The Last of Us HBO: what happened to Riley in the video game? Ending explained

Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid starred as Ellie and Riley in the latest episode of HBO’s The Last of Us

HBO’s hit series The Last of Us brought one of the most beloved parts of the game to life in its latest episode.

The show, which stars Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie, adapated the Left Behind DLC in Sunday (26 February) night’s episode. It followed the dramatic cliffhanger in ‘Kin’ which saw Joel left in grave peril after being stabbed in the abdomen.

HBO’s series, showrun by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, has been faithful for the most part - with noticible differences include the acclaimed third episode featuring Bill Offerman and Murray Bartlett. The seventh episode - also called Left Behind - was written by Druckmann.

But how does it compare to the game? Here is all you need to know:

What happened to Riley in the video game?

The HBO series adapted the Left Behind storyline from the DLC in its seventh episode with the same name. Both the game and TV show explore Ellie’s backstory and how she ended up being bite by infected.

Storm Reid as Riley Abel in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO)
Storm Reid as Riley Abel in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO)
Storm Reid as Riley Abel in The Last of Us (Credit: HBO)

Riley, played in the show by Euphoria’s Storm Reid, takes Ellie to a mall outside the Boston QZ. After switching on the power, the pair spend the evening exploring it. Players are in the shoes of Ellie and get to explore shops, try on Halloween masks, throw bricks through car windows and take pictures of themselves in a photo booth.

In one of the DLC’s most touching moments in a rundown arcade, Riley tells Ellie to close her eyes and describes how a fight in a Mortal Kombat-esque game would have gone down - as players get to experience it.

After a water gun fight in a clothing store, the pair argue as it is revealed that Riley will be sent to another city after joining the Fireflies, leaving Ellie behind. The girls reconcile and before parting ways they plug Ellie’s Walkman into a sound system and dance to a Etta James’ cover of I Got You Babe.

Ellie and Riley kiss but are interupted by a hoarde of infected. The pair attempt to escape and run away through the mall but get bit in the process.

After considering shooting themselves, the girls decide to spend their final hours together.

Did Riley die in Left Behind - ending explained?

The DLC ends with Ellie and Riley deciding to spend their final hours together, the mall storyline ends at this point. In one of the final lines from the add on, Riley tells Ellie: “Let’s just wait it out. You know, we can... be all poetic and just lose our minds together.”

However the ending is left slightly ambigious. It does not show if Ellie is forced to kill Riley after she turns. But given that only Ellie is immune, it is safe to say that Riley turns into an infected in the hours after the ending of Left Behind.

Who plays Riley in the HBO series?

The character is portrayed by Storm Reid in the live action adaptation of the video game. She appears in the seventh episode of The Last of Us season one.

Reid is best known for appearing in the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time; on television, meanwhile, you might remember her as Rue’s younger sister Gia in Euphoria.

Who voiced Riley in Left Behind?

Storm Reid did not voice Riley in the game, taking on the role solely for the TV series. In the Naughty Dog game she is voiced and motion captured by Yaani King, who is best known for portraying Neely Lloyd in the crime drama series Saving Grace.