[Trigger Warning: This article mentions disturbing elements, particular pedophilia, child abuse and sexual assault.]
In The Last of Us season 1, episode 8, a significant element from the original game is incorporated to provide a crucial conclusion to Ellie and Joel’s story.
The series has been focused on Ellie’s determination to prevent Joel’s death since the cliff-hanger ending in episode 6. To enhance her already impressive character and illustrate her reasons for desperately attempting to save Joel, episode 7 includes the DLC narrative from The Last of Us: Left Behind.
1. The Last of Us Episode 8 Introduces David
The storyline in The Last of Us episode 8 follows on from the previous episodes. Ellie meets a man named David and trades him a deer for medicine to aid Joel’s recovery. However, the plot takes a twist when it is unveiled that the assailants from the university, who attacked Joel and Ellie in episode 6, are part of David’s faction.
As a result, episode 8 climaxes in an intense, action-packed finale that serves as the perfect pre-finale episode of this season.
The revelation that the men from the university are part of David’s group triggers his desire to seek justice against Joel while simultaneously developing an unusual attachment to Ellie. As the leader of the group, David assumes this role due to his status as a preacher and the community’s need for guidance, with God as the ultimate leader.
Prior to the Cordyceps outbreak, David was a teacher but found solace in religion after the crisis. In episode 8, David is initially portrayed in a positive light through his efforts to provide for his community, his unbiased treatment of his followers and his compassionate treatment of Ellie.
Despite the positive light in which David is introduced in The Last of Us episode 8, the episode gradually reveals him to be a true antagonist. This is evident when he discloses that he is aware of Joel and Ellie’s identities and is determined to punish Joel for killing one of his men in self-defense.
Although David continues to treat Ellie with friendliness and even attempts to recruit her into his community, it becomes apparent that he has a more sinister side than previously depicted. David’s sinister nature is further emphasized by the reason behind his determination to keep Ellie alive.
Initially, David claims that he needs Ellie’s assistance in governing his community. He suggests that Ellie’s violent nature aligns with his own, and he relates to her as both of them are part of a violent world. David also states that he needs (or wants) a friend, and believes that Ellie could fill that role, given her compassionate nature. However, these motives ultimately reflect David’s manipulative and predatory tendencies.
2. How Episode 8 Shapes Joel and Ellie’s Bond
As The Last of Us episode 8 progresses, David’s disturbing intentions become increasingly apparent. During their conversation, David drops hints about his true nature and his reasons for wanting Ellie to remain with his group. He expresses an obsession with Cordyceps, suggesting that the fungus thrives through violence and that it possesses a love for it.
Additionally, David’s remarks about his violent tendencies and having a violent heart implies that he is not the benevolent and kind person he appeared to be earlier. The situation culminates towards the end of the episode, where it is heavily implied that David attempts to sexually assault Ellie after commenting that he enjoys the fighting aspect the most.
Following the intense and traumatic ending scene where Ellie kills David in self-defense, she stumbles outside in a dazed and traumatized state. Soon after, Joel catches up with her, having healed from his injuries sustained in episode 6.
Joel holds Ellie as she breaks down in his arms, making for what could be considered the most significant scene in both the original game and the HBO series. This scene highlights the strong bond of trust and connection between Joel and Ellie.
One example of this is Joel’s endearing nickname for Ellie – ‘baby girl’, which is the same name he used to call his daughter, Sarah, before she passed away. Throughout The Last of Us, there have been numerous instances that subtly foreshadow the father-daughter relationship between Joel and Ellie.
However, all these hints culminate in this moment in episode 8, where Joel wholeheartedly embraces Ellie as his daughter following their journey and her traumatizing experiences.
3. What to Expect from The Last of Us Finale?
Moving forward, the central question is what fate awaits Joel and Ellie. With the Fireflies relocating to Salt Lake City as established in The Last of Us episode 6, season 1 is building towards its conclusion.
Having dealt with Joel’s injury and Ellie’s encounters with David in The Last of Us episodes 7 and 8 respectively, The Last of Us episode 9 will bring the story to a head. This final episode will see Joel and Ellie arriving at the hospital in Salt Lake City, where they will deliver Ellie to the Fireflies.
However, the episode will also grapple with the tragic reality that Ellie will need to sacrifice her life in order to create a vaccine for the Cordyceps infection. The events of The Last of Us episode 8 have brought Joel and Ellie closer, making Joel’s decision to kill the Fireflies to save Ellie’s life an even more gut-wrenching moment. This decision will echo the conclusion of the original game and will set the stage for The Last of Us season 2.
The Last of Us episode 9 is expected to follow the plot point from the original game’s ending, which will likely lead to some significant plot twists. The return of Marlene, who informs Joel and Ellie about the cost of creating a vaccine, is anticipated, as well as Ashley Johnson’s appearance as Anna, Ellie’s mother.
Unlike the game’s action-heavy focus, The Last of Us as a series prioritizes character and story, so while there may be some action, the emphasis will be on the emotional aspect of Joel’s decision. Additionally, the last episode may hint at season 2 by featuring significant cameos from characters from The Last of Us Part II, which will be crucial for the upcoming season.
4. About The Last Of Us
The Last of Us is an HBO TV series adaptation of the award-winning video game of the same name originally developed by Naughty Dog.
It is set in 2033, as a fungal infestation plagues humans, turning them feral and blind before finally finishing them off. The series follows Joel’s journey to escort an immune 14-year-old Ellie to the Fireflies, who hope to study her to procure a vaccine.
The cast comprises Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, both famed for their roles in Games of Thrones, along with Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandridge, and Nico Parker. The show was renewed for season 2.