When We Are in Need
Episode 8 of The Last Of Us begins with us introduced to a religious cult gathering together in a frozen, abandoned town. They’re fronted by David, who tells a teary girl that the ground is too hard to bury her deceased father and they’ll have to wait until Spring before they do that.
After the sermon, David speaks to James outside, who has doubts about what they’re doing and worries given the scarcity of their resources. The last six months have been tough for everyone but for now, the pair are on the same page over what they’re doing.
Meanwhile, Ellie decides to go out hunting with a rifle. She does find a deer and shoots it but it rushes off. A trickle of blood leads to its dead body… and David and James. Ellie finds the pair and holds them up at gunpoint. She manages to strike a deal, wanting medicine for Joel in exchange for half the deer.
While James heads off to get the medicine, David and Ellie are left alone. She holds a gun up to him as they head into a shelter. David slowly knocks down Ellie’s defences, pointing out that he never used to be religious and that he used to be a teacher. Furthermore, that little girl crying earlier at the beginning of the episode, was a direct result of a four-man hunting party heading into the nearby town.
Only three returned but the one who didn’t happened to be that little girl’s dad. He was murdered by a crazy man traveling with a little girl. A crazy man… that happens to be Joel.
Ellie’s shock momentarily gives way to instinct, as James head back and outnumbers her. David commands James to pass the medicine over and offers his protection. Ellie refuses and she rushes back to see Joel as quickly as possible.
David decides to bring Joel and Ellie to justice, and he briefs the group that evening over what they plan to do. He doesn’t want Ellie killed though.
Ellie finds herself caught in over her head as David, James and a handful of other guards show up to find the pair in their frozen town. Ellie leads them away, protecting Joel in the garage. She doesn’t get far though, as Ellie is knocked off her horse and lands hard on the ground.
Knocked out, David scoops Ellie up and takes off while the other men decide to go door to door. When one of the men heads down to the basement, Joel is no longer lying around and he blindsides the guy, choking him out. Now back to his full health, Joel tortures the men for info, finding the town that Ellie’s in.
Ellie wakes up to find herself back at the community but trapped in a cage. As she tries to work her way out, she notices a severed ear and spatters of blood on the floor. It’s here she realizes that David and the others are cannibals.
Ellie lulls him into a false sense of security and breaks David’s finger, biting him for good measure too. She ends up with a busted nose for her troubles, but Ellie is eventually grabbed and taken out. She points out that she’s infected as she’s laid down on a table, and the slight pause is enough for her to break free and rush through the kitchen and into the restaurant, killing James on the way.
A fire breaks out in the kitchen as Ellie grabs a kitchen knife and hides under the bar. She bides her time and manages to stab David in the side. However, David throws her down but Ellie grabs a knife and stabs him constantly. She stumbles outside as Joel arrives and offers some words of encouragement, walking away with her.
The Episode Review
For the most part, this episode is pretty faithful to the game although the emotional beats don’t quite hit as hard as they do there. For example, the Joel and Ellie reunion is so effective in the game because it comes inside the kitchen and Joel arrives right as Ellie is plunging her knife into David, pulling her off as she’s enraged and unable to control her anger. That’s when Ellie’s defences drop.
The subtle change in the series, with Ellie able to restrain herself shows much more strength and less vulnerability and as such, it doesn’t quite work in the same way. The difference is subtle, but it’s an example of how this scene feels more dissonant by comparison.
Speaking of which, half this season has been completely devoid of the infected, which is a real shame. We’ve had one cameo appearance from clickers, a half-scene with a Bloater and probably 3 different scenes involving the infected (excluding the first episode). This really sucks the tension and suspense out of traversing the world as it feels much more akin to The Stand, where 98% of the world is wiped out and there’s only reason to fear other people.
Despite those gripes though, the episode is still good and understanding more about how the cult operates and all the people living within is a nice touch. Next week’s finale should be a dramatic affair as this first season draws nearer its conclusion.