The Last of Us finally confirms devastating theory that Ellie killed Riley

13 March 2023, 16:15

Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid talk about Ellie and Riley's first love

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

"Not them confirming that Ellie had to kill Riley. It was obvious but I didn’t need to hear that."

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The Last of Us finale episode has just confirmed a long-standing, absolutely devastating theory about Ellie and Riley.

The question about whether or not Ellie had to kill her best friend Riley in the mall after she got infected has been looming over fans' heads since the release of the Left Behind expansion back in 2014. While it's been a popular theory for years (with many arguing that it's kind of obvious that Ellie did kill Riley), it's never really been confirmed.

And when the Ellie and Riley centric episode of the HBO series ('Left Behind') didn't outright confirm the theory either, fans thought they'd never get an official answer.

Now, in an unexpected moment in the final episode of The Last of Us season 1, fans finally got the heartbreaking confirmation about how Riley died.

Did Ellie kill Riley in The Last of Us?

The Last of Us confirms that Ellie killed Riley after she got infected
The Last of Us confirms that Ellie killed Riley after she got infected. Picture: HBO

At the end of the finale episode, when Joel and Ellie arrive back in Wyoming after escaping the Fireflies hospital, Ellie opens up to Joel about the first time she killed someone.

Calling back to a conversation that the two had earlier in the season after Ellie shot someone in Kansas City, Ellie explains what really happened on the day she got bit and how she eventually had to kill Riley.

"Back in Kansas City, you asked me about the first time I killed someone. When I got bit in the mall, I wasn't on my own," she tells him. "My best friend was there and she got bit too. We didn't know what to do, and she says 'We can just wait it out, be all poetic and just lose our minds together. And then she did. And I had to..."

Ellie trails off before finishing her sentence, presumably because she's unable to fully explain and verbalise what she had to do to her first love in order to save her own life. She then ends by saying: "Her name was Riley and she was the first to die."

READ MORE: 17 heartbreaking Ellie and Riley memes that'll make The Last of Us fans sob all over again

That part of the scene has now confirmed the long-standing theory that fans of the game series have held for almost 10 years. Ellie did kill Riley. Riley was her first kill. Ellie killing Riley is now canon.

The show's dialogue where Ellie confesses that she had to kill Riley doesn't exist in the original gameplay. The conversation between her and Joel is exactly the same, right up until Ellie says "be all poetic and just lose our minds together."

While TV Show Ellie then confirms she killed Riley, Game Ellie follows that line by saying: "I'm still waiting for my turn."

"We really got confirmation that Riley was Ellie’s first kill I’m-" one user wrote in response to the scene, alongside a clip of Mia Goth's Pearl sobbing. Another added: "Not them confirming that Ellie had to kill Riley. It was obvious but I didn’t need to hear that."

Once again, Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin still managing to find new ways of absolutely destroying us emotionally every single episode.

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