As the mall powers up in front of Ellie’s eyes, she gets to experience a moving escalator for the very first time. As she gleefully runs back and forth the descending steps in front of Riley, “Take On Me” non-dietetically plays over the scene. To those who are new to this story, it might just seem like a small moment, but hardcore fans of games know that an explicit parallel is being drawn.
Both the game and the show’s takes on the “Left Behind” chapter serve as the very first reveal of Ellie’s lesbian identity to their respective audiences, depicting her relationship with her best friend/first love Riley Abel (Storm Reid) and their time together living at a FEDRA military boarding school. However, “The Last of Us Part II” (and the eventual season 2 of the series) only continues to make Ellie’s sexuality an important part of her character and story. During her time living in the Jackson commune, Ellie develops a slow-burn romance with her friend Dina, who might have made an early appearance in episode 6 of the series.
Once the plot of the second game kicks into gear and Ellie embarks on her revenge-quest through Seattle, Dina accompanies her on her journey, playing a major role in the game’s story. As the player’s main companion for the majority of the game’s first act, you get to spend a lot of time watching Ellie and Dina interact. They talk about their hopes and dreams, officially label each other as girlfriends, and fight together through a ruined Seattle Quarantine Zone.