Did episode 8 of ‘The Last of Us’ mess you up? Us too.

(*8*)One other week, one other devastating episode of The Last of Us.

(*8*)After wrecking us with Ellie’s (Bella Ramsey) tragic backstory, the deaths of numerous characters, and Joel’s (Pedro Pascal) life-threatening damage, The Last of Us ups the ante by introducing the sport’s most sinister villain: David (Scott Shepherd).

(*8*)David is a charismatic preacher who leads the neighborhood of survivors in Silver Lake. These of us who’ve already performed the sport additionally know he is a violent cannibal, which is closely hinted at after which revealed in episode 8, “When We Are in Want.” From attempting to achieve Ellie’s belief to brutally attacking her, David — and Shepherd’s completely petrifying tackle him — delivers probably the most disturbing episode of The Last of Us but. So disturbing, the truth is, that I needed to pause the episode a number of instances to scream at my display or to course of my gut-wrenching dread.

(*8*)Right here, in chronological order, is each time The Last of Us episode 8 chilled me to my core and made me violently pressured.

When David says his folks cannot bury a physique as a result of it is too chilly to dig.

(*8*)Purple flag primary occurs proper firstly of the episode when David holds a funeral for Silver Lake resident Alec, whom Joel killed on the finish of episode 6. After David is completed preaching, Alec’s daughter Hannah (Sonia Maria Chirila) asks once they can bury him. In accordance with David, they can not bury him till the spring, because the winter has made the bottom too exhausting for digging.

(*8*)Nonetheless, as somebody who’s acquainted with the sport, I used to be already conscious that David and his neighborhood have turned to cannibalism, so this instantly set off warning bells in my head. Are they actually going to retailer Alec’s corpse till spring? Or are they going to make use of it to alleviate their starvation? In the case of implied cannibalism, we’re already on some mighty skinny ice right here.

Once we see Joel’s contaminated wound.

Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal in “The Last of Us.”
Credit score: Liane Hentscher/HBO

(*8*)I by no means like seeing contaminated wounds, however when mentioned contaminated wound is on the abdomen of a personality I’ve grown to like, then I am undoubtedly going to be feeling further nauseous. That nausea is compounded by anxiousness for Ellie, who has to discover a option to heal her touring companion and hold them each alive throughout a brutal winter. Oh, and there is the opposite drawback of the close by group of very hungry survivors who won’t take too kindly to discovering a brand new mouth to feed on their turf.


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When David and James discover the deer Ellie shot.

(*8*)Any teeny tiny sliver of hope that Ellie will not encounter David or his henchman James (Troy Baker) shatters once they discover the deer that she shot and killed. (Facet be aware: Go, Ellie!) Regardless of Ellie’s placing on a courageous face and threatening David and “buddy-boy over there,” we’re acutely conscious of the hazard she’s in.

When David reveals he is aware of who Ellie and Joel are.

(*8*)Nothing good can ever come of a creepy man telling you, “I consider every thing occurs for a motive.” So when David says that to Ellie, the alarm bells which were softly ringing all through the episode instantly go into overdrive. The dread builds and builds as David recounts Alec’s loss of life from his neighborhood’s perspective, referring to his killer — whom we come to appreciate was Joel — as a “loopy man.” The opposite shoe drops with a powerful thud when David mentions that Alec’s killer was touring with somewhat lady. It is official: He is identified who Ellie is that this complete time, and I’m sick to my abdomen. Run, Ellie! Run!

When one of David’s males claims he is serving venison.

(*8*)After the tense David-James-Ellie stand-off — which fortunately resulted in Ellie getting the medication she wants to save lots of Joel — we return to Silver Lake for extra implied cannibalism. One of David’s males brings a prepare dinner some very fresh-looking meat, and much of it, too! When requested what it’s, he takes a number of beats too lengthy earlier than answering, “Venison.” Certain, buddy.

When David and James deliver the deer again to Silver Lake.

A man speaks to a group of people gathered in a run-down steakhouse. Behind him, a white banner reads,

Scott Shepherd in “The Last of Us.”
Credit score: Liane Hentscher/HBO

(*8*)If you have been nonetheless holding out hope that the thriller meat — sorry, “venison” — was, the truth is, meat from Ellie’s deer, this second sends that whole fantasy flying out the window. David and James drag the deer again into Todd’s Steakhouse, resulting in the apparent query: “What meat are these folks actually consuming?” Not deer, that is for positive. By the way in which, has anybody seen Alec’s physique recently?

