The Last of Us S1E8 “When We Are In Need”

We unfortunately near the finale of Season 1 of The Last of Us. A season that has been marred with “anti-woke” review bombs on two episodes, “Long, Long Time” and “Left Behind“, to complete censorship of “Left Behind” in other countries. Needless to say The Last of Us has been quite the rollercoaster. I, as with most people, have been hooked from the start, and I think each episode just gets better and better. Episode 8 “When We Are In Need” brings us a part of the story I completely forgot about, and reminded me of a part of the gameplay that absolutely infuriated me (that’s just due to my ineptitude when it comes to difficult moments in games). Let’s jump right into it.


David stands before his congregation, a sign behind him saying "when we are in need, He shall provide"

We start with David (Scott Shepherd) reciting lines from Revelations 21, behind him a hand painted sign that reads, “when we are in need He will provide.” This may seem like a regular Sunday service, but it turns out this is actually a funeral for a fallen resident of Silver Lake named Alec. Alec’s daughter Hannah (Sonia Maria Chirila) is asked if she can finish David’s bible passage and she cannot remember it. David seems like a soft, and fairly stern, leader. This is cemented when James (Troy Baker) has a conversation with David after the service. David informs James they only have a week’s worth, maybe two, left of rations. “I need to know you’re with me,” David asks James. Pensively, James replies, “yeah.”

Back with the ailing Joel (Pedro Pascal), Ellie (Bella Ramsey) is checking his wound. It looks better than the last episode, only somewhat. We can see Ellie struggles to share food with Joel, only because they have little left. That’s when Ellie looks at Joel’s rifle. “I’ll be right back.” Says Ellie, as she grabs the gun and decides she needs to hunt for their survival. In the woods Ellie stumbles upon a rabbit, almost giving us that infamous rabbit meme, and then she literally stumbles, falling on her face. As Ellie looks up she sees a deer grazing, dead in her sights. Gun raised, Ellie takes her shot, nailing the deer. It winces and whines as it runs off. Ellie tracks the deer off its blood trail.

As Ellie arrives at the dead deer she sees David and James found the deer before her. Being the ultimate badass she is, Ellie holds the two men at gunpoint. David tries to reason with Ellie, saying she can come back to their compound where they have food, shelter, and warmth. The only thing Ellie wants is Joel up and around. This leads to Ellie bartering medicine for half of the deer. Realizing this is the best option for everyone, and being a Godfearing man, David obliges and tells James to go back to camp and bring back two bottles of penicillin and a syringe.

Up to this point in the episode things seem to be going a bit too well. In an apocalypse scenario it’s difficult to gauge the real intentions of people you stumble upon. David and James putting their guns on the ground when Ellie told them to was definitely a sign of participation, but there’s really something about David that feels sinister. It’s like he’s almost too nice. The setup for this episode really does a great job of building the tension for that inevitable change in pace we all know is seconds away.

David tells Ellie their camp is four miles away and that they should maybe go into the house next to them for some warmth. Ellie agrees, only after she tells David he has to drag the deer to the house. There’s a bit of small talk between Ellie and David, well at the time it seems like small talk. David talks about how he used to be a teacher and that he found God after the apocalypse. There’s a hint of evil in David’s voice when he brings up the idea of fate, and how, “everything happens for a reason.” That’s when David tells Ellie about the funeral service they had for Alec earlier in the day, a service for a man who had been killed by an older guy, who had a younger girl with him. Now do you believe David when he says “everything happens for a reason”? James has Ellie in his sights at this point, but David relents and tells James to put down the gun and give Ellie the medicine.

Thankfully David let Ellie go, but this is far from the last we’ll see of him. Back with Joel, Ellie pumps him full of penicillin, hoping this will do the trick. In the kitchen at Silver Lake we really find out how little food they have: five cans of tomatoes and not much else, although someone else brings in a tub of mystery meat for them to bake into their stew. Later that night at dinner, David and James drag in the deer, but aren’t really met with a warm welcome. Trying to get the townspeople on his side David tells them they found the people who killed Alec.

Ellie lays with Joel after she gives him a shot of penicillin

David says they will go tomorrow to find the man, Joel, and bring him to justice. Hey, I thought the town was called Silver Lake! Haha. This is when we see the true side of David. Hannah says, “you should kill him.” In a complete emotional 180, David slaps Hannah right in the face, and basically tells her, “I’m your daddy now.”

