Within the eighth episode of The final of us, “When We’re in Want,” Ellie faces her largest problem since leaving Boston quarantine with Joel and Tess. After Joel was badly injured on the finish of the sixth installment, Ellie all of the sudden discovered herself on their lonesome. She may have left Joel behind and returned to Jackson, however she selected the tougher path and selected to stick with him within the hope that he would get better. For months, Ellie had been below Joel’s safety, even when he faltered at instances. Now, as Joel is pressured to relaxation in an deserted home, their roles have been reversed – with Ellie changing into Joel’s protector and supplier.
All through this season, we have seen how a lot every character’s previous experiences form who they grow to be and the choices they make, even – or maybe particularly – in troublesome conditions. The lack of Joel’s daughter, which for a time turned him right into a shell of his former self, has overshadowed his relationship with Ellie and elevated its significance to him as they’ve grown nearer. In Ellie’s case, final week’s departure from the current timeline to her previous confirmed how her greatest pal, Riley, taught her to battle to the bitter finish to your personal survival and the lives of these you’re keen on. Riley’s dying solely bolstered Ellie’s concern of shedding another person, main her to stick with Joel and jeopardizing her better objective of serving to the fireflies develop a remedy for the Cordyceps an infection.
Whereas Ellie is out looking a deer early on this week’s episode, she runs right into a pair of strangers: David (Scott Shepherd) and James (Troy Baker, who performed Joel in The final of us Online game). The couple are a part of a gaggle staying at a close-by resort, they usually have been additionally looking after they stumbled upon the deer Ellie had simply shot. David is the chief of the group, and after a short argument with Ellie, he makes a cope with her: In trade for half of Ellie’s deer, James will return to their camp and return with two vials of penicillin. For Ellie, it looks like a miraculous alternative to assist save Joel. However – as she quickly finds out – there’s extra to those strangers than meets the attention.
By means of David’s group at Silver Lake, we see how one other neighborhood has managed to outlive within the years because the Cordyceps outbreak. As of the season premiere, The final of us has depicted how completely different teams of individuals from throughout the nation have tailored to this new damaged world. In Boston, FEDRA represented the final vestiges of pre-outbreak American authorities and led through violence, strict rules, and by creating grunt work for civilians who acquired ration playing cards in cost. In Kansas Metropolis, Kathleen and her resistance group violently overthrew FEDRA and subsequently survived by preying on unsuspecting vacationers like Joel and Ellie. In Jackson, the neighborhood thrived by isolating itself and residing as a commune, the place energy and assets are shared equally and selections are made by an elected council. However even there, the inhabitants gained a infamous popularity for abandoning our bodies of each the contaminated and the residing within the means of defending their very own.
As for the inhabitants of Silver Lake, we discover the group i bearish type. Not solely are they ravenous members of a “starvation membership,” as Ellie refers to them, however they reside in terrifying subservience to David. Numerous them fled the Pittsburgh quarantine zone after it fell in 2017 as a result of conflicts between the Fireflies and FEDRA, they usually gained new members after they finally discovered their option to Colorado. Now David feeds them faith to keep up hope in difficult circumstances. And in the midst of a very harsh winter, the place meals has been scarce, they’re additionally fed human stays – though solely a handful of them appear to be in on the key. (I’ve to ask: What’s with all of the cannibalism content material nowadays?)
As Ellie and David anticipate James to return with the penicillin, David tells her about how his group ended up in Colorado, how he discovered God after the apocalypse, and why he believes every little thing occurs for a cause. As proof, he cites the latest homicide of a member of the group in a close-by city by a “loopy man” who was touring with a bit lady. His eerie smile makes it clear that he thinks he is discovered that little lady. As soon as Ellie has the penicillin in her hand, she escapes to security with out attempting to take her share of the deer. (After seeing this man’s creepy smile, it is laborious in charge her.)
However when David and James are again at their camp, David – after hitting a toddler with a lot drive that she flies of the chair she was sitting in — asserting that he and a number of other others would decide up Ellie’s path within the morning. It does not take lengthy for David and his helpers to trace down Ellie and Joel. Ellie does her greatest to guide them away from Joel, however she and her horse are rapidly taken down. Within the aftermath, David carries an unconscious Ellie again to camp whereas a lot of the group stays behind to seek for Joel and produce him to justice for killing one among their very own.
Whereas Ellie is being held captive again on the camp, David makes his curiosity in her very clear, as he affords her the prospect to stick with the group and lead it alongside him. It is a fairly powerful promote given the circumstances, particularly after Ellie discovers a severed ear that results in her discovery of the group’s cannibalism. In a futile try to win her over, he mentions how he discovered the reality after the world ended—not in God, however in Cordyceps. “What does Cordyceps do?” he asks Ellie. “Is it evil? No. It’s fertile, it multiplies. It feeds and protects its youngsters. And it secures its future by drive, if it should. It loves.”
In a manner, this logic feels just like the thesis of The final of us, and it is becoming that the road is delivered by the obvious villain of the collection to this point. Even the contaminated – who ravaged the fashionable world as we all know it – are usually not really evil; it is at all times a matter of perspective.