When David hits Hannah.

(*8*)The Last of Us has already given us lots of motive to not belief David, and the horror simply retains on coming when he hits Hannah for telling him to kill Ellie and Joel. The abuse is already terrifying in itself, however issues get even worse when David kneels down beside her and extends his hand. He tells Hannah that she’ll all the time have a father, including, “You’ll present him respect when he is talking.” Coming from a preacher, you may count on the daddy to be God, however primarily based on that final line, it looks like David is actually solely speaking about himself. The manipulative cult chief vibes are in full impact.

When everybody eats the meat that undoubtedly is not venison.

(*8*)Now that The Last of Us has revealed David’s actually abusive colours, it might probably minimize us a bit of slack, proper? Improper! That thriller meat hasn’t gone wherever. Quickly, Silver Lake’s inhabitants are shoveling what they presumably assume is venison into their mouths. The scene performs out in close to silence: All we hear is the frantic clattering of their silverware. It is an eerie showcase of the neighborhood’s desperation, ushering in a creeping sense of dread.


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When David and his males return to hunt Ellie and Joel.

(*8*)This complete sequence is a coronary heart assault ready to occur. Between Ellie attempting to guide all these males — who’re, by the way in which, carrying weapons — away from Joel to a still-recovering Joel realizing he must battle, the percentages have by no means been extra towards our heroes. Then, David’s males nearly shoot Ellie earlier than he interferes. I’ve by no means been extra grateful to see David…That’s, till he bridal-carries an unconscious Ellie again in direction of Silver Lake. Get a job! Avoid her!

When Ellie wakes up in a cage and David tries to win her over.

(*8*)Being trapped in a cage is horrifying sufficient, however being trapped in a cage whereas the person who put you there tries to persuade you he is some form of hero? That could be even worse. Ellie’s predicament is made all of the extra nauseating by David’s makes an attempt to control her. He tells her he saved her and that he can defend her — however we have seen how he treats younger girls in his care, and nobody deserves that.

When Ellie sees the severed human ear.

(*8*)Any implied cannibalism all through this episode formally turns into confirmed cannibalism as soon as Ellie sees a severed human ear on the ground of the room the place she’s held. It is a much less graphic model of her discovery within the recreation, the place she sees James butchering a corpse proper in entrance of her, however that does not make it any much less terrifying. Additionally terrifying? David’s calm admission that his neighborhood eats folks…and that not all people in Silver Lake is aware of! Feeding folks their family and friends with out their information is about as monstrous as you can get, survival be damned.

When David compares Ellie to himself.

A man and a teenage girl holding a gun huddle around a fire in a shack.

Scott Shepherd and Bella Ramsey in “The Last of Us.”
Credit score: Liane Hentscher/HBO

(*8*)The very last thing you need to hear from a cannibal retaining you in a cage is, “You remind me of me.” But that is precisely what David hits Ellie with. It comes throughout as one other try to control her to his aspect, in addition to a risk of what he is succesful of.

(*8*)”You have got a violent coronary heart, and I ought to know,” he tells her. “I’ve all the time had a violent coronary heart, and I struggled with it for a very long time.” With this, David cements himself as probably probably the most harmful individual Ellie has encountered thus far. By this level within the episode, my coronary heart is already in my abdomen, however would you consider that it will get worse?

When David talks about Cordyceps.

(*8*)Seems, David did not discover fact in God after the world ended. As an alternative, he discovered it in Cordyceps — you know, the fungus that robs you of your bodily autonomy, compels you to kill these round you, and offers you an admittedly sick-looking mushroom makeover.

(*8*)”What does Cordyceps do? Is it evil?” David asks Ellie. “No. It is fruitful, it multiplies. It feeds and protects its youngsters, and it secures its future with violence if it should. It loves.” His whole speech is tinged with horrifying fanaticism, however what’s scarier is that there is some fact in it. David’s give attention to the “love” of Cordyceps calls again to the fungal kiss we noticed between Tess and one of the contaminated in episode 2.

(*8*)Scarier than even that, although, is David’s almost-hushed supply of “It loves” in direction of Ellie. Between that and the charged second after he hit Hannah, it is turning into an increasing number of obvious that David preys on the younger girls in his neighborhood.

When David places his hand on Ellie’s cage.

