On the podcast, Craig Mazin gave us his own general idea of what the 7-Eleven scene must’ve looked like: “So something happened in a 7-Eleven that obviously is in the QZ and abandoned, where, in my mind, it happened together, right? Ellie and Riley must’ve been together. They must have broken in. They must have had to run out fast. There was some glass, they go in through a window. Something happened.”
But although both showrunners can imagine how it went down, the show likely won’t flash back to the scene anytime soon. Just like how the many years of Tess and Joel’s adventures are left implied, the stories behind all the scars these characters have at the start of the show are often better left unshown. Sometimes, they don’t need to serve any other purpose beyond making these characters feel lived in, and reinforcing the idea that this is a dangerous world.
“We also don’t know exactly how Joel got his scar,” Mazin explained, referring to the scar seen on the bridge of Joel’s nose. “So we’re hinting at these things. But what we are saying explicitly is, violence is permanent and leaves marks. And sometimes, the only way to close up a wound is to stitch it.”
With only two episodes left in the season and a lot of material left in the game to cover, it’s unlikely the show will include any more flashbacks. The first season of this show has given us some great, meaningful dives into so many of its characters’ past lives, but ultimately the show is about moving forward; not backward. We’ll likely never get to know the exact origin behind so many different character details, and that’s probably for the best.