The Last Of Us Episode 8 Brings More Danger In Its Season 1 Penultimate Entry

At this point, it became clear (if it wasn't before) that "The Last of Us" has a bit of a pacing issue. So far, the first season has attempted to not only fit every major plot point but also character moments and side stories like the "Left Behind" DLC and the Bill and Frank episodes, moving away from Joel and Ellie's story for a bit to expand the world. The problem is that this leaves the show feeling like the CliffsNotes version of "The Last of Us" rather than a proper and complete story. This is particularly noticeable in episode eight, which introduces some rather big new characters, like David.

The episode begins with David, a preacher in charge of a settlement of survivors living in a remote mountain resort. He may be rather strict but seems like a nice guy, concerned about his people running out of food as winter fast approaches. Still, he has a group of men loyal to him, especially his right-hand man James, played by none other than original Joel performance capture actor, Troy Baker himself.

Meanwhile, Ellie tries to find food in a scene straight out of the game, wherein she shoots a deer but it runs away until David and James find it. Ellie gets the jump on them and convinces (well, forces) James to give her medicine for Joel while she stays behind, talking to David. Turns out, he used to be a teacher, and it was only after the world ended that he found religion. When the Fireflies took down FEDRA in the Pittsburgh QZ in 2017, David led a group of survivors out of the city, they picked up even more people along the way before finding their current safe haven.

Meaty violence

As David tells Ellie, he truly came to believe in god after the world ended and in how everything happens for a reason. But this wannabe John Locke is not here to eat oranges and play backgammon. David explains to Ellie how he sent four of his men out to scout and one didn't come back because he got killed — by an older man and a little girl (at the end of the sixth episode). Realizing they know who she is, Ellie grabs the medicine before Troy Baker can kill her, and runs back to Joel.

The thing about David is that he is terrifyingly calm, and that makes him even scarier. It's not when he gets angry that you realize he's the worst — it's when he acts suspiciously nice, telling his men not to hurt Ellie despite her being captured alive would mean one more mouth to feed. It's how he promises his people that capturing (and executing) Joel is nothing but a call for justice, right before he hits a girl in the face for being angry that Joel and Ellie are responsible for her dad's death. David is a man who promises you the world while holding a knife to your throat.

Back at the hideout, Ellie manages to inject Joel with the medicine, tells him that they are coming for him, and heads out to distract them while Joel recuperates — leaving him only with a knife. Sadly, murderous Troy Baker shoots down Ellie's horse and captures her. As for Joel, he miraculously heals in just a few minutes, and right before one of David's men finds his hiding spot, Joel stabs and kills him. Not only that, he becomes a killing machine, mowing down all of David's men, and torturing a couple.

Meaty surprises

Trapped and in a cage, David keeps trying to convince Ellie that they are not going to hurt her. Then she notices the human ear lying on the floor in front of her cell, right where the food comes from, and she discovers the secret ingredient in David's secret meat menu. Turns out, David is no man of god, but instead he kind of worships Cordyceps, the fungi that killed the world, but also protects itself and its children against anything that can hurt them.

This raises a question — why become a cannibal in a world where the dominant life form is made of fungi? The Cordyceps mushroom is edible, after all, so all they had to do to survive the harsh winter was find a couple of infected and roast them.

As if the cannibalism wasn't bad enough, David makes it clear he was not opening up his home to Ellie to be a good samaritan, but he is a pervert abusing his power to find new little girls. Sure, he gives her an excuse about wanting someone to talk to that was real, that he could consider an equal, but come on, he sits on a throne of lies.

Ellie is not easily fooled. She tries to trick David by biting him and then telling him that she is infected. Even if he doesn't buy it, the distraction helps Ellie slash and kill Troy Baker's James — so if you always wanted to see Ellie kill Joel for some reason, here's your chance.

Meaty reunions

The rest of the episode plays out just like in the game, with Ellie having a boss fight with David in the steakhouse restaurant his group uses as a town hall. After an intense fight, she kills David and burns down the place, with Bella Ramsey giving an excellent performance, showing Ellie's vulnerability and desperation.

Exiting the burning steakhouse, Ellie has a tearful reunion with Joel. Between his calling her baby girl, and the close-up of Joel's watch (the one Sarah gave her before dying), the scene cements that Ellie is Joel's daughter now.

There is only one episode left, and at this point, it's become clear just how much "The Last of Us" relies on the audience's familiarity with the story or the tropes of the genre to fill in the blanks. Pascal and Ramsey are excellent as Joel and Ellie, but the show has given us rather little time to buy their relationship without simply remembering how it all went down in the game. And now, their journey is almost at an end.