Expansion packs have been around for decades. Before internet-based gaming made DLC the norm, tabletop and card games often included expansions that furthered gameplay in both minor and major ways. While expansion packs and DLC are typically a lot of fun, they aren’t always quite as substantial as the main games. They’re a bit like a version of an album with bonus tracks: a lot of the time you’re getting less-than-stellar songs you’ll only listen to once, but every now and again you end up with a Taylor Swift’s “1989” situation, and the bonus content becomes as integral to the artistic experience as the main event.

“The Last of Us: Left Behind” has always felt like the latter: a rare bit of bonus content that feels not just well-made, but integral to the story at hand. While “The Last of Us Part II” explores Ellie’s sexuality further, it’s “Left Behind” that clues us in to the fact that she’s a queer character, and a teen who experienced the confusing, fleeting joy of first love moments before having it ripped away. Viewers saw Joel’s origin story in the show’s pilot episode, and “The Last Of Us” has positioned him as a guarded cynic in contrast to Ellie’s effervescent, borderline naive kid. But the fact that Ellie has loved and lost before re-frames their relationship and her character completely. Now we know that she isn’t just naturally silly and upbeat: she chooses to be that way, despite having faced down brutal tragedies before she was even old enough to understand the world around her.