Once again, the cast of The Last of Us has no time at all for people hating on the show for featuring queer characters and storylines.
The latest episode of the hit HBO show featured a story based on the DLC The Last of Us: Left Behind and introduced viewers to Ellie’s crush (and maybe her first kiss) Riley, played by Storm Reid.
Just like episode 3 of the show, this was a self-contained story about queer love, and it was one of the best episodes of the season. However, not everyone was loving it.
“Like Bella said when episode 3 came out: If you don’t like it, don’t watch,” Reid told Entertainment Weekly in an interview. “We are telling important stories. We’re telling stories of people’s experiences, and that’s what I live for. That’s what makes good storytelling because we are telling stories of people who are taking up space in the world.”
When episode 3, which focused on the gay characters Bill and Frank, came out earlier this year, the show’s star Bella Ramsey immediately shut down the haters.
“I’m not particularly anxious about it,” they told GQ about homophobic critics of the show. “I know people will think what they want to think. But they’re gonna have to get used to it. If you don’t want to watch the show because it has gay storylines, because it has a trans character, that’s on you, and you’re missing out. It isn’t gonna make me afraid. I think that comes from a place of defiance.”
Now that the show has gotten even gayer, one might think Reid had some trepidation, but instead, she’s standing just as strong.
“It's 2023. If you're concerned about who I love, then I need you to get your priorities straight,” Reid said about the haters. “There's so many other things to worry about in life. Why are you concerned that these young people — or anybody — love each other? Love is beautiful, and the fact that people have things to say about it, it's just nonsense.”
Reid also said she was drawn to the role specifically because of the representation.
“I'm not only representing women. I'm representing young Black women and I'm representing young queer women that are experiencing new feelings and new relationships,” she said. “We are on the tightrope of a friendship and having a crush, or is it a crush? Is it just flirtatious energy? There's just so much that goes into the complexity of what the episode is. And furthermore, the complexity of what Ellie and Riley's relationship is I find just so beautiful.”
New episodes of The Last of Us air Sunday nights on HBO.
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