In every of the aforementioned communities we have seemed into throughout Joel and Ellie’s journey, we have seen the feelings and causes behind essentially the most determined measures folks have taken to outlive or shield what’s theirs. It is a noticeable technique that showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have used of their adaptation of the online game, as they bring about a better sense of depth and humanity to its non-playable characters and antagonistic factions by leveraging the present’s capacity to painting views outdoors of Joel and Ellie’s restricted place. Mazin and Druckmann have talked at size about this effort at HBO The final of us podcast, hosted by Troy Baker. As Mazin mentioned throughout his dialog about FEDRA in final week’s episode, “One of many issues that Neil and I talked about so much all through the event of the present was to by no means paint one facet or the opposite as pure unhealthy or pure good.”
David comes nearer to being “pure unhealthy” than simply about anybody else Joel and Ellie have met, besides he doing his greatest to guide his folks, nevertheless troubled and twisted he could also be. The choice to show to cannibalism did not come simply (or so he says), and in Ellie, David believes he is discovered an equal who will help lead the group to salvation. What actually hinders any chance of really empathizing with him – in comparison with Kathleen, one other “villain” – is the deceitful intentions that accompany his supply. David needs to be extra than simply “buddies” with teenage Ellie, and he is shameless in how little he hides it.
Whereas Ellie tries to flee, Joel is pressured into motion when David’s followers seek for him. By this level within the collection, Joel has proven his capability for violence time and time once more, and we have heard from a wide range of characters about all of the harmless lives he is taken over time. However he is additionally proven mercy at instances — even to the outdated man who tried to snitch on him, Ellie, Henry, and Sam in Kansas Metropolis on the finish of the fifth episode. Right here Joel reveals no mercy.
With Ellie gone, all of Joel’s earlier panic-inducing concern of shedding her is changed by unwavering anger as he confronts his newest failure to guard her. It doesn’t matter whether or not David’s males are members of a neighborhood, or whether or not they’re nonetheless the fathers or sons of another person someplace; all Joel is aware of is that they’ve taken or harm Ellie. And so he reacts the one manner he is aware of how: with violence. Admittedly, viewers might should droop some disbelief about how rapidly Joel regains his energy after barely having the ability to maintain his eyes open in earlier scenes — the man just about turns into Wolverine. (In fact, Joel might have been asleep when he stabbed the primary intruder within the throat, a outstanding feat that deserves additional inspection.) He kills all 4 males, regardless of his lingering accidents, and brutally tortures one among them first to seek out Ellie.
All this factors to additional violence, as Ellie faces David in an epic showdown in the midst of a burning eating corridor. As David has her pinned down, he seems to be reaching down for his belt, indicating an intent to sexually assault Ellie, regardless of the constructing burning down round them. (This looks like an pointless narrative alternative on the present’s half, particularly given the showrunners’ acknowledged coverage of not portray anybody as “purely unhealthy.”) However Ellie manages to seize the identical cleaver she used to kill James moments earlier than and kills additionally David , stabbed him repeatedly as he screamed in agony.
The scene is a fairly surprising show of over-the-top violence, with Ellie persevering with to hack into David’s physique for what looks like an eternity – a horrific act to match his personal horrific intentions. It is paying homage to the second on the finish of the collection premiere when Joel continued to crush the FEDRA agent’s head, even after he was clearly lifeless, as Ellie watched with some indeterminate mixture of horror, pleasure, and aspiration. As David instructed her earlier within the episode, she has a “violent coronary heart” and whereas that is at all times been the case, her bloodlust has solely grown as she’s traveled alongside and grow to be extra like Joel.
Within the dying of David and his followers, we see one other society collapse as a result of obsession of a pacesetter who overpassed his better duty. Simply as Kathleen doomed her resistance group in Kansas Metropolis by neglecting the looming menace of the contaminated her lieutenant warned her about in favor of discovering Henry and Sam, David’s weird obsession with Ellie—in addition to his acolytes’ thirst for revenge—has left Silver The Lake group already struggling in shambles. The price of revenge is excessive The final of us, and the collection continues to emphasise that takeaway. In a world the place contaminated hordes can rise from the bottom like swarming ants at any second, it’s nonetheless human battle and the infinite cycle of violence in pursuit of revenge that tears societies aside.
When Ellie lastly escapes the burning constructing, she is reunited with Joel. He does his greatest to consolation her, holding her and calling her “child lady” as she reels from this collection of horrific occasions, nonetheless lined in blood. The endearing phrases sound a bit unusual coming from the emotionally inarticulate Joel (particularly after David simply tried to benefit from Ellie), nevertheless it’s a seamless return of an outdated behavior; the pet identify is strictly what he used to name his personal daughter, Sarah, as we noticed within the premiere. Evidently now there’s little distinction between the bond he had with Sarah and the one he has with Ellie, and there’s nothing he would not do to forestall shedding one other daughter.
By means of eight episodes of The final of us, Joel and Ellie have come as far psychologically as they’ve geographically. Their odyssey has taken them from Boston to Colorado, and based mostly on the clues from the Fireflies on the College of Japanese Colorado, they’re set to move additional west to Salt Lake Metropolis. They’ve encountered hordes of contaminated, raiders and even some cannibals. They’ve seen buddies die and claimed the lives of many others alongside the way in which. By means of all of it, Joel and Ellie have damaged down their emotional obstacles to grow to be like mum or dad and baby to one another. However even after one other traumatic chapter for 14-year-old Ellie, the journey to seek out the Fireflies is not over: The season finale, and any additional trials it might deliver, looms subsequent week.