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The Last of Us episode 7 was inspired by this classic rom-com

The director of The Last of Us episode 7 has explained how a 1930s Greta Garbo movie, of all things, inspired Ellie and Riley's mall date

The Last of Us

The director of episode 7 of The Last of Us has opened up about the feelings he wanted to evoke during Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Riley’s super-cute mall date. In the episode, Riley (Storm Reid) leads Ellie through a magical evening in an abandoned shopping centre. As the girls geek out about riding a carousel and playing a video game, it becomes clear that this is their first date. The production team got to deck-out the real abandoned mall where they filmed The Last of Us episode 7 with early 2000s references, as that is when time ‘froze’ in the series.

Liza Johnson told TV Line; “I sort of view the whole episode as… do you remember in that Greta Garbo movie, I think it’s Ninotchka (1939), and it’s like the first time her character tastes champagne? It’s just like this amazing moment where she’s like, ‘Oh, is this good?’ And then she’s like, ‘Isn’t this good?’ And then she’s like, [smiles widely] ‘Yeah, it’s good.’ And it’s just, like, all in her face.” Ninotchka is one of the best rom-coms and it stars Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, and Bela Lugosi. It’s directed by Ernst Lubitsch and co-written by Billy Wilder.

Johnson continues; “And I feel like this episode has the quality of being like an hour-long version of that moment of discovery where it’s just like, “OK, it’s like their first date, it’s their first kiss. But also it’s their first escalator, and their first Mortal Kombat, and their first carousel and like first electrical breaker, maybe? And everything has this quality of discovery.”

“Even when they get to like a dead body in the hallway, they’re like, “Wait, is this bad?” [Laughs]  You know what I mean? That even the stuff that’s maybe not delightful to come upon is still a discovery… that even the bad stuff that they’re encountering is still something that they’re discovering as they go through the world together, and so in that sense I think it is a little bit of a different tone than the rest of the project, and it’s a thing that I find delightful.” Riley is a new Last of Us character that fans of the game have been looking forward to seeing.

While we wait for episode 8, check out our guide to the Last of Us cast.