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The Last of Us TV series - who is Riley?

The Last of Us TV series focuses on Joel and Ellie but there's a character who's probably just as important as them. Here's what you need to know about Riley.

Riley (Storm Reid) in The Last of Us episode 7

Who is Riley in the Last of Us? Warning spoilers for The Last of Us ahead. The Last of Us TVs series is finally here and introduced non-gamers, and those too scared to play the videogame, to Joel and Ellie.

In The Last of Us episode 1, we saw Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) meet up and begin what will become an arduous journey out west. However, before they met, we saw Ellie talking to Marlene about a character called Riley, who, it seems, recently died. Since then, there have been a few mentions of the character, but it was only in The Last of Us episode 7 that we learned their fate.

So who is Riley? What was their relationship with Ellie, and what happened to them? Well if you’ve got questions we’ve hopefully got answers. Warning there will be spoilers ahead for The Last of Us videogame and the TV series.

Who is Riley in The Last of Us?

Riley was Ellie’s best friend, who she met at FEDRA military school. Eventually, Riley grew sick of FEDRA’s despotic rule and left the school to join The Fireflies, breaking Ellie’s heart.

During the events of The Last of Us episode 7, we learned that after Riley became a Firefly, she attempted to recruit Ellie to the group, but Marlene forbade her. Soon after, Riley learned she would be stationed in another city.

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Determined to see her friend one last time, Riley snuck into the military school and invited Ellie to sneak out with her. The two girls left the QZ to an abandoned mall. There the pair spent an evening playing in the remnants of the old world, even managing to turn on the shopping centre’s electricity.

Deciding to play some music, using the mall’s PA system and Ellie’s walkman, the pair danced and even shared a kiss. Unfortunately, the magic of the evening was broken when the infected, attracted by the noise, attacked.

While the pair were able to fight off the runners, both Riley and Ellie were bitten. Not knowing what they’re supposed to do, the pair decided to simply wait and see what happened next, which is where the flashback ended.

Riley (Storm Reid) in The Last of Us episode 7

How did Riley die?

While we don’t see it on-screen, it’s implied that Riley died after succumbing to the cordyceps infection. Presumably, she reanimated soon after she was bitten, and Ellie, who’s immune to the infection, was forced to kill her best friend.

Riley (Storm Reid) in The Last of Us episode 7

Who plays Riley in The Last of Us?

Rile is played by Storm Reid, who made her acting debut in the drama movie 12 Years a Slave. Since then, she’s had roles in the horror movie The Invisible Man and the superhero movie The Suicide Squad. You can see her next in The Nun 2.

If you want to learn more about this horror series, we have an article breaking down The Last of Us cast, so you can learn who’s playing your favourite The Last of Us characters… like Bill and Frank.