HBO’s The Last of Us hasn’t been afraid to deliver when it comes to telling a story faithful to the original. So nobody’s heart was emotionally prepared for the latest The Last of Us episode depicting the story of love, friendship and heartbreak between Ellie and Riley.
However, thanks to Kotaku, we know not everyone got to see the full story play out and the reason why seems to be that age-old chestnut: homophobia. For those who have played The Last of Us and its DLC Left Behind, the kiss between Ellie and Riley is old news, as revolutionary as it was at the time. But for TV viewers who are watching the show for the first time? Not so much.
What happens in the game (and in the show for majority of viewers) is that Ellie and Riley bond together in an abandoned shopping mall. Riley wants to give Ellie the time of her life before she heads off with the Fireflies, a group that is in direct opposition of FEDRA, where Ellie’s alliegence lies. However, after dancing and getting closer, Ellie begs Riley not to go. Riley agrees and the two kiss.
Yet according to viewers who use ONS+, a streaming service in Dubai, the latest The Last of Us episode doesn’t feature Ellie and Riley doing anything but looking awkwardly at one another, the kiss removed completely.
In a clip uploaded by Twitter user @fantasyofAl, you can see a comparison of the game and the show’s kiss versus the cut from ONS+. As far as viewers who use this subscription service are aware of, Ellie and Riley really were just the bestest of friends. Suuuure Jan.
This isn’t the first time a same-sex kiss has created a stir in some countries and regions. Lightyear’s same-sex kiss ended with the movie being banned in 14 countries. While it isn’t surprising as some countries are still very hostile to LGBTQ+ relationships, it is disappointing that such a vital moment for Ellie has been cut and does make us wonder: what on earth are they going to do for Season 2 with the love story between Ellie and Dina? Only time will tell.