The Last Of Us Episode 8: The Last of Us, HBO’s adaptation of the popular PlayStation game, reached a new high with Sunday night’s episode. It also follows the events in the book very closely, making it as faithful an adaptation as one can find.
The Last Of Us Episode 8
Both the game and the show have Ellie meeting David (Scott Shepherd) and James (Troy Baker, the original Joel from the game!) and receiving medicine from them. Ellie has just shot a deer that David and James are after, and she’s holding them at gunpoint to force them to leave. James is sent to get penicillin after David suggests they make a trade with her. However, he quickly realizes that she is connected to the murder of their friend (s). Although James plans to kill her, David saves her life.
David forms a search party to find Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) the following day, and in both the game and the show, they succeed in doing so, bringing Ellie back to their settlement where she awakes in a cage to learn that her captors are not ordinary bandits but cannibals. Though there are numerous subtle changes, the overall story structure is consistent.
Thanks to the antibiotics, Joel can snap out of his coma and fight off his attackers, capturing two of them and torturing them to learn Ellie’s whereabouts. He eventually kills them, stabbing one to death and beating the other with a pipe, after he obtains the information he needs. Here, we see Joel as he exists in the game: Significantly more ruthless, violent, and impervious to doubt. I agree with you that this is the Joel we should have seen all along. The impact of his confession to Tommy would have been enhanced. But I think it shows how far he’ll go to defend his surrogate daughter Ellie.
The role of David as a preacher in the TV show’s adaptation is one of the most notable departures from the video game’s version. Despite his lack of involvement, he is still the group’s leader.
In the series, he lets his guard down around Ellie and admits that he’s not a believer. He’s a dangerously charismatic and aggressive man who gets what he wants by any means necessary. If not through smooth talk and affability, then by force and a willingness to resort to any lowly tactic necessary. He’s becoming more and more insistent that he wants Ellie, and not just in a platonic or leadership capacity, but as a sexual partner. She uses this as her trump card before actually breaking his finger.
Subtle details, such as his threat to chop her up into tiny pieces, are lifted directly from the video game. Everything does indeed happen for a reason; as the adage goes. After she refuses to join in and help out, James and David return to take her to the chopping block. She finally gets her hands on the cleaver and uses it to fatally slash James’s throat. She runs away, and David chases after her into the dining room, where she throws a burning log at him, setting fire to the curtains. The lantern topples over in the game.
David pursues and teases her until she rushes him and stabs him with a kitchen knife. As she tries to crawl to the cleaver, he knocks her to the ground and kicks her. Then he holds her down while telling her that the resistance is his favorite part. Like the game, this lacks any overt threats of rape. The show makes David’s true feelings towards Ellie more clear than they are in the game.
Even though he is directly above her and the room is on fire, Joel has not yet located her. However, he has located the drained bodies of the hung victims (near the body of their horse, which has not been left laying to rot apparently). Ellie reaches around and grabs the abandoned item behind her. She hacked David off of her, jumped on top of him, and hacked him several more times.
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David uses a machete, and Ellie wields a switchblade, in the game. Only slightly different weapons are used here. Everything else is the same, too. Ellie runs out of the burning building, her clothes soaked in blood. She has been traumatized, as she goes into a full-on panic when Joel finds her and grabs her. He hugs her tightly. “It’s me,” he introduces himself. Just chill out, sweetie. He wraps his arms around her and they shiver their way through the snow and back into the forest, far from that evil place and its evil men.
Onwards, hopefully, to the Fireflies and salvation.
Verdict of The Last Of Us Episode 8
The Last Of Us Episode 8 was intense and unsettling. Given that this was one of the tensest and most memorable conflicts from the original, showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann made the right call in staying true to the source material. Splitting episodes 6 and 8 with a whole flashback episode was a bad idea, in my opinion. That derailed a lot of forward motion, and while I enjoyed Ellie and Riley’s story, I think it would have been better served as a series of flashbacks within the seventh episode rather than as the entire episode itself.
I’ve argued that recent episodes of the show have lacked this episode’s tension, which perfectly captured the tension and fear that the game creates throughout. The Last Of Us Episode 8 is the best episode of the show’s main story so far because of how terrifying David and his men are, how the entire world feels cold and inhospitable and dangerous, and how desperately they are fighting for survival (I still love Bill and Frank episode but it was more of an interlude rather than part of the main story arc).
In sum, it was a fantastic episode of The Last of Us, albeit a very unsettling one. The fear factor, and the presence of much more infected, should have played a larger role up to this point, and this only reinforces my belief that the Kathleen subplot was unnecessary. In comparison to the first three episodes of the season, this episode was much more exciting.
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