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


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One other week, one other devastating episode of The Final of Us.

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

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 Final of Us but. So disturbing, in actual fact, that I needed to pause the episode a number of occasions to scream at my display or to course of my gut-wrenching dread.

Right here, in chronological order, is each time The Final of Us episode 8 chilled me to my core and made me violently confused.

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

Crimson flag primary occurs proper in the beginning 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 line with David, they can not bury him till the spring, because the winter has made the bottom too arduous for digging.

Nevertheless, as somebody who’s conversant in 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.

After we see Joel’s contaminated wound.

A teenage girl leans over a sick, sleeping man with a cup of water.

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

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 positively going to be feeling further nauseous. That nausea is compounded by nervousness for Ellie, who has to discover a option to heal her touring companion and preserve them each alive throughout a brutal winter. Oh, and there is the opposite downside of the close by group of very hungry survivors who may not take too kindly to discovering a brand new mouth to feed on their turf.


How ‘The Final of Us’ episode 8 makes use of a map to disclose one thing key about Joel’s character

When David and James discover the deer Ellie shot.

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 notice: Go, Ellie!) Regardless of Ellie’s placing on a courageous face and threatening David and “buddy-boy over there,” we’re conscious about the hazard she’s in.

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

Nothing good can ever come of a creepy man telling you, “I imagine every thing occurs for a purpose.” So when David says that to Ellie, the alarm bells which were softly ringing all through the episode immediately go into overdrive. The dread builds and builds as David recounts Alec’s demise from his neighborhood’s perspective, referring to his killer — whom we come to understand was Joel — as a “loopy man.” The opposite shoe drops with a convincing thud when David mentions that Alec’s killer was touring with just a little lady. It is official: He is recognized who Ellie is that this entire time, and I’m sick to my abdomen. Run, Ellie! Run!

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

After the tense David-James-Ellie stand-off — which fortunately led to Ellie getting the medication she wants to save lots of Joel — we return to Silver Lake for extra implied cannibalism. One in all David’s males brings a prepare dinner some very fresh-looking meat, and many it, too! When requested what it’s, he takes a number of beats too lengthy earlier than answering, “Venison.” Positive, 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 Final of Us.”
Credit score: Liane Hentscher/HBO

Should you have been nonetheless holding out hope that the thriller meat — sorry, “venison” — was, in actual fact, meat from Ellie’s deer, this second sends that complete 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 these days?

When David hits Hannah.

The Final of Us has already given us loads of purpose 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 would possibly anticipate the daddy to be God, however based mostly on that final line, it looks as if David is absolutely solely speaking about himself. The manipulative cult chief vibes are in full impact.

When everybody eats the meat that positively is not venison.

Now that The Final of Us has revealed David’s actually abusive colours, it will possibly minimize us a little bit of slack, proper? Unsuitable! That thriller meat hasn’t gone anyplace. Quickly, Silver Lake’s inhabitants are shoveling what they presumably suppose 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.


Cannibalism is consuming popular culture. What does all of it imply?

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

This whole sequence is a coronary heart assault ready to occur. Between Ellie attempting to steer all these males — who’re, by the way in which, carrying weapons — away from Joel to a still-recovering Joel realizing he must combat, the percentages have by no means been extra in opposition to 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 the direction of Silver Lake. Get a job! Avoid her!

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

Being trapped in a cage is scary 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 is perhaps 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 shield her — however we have seen how he treats younger girls in his care, and nobody deserves that.

When Ellie sees the severed human ear.

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 everyone in Silver Lake is aware of! Feeding folks their family and friends with out their data is about as monstrous as you may 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 Final of Us.”
Credit score: Liane Hentscher/HBO

The very last thing you wish to hear from a cannibal protecting 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 facet, in addition to a risk of what he is able to.

“You may have 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 particular person Ellie has encountered thus far. By this level within the episode, my coronary heart is already in my abdomen, however would you imagine that it will get worse?

When David talks about Cordyceps.

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

“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 complete speech is tinged with scary fanaticism, however what’s scarier is that there is some reality in it. David’s give attention to the “love” of Cordyceps calls again to the fungal kiss we noticed between Tess and one of many contaminated in episode 2.

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

When David places his hand on Ellie’s cage.

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

“Consider what we may do collectively, as robust as we’re. We might make this place excellent,” 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 the crucial sickening components of an already sickening episode.

When David adjustments his tune.

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 might 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 ability right here.

“How did you set it?” he says. “Tiny little items?”

When Joel sees the hanging our bodies.

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. Actually, the David and Ellie change is so distressing that I nearly forgot concerning the cannibalism, however this ugly 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 Final of Us.”
Credit score: Liane Hentscher/HBO

The sequence the place David and James throw Ellie on the butcher’s block is the closest she has come to demise this whole episode, and that is saying one thing. Ellie’s fast eager about 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.

Should you someway nonetheless wanted extra proof that David is straight-up evil, look to the whole thing 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.

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 preserve you, and I am gonna educate 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 carried out to different younger girls he is advised to consider him as a father?

When David and Elli face off for the final time.

The Final of Us largely avoids the specter of sexual violence in the direction of Ellie, however that adjustments on this episode and particularly within the last moments of Ellie’s combat with David. He pins her down as hearth rages round him and tells her, “I assumed 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 isn’t any worry in love.”

The Final 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 hearth, positions him as an unequivocal monster, and it is a aid when Ellie repeatedly takes a cleaver to him moments later.

When Ellie screams when Joel touches her.

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 totally 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 she or he 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 expensive life. Coupled with Joel’s comfortable “It is okay, child lady,” this determined hug is likely one of the most heartbreaking moments The Final 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 results of this expertise will linger on effectively into the long run.

The Final 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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