We learned more of Ellie’s (Bella Ramsey) story in The Last of Us episode 8. This was the second episode focusing mainly on the past, the other being “Long, Long Time”. It’s certainly a great way to enrich the story by including more of what is known from the game. Adding these greater explorations into side stories infuses a deeper and more layered experience to video game adaptations.
[Warning: Spoilers from The Last of Us episode 8 are below!]
Ellie is paying for Joel’s “sins” in “When We Are in Need”
The creators of this HBO series strike a perfect balance between stories players already know and exploring things they haven’t seen yet. Fortunately, in this episode, we still get some pretty dope Easter eggs in the background. In “When We Are in Need,” the screen time of the main characters is evenly shared.
The episode begins with David (Scott Shepherd) talking to a group of people. Attending a funeral, the congregation is hiding in Silver Lake, Colorado. David is the group’s preacher and boss. He makes a rather strong speech, and after it’s over, David talks outside with James (Troy Baker a.k.a. Joel’s voice from the game) about the number of rations they have left.
The episode then jumps back to Ellie at the same point where we left off last time. She is taking care of Joel (Pedro Pascal), and decides it’s time to find some more food, so she goes hunting on her own. This is the first time we see Ellie using a sniper rifle, and her struggles with aiming this heavy weapon are visible. She shoots at a deer, but it escapes. Ellie finds him dead, with David and James already there ready to take him away. However, with a small look of surprise, she aims straight at their faces, forcing them to drop their weapons.
David wants to do it peacefully and sends James to get two bottles of Penicillin in exchange for half of the deer. When James leaves, David decides he and Ellie should wait in a nearby shack, so he can light a fire to keep them warm.
If you have played the game, you know that this moment is crucial, due to a zombie attack. Now it’s different. There are no zombies around, and they just talk. This scene has excellent dialogue and acting, and as David starts small talk with Ellie she begins to trust him. However, when he mentions sending four of their men to a nearby university to get supplies, Ellie becomes immediately scared.
David says that everything happens for a reason. As soon as he finishes that sentence, James takes aim at Ellie. Trying to calm James down, David explains that Ellie didn’t kill anyone, it was Joel. He says she’s not guilty and cannot be killed for it. David lets her go but wants to give his people justice for their loss.
Ellie finally has a chance to treat Joel somewhat, stopping the infection in his wound. She gives him penicillin and waits. Meanwhile, David and James bring the deer back to their group. They announce that they will set out in the morning to find the man responsible for their friend’s death.
The daughter of the dead man shouts that they should kill him. David immediately runs up to her and slaps her. At this point, we see that David is a ruthless sick man. He tries to settle things peacefully, as long as people follow his rules. We also see his other side as a person who likes kids. He tries to charm them and use their weaknesses against them.
Ellie Vs David: a great comeback worth waiting for
A day passes and Ellie learns that David’s group is looking for her and Joel. She tries to wake Joel and hand him a knife, as she needs to create a distraction. Unfortunately, James kills her horse and catches her. The bright side in all this is that Joel is now better and killing other people in that group. He finds out where they’re taking Ellie and sets out on a rescue mission. Meanwhile, Ellie is trapped in a cage. David says he will let her go if she joins them.
He sets the perfect trap for her, however, Ellie is not stupid. She plays his game, breaking his finger. He’s furious and decides to kill her. When David and James put her on the table to chop her into pieces, she says she bit David and that she is infected. Ellie confuses them and uses that to her advantage to kill James. She starts a fire in the bar, trying to hide in it. This is the classic “boss fight” from the game, which is incredibly nerve-wracking.
They play cat and mouse, but Ellie eventually finds a knife and jumps on David. She brutally kills him and escapes just in time, as Joel sees her alive. Even if he doesn’t cry, we know that if he wanted to, he would. He puts on Ellie’s jacket and they return to their hiding place.
This was a very important episode in Ellie’s story. We saw her struggle with trying to keep Joel safe and what she had to do to make it happen. After seeing Tess (Anna Torv) and Henry (Lamar Johnson) kill themselves, she was no longer the same person. Now after she had to kill David, something inside her has definitely snapped.
Final thoughts on The Last of Us episode 8
The Last of Us series is one of the best series made by HBO. The screenwriters, directors, and entire team have put in so much love and work into the series. Other projects of this type need to watch and learn. There is one episode left in season 1 of The Last of Us. I hope we get a proper ending worth waiting for, with the perfect closure to the last eight weeks of emotion, drama, and love.
The Last of Us episodes 1 – 8 are available on HBO and HBO Max, with new episodes arriving weekly. What did you think about this episode? Let us know on Twitter or The Cosmic Circus Discord. And if you haven’t already, check out our review of episode 7 of The Last of Us!