Ellie gives Joel some more medication, and then gives their garage horse some water. That’s when Ellie sees a flock of birds flutter away quickly, and she realizes something is off. Skulking around a house, Ellie finds a group of people from Silver Lake swarming the town with guns in tow. David tells the group of guys they need to leave Ellie alive to bring her back to town. Ellie runs back to Joel and tries waking him up, she gives him a knife and says she is going to lead the people out of town and if anyone besides her comes downstairs he needs to kill them. Ellie mounts the horse and speeds down the street, firing shots at the group. James ends up shooting the horse, holding Ellie at gunpoint he almost blows her head off, until he’s stopped by David. In a one-set-of-footsteps scenario David caries Ellie back to Silver Lake, while the rest of the group hunts door by door for Joel.

In a hazy fog, Joel hears footsteps above him. Soon after, he hears the bureau Ellie put in front of the basement door slide away. The man slowly makes his way down the stairs, only to be blindsided by a knife to the neck from Joel. Life slowly bleats out of the man’s body as Joel presses the knife harder and deeper into his neck. Cut to Ellie waking up in a chain-link cell, with David watching over her. Back with Joel, we see he has two men held captive, one man duct taped to a chair, the other bound and on the ground. Joel asks the man in the chair, Timothy (Benjamin Rogers), where Ellie is being held. Before the man can answer Joel shoves his knife directly in his kneecap, telling him he’ll pop his kneecap off if he doesn’t tell him the truth. Joel sticks the knife in Timothy’s mouth and makes him point out where Ellie is. After the man points out Silver Lake, Joel stabs him in the stomach. Immediately after, the other man gets hit over the head with a lead pipe.

In Ellie’s cell she scans the room and finds something troubling. David walks in and brings her a plate of food when he notices what Ellie is staring at. There’s a dismembered ear on the ground. This is when David confides in Ellie saying that yes, they are actually eating humans. He also tells Ellie that they’re both violent at heart, and that they would make a good team together. David even goes on to compare themselves to cordyceps, that they’re both one and the same and they both resort to violence in a way to secure their future.

David tells Ellie he sees her as an equal, as a friend. Hoping to get Ellie on his side, David makes promises about how they can run this place at full efficiency. David puts his hands on the bars of the cell, and Ellie plays along. She puts her hand on top of his, and near immediately snaps his fingers backward. David does an ungodly thing and calls her the C word. David tells Ellie he is going to get the rest of the town and tell them what she did, and she will regret it. As David walks out Ellie finally tells him her name saying, “tell them Ellie’s the girl that broke your fucking fingers.”

Joel finally makes it to Silver Lake and immediately finds his horse dead, and some of Ellie’s things. Dad mode activate. In the same room as the corpse of his horse Joel finds three headless bodies hung upside down. David and James go back to Ellie’s cell, they drag her out and throw her down on a table. In the ensuing fight, Ellie is able to get a bite off on David’s hand. As they raise the machete to kill Ellie, Ellie drops the news that she is infected. David doesn’t believe her, James does. “Everything happens for a reason,” Ellie says smugly as she grabs the machete and shanks James right in his neck. Now we get to the part in the game that took me way too long to admit.

David stands in the dining hall silhouetted, as the dining hall burns behind him

We finally get the scene where Ellie has to sneak around the restaurant—here, a dining hall—as David stalks around taunting her. Ellie grabs a stick with burning embers on it and throws it at David. It misses David, but catches the wall on fire. David continues to monologue as he continues walking around taunting Ellie, which just pisses her off even more. Ellie finally gets the drop on David and stabs him in the side and eventually getting the machete out of his hands. In one of the most unhinged moments of Ellie we’ve seen so far, she smashes David with the machete at least 15 times.

Ellie makes it out of the dining hall, smoke billowing behind her. A pair of arms surprise Ellie from behind in a hugging manner. It’s Joel. Ellie is finally safe, though she was doing just well on her own. In the sweetest moment of the show Joel calls Ellie, “baby girl,” and tells her everything is okay. Joel wraps his coat around Ellie and they make their way out of this hellhole town.

Final thoughts

What a powerful episode. This episode really took so many turns. We get all the information we need about the townsfolk of Silver Lake, and it doesn’t beat us over the head with it. We don’t spend too much time getting to know these people, but we get enough to make us invested in the idea of Silver Lake. Ellie continues being a straight-up badass and adds a few more bodies to her kill list, turning her into the Ellie we all have come to know.

The relationship between Joel and Ellie in the game is sweet, but being able to see it on the screen is truly something astounding. It’s infuriating to see all these review bombs just because a storyline has something a group of people don’t agree with. These stories were told way before the idea of “woke” was even a thing. The Last of Us is a groundbreaking video game adaption that we have never seen anything like before. I don’t know why or how it took so long to get an adaptation like this, but I’m not going to complain that we finally got one.


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Written by Brendan Jesus

I am an award-winning horror screenwriter, rotting away in New Jersey.

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