Title: The Last of Us S1.E08 “When We Are in Need”
Released: 2023
Series:  The Last of Us

Previously: Ellie stays with Joel and tends to his gnarly wound, while recalling the night she snuck out of FEDRA housing with her best friend and newbie Firefly Riley to go to an abandoned mall, where they would share a kiss… and get matching cordyceps infections.

Last week, Stephanie asked which mall store I would miss the most post-apocalypse. Someplace that mainly sells food would be an easy and boring answer, so I’ll go with a variety store like Oomomo or Daiso. (For those unfamiliar, they sell a little bit of everything, but it’s all practical and cute. They’re basically a slightly fancier and more Asian dollar store.)

From Colorado to Cannibals

Running low on food as Joel (Pedro Pascal) slowly recovers, Ellie (Bella Ramsey) goes hunting and sneaks up on two men. In exchange for half of the deer she killed, Ellie sends James (Troy Baker) to fetch medicine while she waits with David (Scott Shepherd).

Turns out that David’s the leader of a culty religious settlement in the former resort of Silver Lake. They, too, have a food shortage, so David sent a group of scavengers to a nearby town… only for one of them to get killed by some dude travelling with a girl, OH SHIT. However, when James returns, David lets Ellie have the penicillin and lets her go.

As Ellie tries to save Joel from sepsis, David comes back with a search party. To lure them away from a barely conscious Joel, Ellie lets herself get captured, which is when David reveals himself to be (1) a fucking predator of the highest order, who’s also (2) feeding his own people with his own people.

A bloody and fiery confrontation ensues, with David psychologically terrorizing Ellie and Ellie killing David. Traumatized Ellie is found by JOEL!, who rallied from a gaping open wound to fight and kill his way back to her.

Best Joel/Ellie Moment

Ellie lying down next to Joel was an early favourite, but then Joel hit us all with a BABY GIRL. (The shot of him hugging her with Sarah’s watch visible, SOB.)

Survivor of the Week

Poor baby girl Ellie has been through SO MUCH. And Bella Ramsey is SO DAMN GOOD at portraying sheer terror.

I also love how well Ellie held her own alone. Truly Joel’s chosen offspring!

Pour One Out For…

I mean, a lot of people died, but FUCK ‘EM. A chilling and sinister performance by Scott Shepherd as David, which I hope doesn’t get overshadowed by some of the bigger names who have appeared on the show. The best “humans are the real monsters” storyline yet. (And another non-pour for James played by Troy Baker, aka Joel from the games!)

Best Time To Cover Your Eyes

On a show with lots of contenders, the close-ups of Joel’s festering wound is still among some of the grossest. And, of course, Murder Daddy Joel can be fucking terrifying.

We Must Adapt To Survive

Here’s Stephanie with her adaptation thoughts!

• Eight episodes in and I should probably stop being so amazed at these sets, but Todd’s Restaurant and the snowy resort area were excellent recreations. Even the way the light was filtering in to the restaurant at the start reminded me of what it looked like in gameplay as Ellie’s sneaking around the town crawling through empty stores trying to evade the group after escaping (they definitely cut a lot of gameplay bits out, but all the important story beats were there).

• While I have been fine with the lack of infected and those tense fight scenes in the show, I did kind of selfishly wish the episode was longer so we could see when a horde of infected came after David and Ellie after they meet over the deer, and they had to work together to survive. There was some great moments in there, and it made you trust David that much more before they pulled the rug out from under you.

• Bella, once again, killed it both literally and figuratively in this episode. From Ellie’s line about breaking David’s fingers to throwing that cleaver into Buddy Boy to her clinging to Joel at the end, Bella took those shot-for-shot moments and still made them her own. To say nothing of that very, very long moment of her bashing David’s head in repeatedly. She will be such a force in season two.

• How did they manage to make David even creepier than the game?? Kudos to that actor; I, too, wanted to smash in that smarmy smile. His group isn’t a religious cult in the game, and I don’t recall him being quite so explicitly pedo-creep, but they nailed his unsettling persona. Sneaking around that restaurant as it slowly becomes engulfed in flames almost broke me the first time I played it. I remember frantically checking the game settings hoping there was an easier mode than easy because he was so damn fast(!!!), and once he catches Ellie, it’s like instant death. The RELIEF I felt when Ellie and I finally ended him so I knew I could move on from that section…

• I’m glad they didn’t change Joel’s little vignette with the hunters and the map. I’ve seen some gamers who wish that more of the violent parts of the game were included in the show—well, you must be happy now! “I believe him.” Aaand that’s a pipe to the head.

Graffiti On The Wall

  • I KNEW THERE WOULD BE CANNIBALS. Along with not being able to bury him right away, the lingering shots of the “venison” and the voracious way that everyone was eating all but screamed DAD MEAT.

  • It’s a little convenient that David spared precious medicine to save Joel, like BRO, you can’t even keep your people alive without feeding themselves back to them. But I suppose he thought it was a worthy sacrifice to endear himself to Ellie, BARFFFFFF.

  • I can understand why the show’s creators are hesitant to call this a zombie show, with how little zombies there actually are. But the worldbuilding is so good that a little goes a long way, like when Ellie’s hunting and OH SHIT there’s clicking but lol false alarm, it’s a deer. (But not like a Train to Busan deer; just a deer deer.)

  • There’ll probably be no closure, but I’d be curious to see the aftermath for the Silver Lake residents. Predator Preacher and all our hunters are dead, the main building has been torched, and HEY did anyone know about the corpses in the canoe cabin?!?!?!

  • Stephanie, what would be in your post-apocalyptic care package for Ellie?

What did y’all think of this episode? Has your heart rate returned to normal yet? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.