[This post contains potential spoilers for future episodes of The Last of Us]
Earlier this season on The Last of Us, Ellie cracked a code that Joel set up with Bill and Frank (RIP). “The radio’s a smuggling code, right? ’60s songs, we don’t have anything new, ’70s they’ve got new stuff. What’s ’80s?” she asked before tricking Joel into the answer. “Gotcha. ’80s means trouble,” she grinned. “Code broken.” Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” meant trouble on the radio, but during episode seven, another ’80s classic soundtracks Ellie and Riley’s visit to the mall that’s full of joy — and then things turn tragic.
As Riley shows Ellie the full capitalist wonders of the Boston QZ mall, “Take on Me” by a-Ha begins playing. A tingle of recognition was felt down the spines of every The Last of Us viewer who also played The Last of Us Part II video game; the song holds special significance to Ellie and a character who may have been introduced last episode (and through an acoustic guitar, Joel).
I won’t spoil the moment, but you can watch it here.
Interestingly, “Take on Me” — which connects Riley and a future important person in Ellie’s life — played during the first trailer for the show, but it’s since been removed. “HBO re-edited The Last of Us official trailer to remove a-ha’s ‘Take On Me,’ replacing it with generic background music,” The Direct reported. “As a result of this change, some fans have voiced their disapproval on Twitter, noting that the trailer got worse after the removal.”
Those same fans were conflicted upon hearing the song in “Left Behind.”
the ppl who #Know hearing take on me playing pic.twitter.com/eiB8hiPBgM
— tony (@joeIsmillers) February 27, 2023
NOT THEM PLAYING TAKE ON ME IM UNALIVING #TheLastOfUs pic.twitter.com/gLSOCq1dbi
— meri!! bella ramsey emmy campaign manager (@pateIfilms) February 27, 2023
TAKE ON ME#TheLastOfUs pic.twitter.com/lCvt7fmac1
— tracē @ hades embroidery map (@traceyfanclub) February 27, 2023
SHUT UP NOT TAKE ON ME #TheLastOfUs pic.twitter.com/r3o5M4PZPl
— katie/kit | tlou spoilers (@leia_romanova) February 27, 2023
take on me in this episode of the last of us… pic.twitter.com/EdqPe0UGpa
— Heather (@heather_beattie) February 27, 2023
TAKE ONNNNN ME TAKE ON ME TAKE MEEEEEE ON TAKE ME ON ILL BE GONE IN A DAY OR TWO #TLOU pic.twitter.com/Qjz4zO6ZPY
— Saint (@Saintrow1981) February 27, 2023
TAKE ON ME? pic.twitter.com/5AuFVUNKC8
— r (@odairkns) February 27, 2023
THEYRE PLAYING TAKE ON ME pic.twitter.com/IEtr56tv6X
— marin (@legolover6000) February 27, 2023
NOT ‘TAKE ON ME’ COME ON #TheLastOfUs pic.twitter.com/QuH2ejAqld
— shelbi (@korra_alone) February 27, 2023