The Last of Us Episode 8 Alters Ellie’s Character Forever

Our hero encounters individuals who are severely troubled – and this is noteworthy considering the already chaotic nature of the environment.

The Last of Us Episode 8 Alters Ellie's Character Forever
The Last of Us episode 8. Image credit: HBO

Warning: The Last of Us episode 8 spoilers below.


I’ve been experiencing excruciating pain lying on the floor for an entire week, much like Joel from The Last of Us. I’m eagerly anticipating the show’s return and praying that Ellie possessed the necessary skills to properly stitch up and sterilize a wound, considering how carelessly she utilized a needle and thread during Episode Seven. Losing any more characters would be emotionally unbearable for me.

Rather than offering reassurance about Joel’s condition, Episode Eight of the show commences by introducing a new character named David, who serves as the pastor for a small community in Wyoming. As expected, I’m skeptical of David and anyone who isn’t Joel, Ellie, Henry, or Sam. However, it’s possible that he’s a decent person. Only time will tell.


David’s companion happens to be Troy Baker, the same voice actor who portrayed Joel in The Last of Us video game. This is a promising sign that things may be moving in the right direction. During their hunting trip, they stumble upon a deer that Ellie had already shot. David agrees to trade resources for the deer, offering penicillin to help cure Joel’s infection. Interestingly, there don’t seem to be any infected individuals in this region, possibly because the fungus creatures can’t tolerate cold temperatures. David mentions that he comes from the Pittsburgh QZ, the same location where Henry and Sam were introduced in The Last of Us video game. This is another enjoyable Easter egg for fans, providing a temporary distraction from the heartbreak that the HBO series delivers each week.


Regarding my earlier suspicions, it turns out that David confirms that the man who attacked Joel and subsequently got attacked by him was from his community. The survivors from the encounter informed David that Joel was traveling with a young girl. Although David allows Ellie to escape, the rest of his community disagrees with this decision. Despite their objections, David’s authority prevails as he rebukes a child who suggests hunting down and killing the pair. As a result, Ellie prepares for the inevitable search party. David instructs his minions to bring Ellie back alive, and they successfully capture her. Meanwhile, one of David’s men enters the house where Joel is hiding, but to everyone’s surprise, our hero rises to defend himself. It appears that Joel is back in action and ready to take down each of his enemies until he can locate Ellie.


Afterward, we cut back to Ellie, who finds herself locked up in a cell. David interrogates her, but Ellie refuses to cooperate. To no one’s surprise, David turns out to be a despicable individual who practices cannibalism in his town by passing off human meat as venison. He defends his actions as a last resort to avoid starvation. Ellie tells him that he shouldn’t resort to eating people, which he dismisses due to his twisted religious view of the cordyceps virus. However, Ellie doesn’t have time to explore David’s bizarre beliefs since she’s being held captive by cannibals. Fortunately, Ellie manages to overpower one of her captors and escapes, setting fire to their twisted gathering place. David attempts to rape her, but Ellie fights back and fatally stabs him. She then stumbles out of the building and finds Joel. He assures her that everything will be okay and that he’s got her as they walk away, battered and traumatized.

The Last of Us Episode 8 Alters Ellie's Character Forever
He’s just a simple man struggling with his cannibalistic tendencies. Image credit: HBO

As someone who hasn’t played The Last of Us video game to maintain the element of surprise while watching the show, my editor Brady informed me that Ellie’s experience with David is a crucial moment for her character going forward. Prior to this, she made light of the Infected and joked about having a gun and escaping them. However, being attacked by another human is a different form of violence that hits closer to home. Killing monsters is one thing since they’re monsters, but killing a human who acts like a monster is an entirely different matter. This experience will likely have a profound impact on Ellie’s character and how she approaches future challenges.


It’s remarkable how the atrocities that humans are capable of committing can surpass the suffering caused by a fungal zombie. Despite this, we tend to anticipate compassion and benevolence from our fellow human beings. In Ellie’s encounter with David, who exhibits almost every form of wickedness by the end of the episode, she is subjected to an incredibly traumatic experience. Ellie is forced to become a true murderer, and the encounter will likely leave a permanent mark on her psyche. Although Ellie may admire Joel for his strength, indifferent attitude, and rugged exterior, he has only developed these traits as a result of the horrors he has witnessed and committed throughout his life. Is it really the type of person that Ellie wants to emulate? Surviving is a challenging task, and the choices that one is compelled to make along the way are almost always unpleasant. If you ask any of the “villains” we’ve encountered thus far, they would likely agree. They have all made some pretty irrational decisions, but at the core, they are simply fighting for survival.


Currently, Joel and Ellie appear to be physically unharmed, but their mental and emotional states are far from okay. However, things could change for the better in the final episode of the season. Yet, given the ongoing traumatic events, it is more likely that the situation will only worsen. Even if Joel and Ellie manage to reach the doctors, there is no guarantee that they can be trusted. Furthermore, is it worthwhile to sacrifice our morality for a chance at a vaccine? The situation is causing significant emotional distress. However, perhaps some positive developments could arise, such as the spread of the mushroom virus coming to a halt, or Ellie finding love once again. It would be a much-needed respite from the continual horrors.


More in entertainment, here’s our review of ‘The Mandalorian’ season 3.

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