(*8*)The scene between David and Ellie continues with David’s sinister insistence that he and Ellie are comparable. “I am a shepherd surrounded by sheep, and all I would like is an equal. A buddy,” he tells her. He sees a future the place he and Ellie could lead on Silver Lake collectively, which he describes in what feels very very like a person attempting to safe himself a baby bride.

(*8*)”Assume of what we might do collectively, as robust as we’re. We would make this place good,” he continues, curling his fingers across the bars of Ellie’s cage. His predatory manipulation makes the second Ellie reaches out to him — and the second when he takes her hand — one of probably the most sickening components of an already sickening episode.

When David modifications his tune.

(*8*)Fortunate for us, Ellie sees proper by way of David’s ways. Seems her reaching for David was a ploy to interrupt his finger and steal his keys — and it nearly works! Sadly, David foils her escape try. Seeing him take again the keys is one other nail within the coffin of horror that’s this episode. Ellie could ship an all-timer line in “Inform them Ellie is the little lady who broke your fucking finger!” however David’s follow-up is a chilling reminder of who has the facility right here.

(*8*)”How did you put it?” he says. “Tiny little items?”

When Joel sees the hanging our bodies.

(*8*)The severed ear was simply an appetizer (sorry) for the principle course (sorry) that’s the three butchered our bodies Joel discovers hanging in Silver Lake’s boat home. Truthfully, the David and Ellie alternate is so distressing that I nearly forgot concerning the cannibalism, however this grotesque sight brings it (and my cannibalism-induced nausea) roaring again.

When David and James attempt to kill Ellie.

A man in a beanie opens a door.

Troy Baker in “The Last of Us.”
Credit score: Liane Hentscher/HBO

(*8*)The sequence the place David and James throw Ellie on the butcher’s block is the closest she has come to loss of life this complete episode, and that is saying one thing. Ellie’s fast occupied with revealing she’s contaminated buys her sufficient time to kill James and escape, however I might be mendacity if I mentioned the thud of David’s cleaver on the desk subsequent to her ear did not make me soar out of my pores and skin.

When David stalks Ellie by way of Todd’s steakhouse.

(*8*)If you one way or the other nonetheless wanted extra proof that David is straight-up evil, look to everything of his showdown with Ellie in Todd’s Steakhouse. The constructing is burning throughout him, but all he cares about is searching Ellie down, cleaver in hand. His sing-song-y “Ellie” and frenzied cry of “You do not know how good I’m!” will hang-out my nightmares.

(*8*)By far, that is the worst factor he says as he stalks her: “I’ve modified my thoughts. I’ve determined you do want a father. So I am gonna hold you, and I am gonna train you.” Not solely does this spell out horrifying penalties for Ellie, it additionally darkens David’s earlier altercation with Hannah. We all know what he plans to do to Ellie, however what has he already finished to different younger girls he is informed to assume of him as a father?

When David and Elli face off for the final time.

(*8*)The Last of Us largely avoids the risk of sexual violence in direction of Ellie, however that modifications on this episode and particularly within the ultimate moments of Ellie’s battle with David. He pins her down as fireplace rages round him and tells her, “I believed you already knew. The combating is the half I like probably the most.” Then, in a disturbing reminder of his speech about Cordyceps, he says, “Do not be afraid. There is no worry in love.”

(*8*)The Last of Us fortunately does not get extra specific than that, however the closely implied risk of assault is greater than sufficient to cement this as probably the most horrifying episode of the present. The final shot of David’s face, framed by fireplace, positions him as an unequivocal monster, and it is a reduction when Ellie repeatedly takes a cleaver to him moments later.

When Ellie screams when Joel touches her.

(*8*)Whereas Ellie’s very bloody killing of David is a cathartic finish to a despicable character, it is also extremely traumatic for her. The blood-spattered, panting, terrified Ellie we see rising from Todd’s Steakhouse is so completely different from the lady we all know who loves studying comics and cracking dumb jokes. Nowhere is her trauma clearer than when Joel grabs her from behind and he or she screams for him to get off of her. When she lastly realizes it is Joel, she is unable to talk, but grabs onto him for pricey life. Coupled with Joel’s comfortable “It is okay, child lady,” this determined hug is one of probably the most heartbreaking moments The Last of Us has delivered thus far. Ellie goes by way of hell in “When We Are in Want,” and although she’s reunited together with her companion, the consequences of this expertise will linger on properly into the longer term.

(*8*)The Last of Us is now streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a brand new tab) New episodes air each Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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