For its first half, “When We Are in Need” is one of the more subdued episodes of The Last of Us’s first season. We’ve not left Colorado yet, and Ellie is still there, tending to Joel’s wounds from a previous episode. After multiple episodes this season in which the infected only made brief appearances, this episode features zero such characters.
Most of the early conflict consists of characters hanging around in the dreary weather and lamenting their hunger and other hardships. Particularly notable is Ellie’s extended talk with David (Scott Shepherd), a former math teacher who claims to have found God only after the apocalypse — “which is either the best time or the worst time to find him,” he confesses.
Given the dire circumstances in which he and his flock find themselves, he comes across as a Mr. Rogers type, but one with less warmth than usual. But, Ellie immediately suspects him and his companion James(*). Is this guy really the kind priest he makes himself out to be, or is this just “a weird cult thing,” as Ellie puts it?
It’s possible that David was who he claimed to be in this episode, which tells the narrative of what good people must do when they’re strapped for cash or learns about the family left behind by the man whose neck Joel snapped at college.
Yet, the recurring idea that “The real monsters are the human survivors” is missing this season and it’s about time for one. Hence, David proves to be even more repulsive than Ellie’s darkest fears. He’s more than simply a cult leader who calls himself the dead man’s daughter’s “real father” after she stands up to him.
What Happened in the Second Part of the 8th Episode?
In the second part of the episode, our heroes are involved in a series of violent episodes that begin with the slow reveal of all the sins David has gleefully done in the name of God. To learn what has happened to his surrogate daughter, Joel recovers enough to torture and/or kill numerous of David’s would-be troops.
Seeing how far he will go, especially when he murders people after they have told him what he wants to know and are otherwise no longer a threat, is more than a little unsettling. He is (to quote Ned Flanders) more animal than man, and while we of course want him and Ellie to get out of this situation safely, it is more than a little unsettling to see how far he will go.
Ellie, meantime, uses her Cordyceps immunity as a weapon in her struggle to escape David’s captivity. David believes he has contracted the disease and tries to kill Ellie. He knows it’s a trap because Ellie has been around him for so long without revealing her true nature, but she uses the distraction to knife James in the neck with a cleaver and get away.
We have covered more related to The Last of Us which you can also read:
- The Last of Us Episode 8 Recap: What Happened with Ellie?
- Is The Last of Us Season 2 Release Date Confirmed?
After Ellie sets fire to a steakhouse, the episode takes the concept of putting her through hell to a more real level as David attacks her on the floor of the building. For dramatic purposes, HBO has a long and too frequent history of utilizing rape.
Nonetheless, it is effective in this context because she violently murders David in the midst of it, repeatedly cutting at him with the cleaver as the flames behind her speak for her wrath as much as the primal cries she lets out with each attack. Bella Ramsey is outstanding in this role.
#TheLastOfUs introduces the cannibal cult leader from hell https://t.co/PJYcRaDPCp
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) March 6, 2023
When our main characters do finally reunite, it’s not the happy ending anyone was hoping for. Both Joel and Ellie are still recovering from the shock of what David did to them; Joel is still physically weak, and Ellie is in a comatose state. They are in a terrible spot with only one episode remaining in a season that has been really powerful but, at times like tonight, incredibly scary.
Here at venturejolt.com, we’ve reviewed tons of great episodes and films that you should check out. Leave a comment if there’s a certain show or film about which you’d like to learn more.