We've finally made it to an episode of HBO's The Last of Us (on Crave in Canada) that doesn't leave us in complete despair, but there's still room for a lot of tears in Episode 8 of the show.
The cliffhanger at the end of Episode 7 left us with questions about whether Joel (Pedro Pascal) is going to recover from being stabbed, or if Ellie (Bella Ramsey) will have to continue on this journey alone, if that's even possible.
Picking up where we left off, the newest episode of the series introduces a new threat to Ellie, making Joel's survival even more critical.
Interestingly, this also marks the introduction of Troy Baker's character to the story, who voiced Joel in The Last of Us video games.
Here's everything you need to know from Episode 8 of HBO's The Last of Us (spoilers ahead):
The episode begins by introducing us to a cult-like leader and preacher to a community of survivors named David (Scott Shepherd), who addresses his group of followers from an old steakhouse.
A man from the group, the father of a young girl, has just died but as David preaches, the message is that God will "wipe away all tears from their eyes" and "when we are in need he shall provide."
In the cold winter, this group has limited access to resources, with a rapidly dwindling food supply, which concerns David and a hunter from the group, James (Troy Baker).
Getting back to Ellie and Joel, he's still alive but is barely moving. Ellie places drops of water on his lips and leaves a small bit of food on his chest, while trying to keep his body warm under a blanket.
Ellie goes out, telling Joel she'll be right back. Walking the woods nearby the abandoned home she as been staying with Joel, Ellie manages to shoot a deer, but it's still able to run away with its injury.
David and James, who are also trying to hunt for food, find the deer Ellie shot after it eventually dies in the snow-covered woods.
"Don’t. Drop your rifles. Now." Ellie says as she catches up to them.
David wants to negotiate for part of the deer and Ellie agrees to split it in half if James leaves and comes back with some penicillin and a syringe. James goes to get the medicine while David and Ellie make a fire to wait for his return.
As Ellie learns that David is the leader of this group she says, "is this some weird cult thing?" David says he's a preacher but it's "pretty standard bible stuff."
“The whole world ended and you still believe that shit?” Ellie says in response.
David explains that he used to be a math teacher before the apocalypse happened, but the massive event sparked his belief in God. He recalls that after the Pittsburgh QZ fell, he left with a few others, which was the beginning of his "flock." As raiders would eventually invade each stop, the flock kept moving and picking up people as they travelled.
But there's something sinister about David that's first evident when he says he's a staunch believer that "everything happens for a reason."
David recalls sending four members of his group out to scavenge for food and resources, but only three came back. One man, a father to a young girl, had been murdered by a "crazy man" who was travelling with a "little girl." This man was killed by Joel when they were at the university. That's when we realize that James is standing behind Ellie, pointing a gun at her.
But David lets Ellie go, after telling her she can join his flock. When David and James return to their group, David says his plan is to have hunters trace her tracks, and capture Ellie.
Ellie is a 'dangerous person'
Ellie makes it back to Joel and injects the penicillin into his wound but eventually, David and the hunters from this flock find her. Shots are fired as Ellie tries to attack them on horseback, and her body flings to the snowy ground. The men are about to shoot her when David catches up to them, insistent that she come back to their community alive. In the meantime, the men are instructed to knock on ever door to find, and kill, Joel.
"You’re so hungry for vengeance, deliver it,” David tells his men.
Ellie ends up caged in David's community. He says he put her there because she's a "dangerous person." David tells Ellie that she can't survive on her own and she has to "face reality" that with Joel's wound, that part of her life is ending, and she could have a new beginning.
Back with Joel, he hears someone enter the home and he's able to get up and stab the man as he comes down the stairs. Joel, eventually leaving the home, and captures a second man, torturing them into saying where Ellie was taken. They say she not in a real town, but an area that they call a "resort." Joel eventually kills them both before heading out to find Ellie.
This is where the story gets particularly dark. Time has passed and David brings Ellie a bowl of stew to eat. As he slides it over, Ellie sees a human ear nearby.
"You're gong to chop me up into little pieces," Ellie says. "You’re eating people you sick f-ck.”
"Yes. There's only a few of us that know. But I would have told you," David says in response. "It was a last resort. You think it doesn't shame me? But what was I supposed to do, let them starve?"
David goes on to say that he wants to keep Ellie alive because she reminds him of himself.
"You’re a natural leader, you're smart, loyal, violent," he says. "You have a violent heart and I should know, I’ve always had a violent heart and I struggled with it for a long time."
David goes on to say that when the world ended, he was shown the truth by Cordyceps, which multiplies and secures its future with violence, if necessary.
"They need God, they need heaven, they need a father. You don't," he says, speaking about the people in his community. "You're beyond that. All I want is an equal. A friend."
Ellie doesn't buy anything he says and she breaks his finger, which means David returns with James to cut up Ellie. To stop them, she says she's infected, and now he is, exposing the bite mark on David's hand. David and James look at the bite mark on her forearm, but David is skeptical because she should have turned into a Clicker by this point in time.
It's enough of a distraction for Ellie to get away, and she ends up setting fire to the building in David's community. Ellie is cunning enough to hide from David until she has an opportunity to jump out and attempts to attack him.
David then tries to rape Ellie saying, "the fighting is the part I like the most." But Ellie is able to kill David, stabbing him repeatedly.
As Ellie runs out of the burning building, Joel comes up and they hug.
“It’s OK baby girl, I got you," Joel says as the episode comes to an end.