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You Missed The Last Of Us' Big Kiss If You Live In This Region

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

The seventh episode of HBO's "The Last of Us" is a monumental installment for a number of reasons. It adapts the critically acclaimed 2013 DLC chapter "Left Behind," which provides crucial character background for Ellie, one of the series' primary characters. The episode also managed to incorporate details of "The Last of Us: American Dreams," effectively adapting elements of the obscure comic book miniseries and strengthening the TV show's narrative. More than anything else, though, the episode is important for the moment in which Ellie and her best friend Riley share a kiss, confirming that Ellie is a lesbian.


If you're a fan of the series and you're living in the Middle East and North Africa, however, you might have seen a censored version of the episode that removed the kiss from the final act. Confused viewers took to social media following the airing of the episode to complain about the edit, which was apparently made to the episode when added to the OSN+ streaming service.

Considering the fact that "The Last of Us" is exclusive to OSN+ in these territories, fans unfortunately are stuck with watching the episode in this form (if they must go through official channels). Needless to say, this did not sit terribly well with viewers who are already familiar with the story from the video games.


The original vs. the edit

In the original cut of the episode, Ellie begs Riley not to leave her to join the militant Fireflies. Riley agrees to stay with Ellie, no matter what they have to do to make it work, and Ellie kisses Riley in an act of joy that the entire episode has been building toward. Ellie backs away from Riley and apologizes. Riley smiles and assures Ellie that she's not upset, resulting in one the most pure moments of happiness viewers have seen from Ellie since the show began. Aside from the fun horror masks the pair are wearing, the scene plays out almost exactly as it does in the original DLC chapter. One fan on Twitter has even lined the two clips up to show how faithful the adaptation remains to the source material:


In the OSN+ edit, however, Ellie asks Riley not to go and Riley agrees. Then the two of them stare awkwardly at each other for a moment as Ellie says, "I'm sorry." Without the context of the kiss, the next few bits of dialogue make very little sense, almost feeling like Ellie abruptly changed the subject.

Of course, this is about so much more than just a kiss, even when looking at things strictly from a story perspective. The brief love shared between Ellie and Riley is an incredibly important part of the latter's character growth, and Riley remains a defining figure in Ellie's life. Riley is killed shortly after the two reveal their feelings for one another, effectively causing Ellie to shut down and keep the world at arm's length. It takes years before Ellie is able to open herself up again — and it's entirely possible that this cut could jeopardize seeing Ellie's growth as a character, at least for viewers in these areas.


Will The Last of Us receive more edits like this?

Thus far, HBO's "The Last of Us" has largely stuck closely to the original game's storyline. There have been a few remixed moments here and there — including a whole episode focusing on Bill and Frank that arguably improved on the source material — but the plot has mostly remained intact. Cutting this kiss from the broadcast means many viewers are unable to see the beginnings of a character arc that will inevitably play out as the series continues. It also raises questions of how the show will be censored in the Middle East going forward. It's going to be pretty difficult to cut around Ellie's sexuality for an entire second season, if that is indeed the plan. If not, is it possible that the second season of the show simply won't air in these regions?


As noted by a number of viewers who saw the edited episode, the cut is even more confusing because OSN+ apparently didn't demand any edits from Episode 3, which prominently featured another gay romance at its center. It remains to be seen how further cuts may impact "The Last of Us" as it airs on OSN+, but one thing's for sure: The fans are definitely going to notice.