On Me" can be heard echoing throughout the mall.


The significance of this scene is two-fold: Not only is it a knowing nod to the games for fans, but it also inextricably ties the song itself to moments when Ellie has opened her heart. In "Left Behind," Ellie finally reveals her feeling towards Riley when they share a kiss towards the end of the episode. If the next season of "The Last of Us" recreates the scene in which Ellie plays "Take on Me" for Dina, it may become even more clear to viewers that she's found a way to move on and love again, despite the traumatic end to "Left Behind."