THE LAST OF US 1×08 “WHEN WE ARE IN NEED” is the penultimate episode of the series. Though when there’s only nine episodes, I start to wonder where the divide between a full blown season and a miniseries begin. I’m not saying this to be salty but I think they could have easily been a full thirteen episodes. GAME OF THRONES has a lot to answer for and I really think they should be working to give us more content rather than less.
To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to this one as the story arc of the Hunters wasn’t one of my favorites in the video game. David was a fantastic villain in the video game but the ultimate revelation that he is a pedophile and cannibal kind of dominates the show version when the pleasant seemingly reasonable adult figure element dominates his video game counterpart.
Part of what made David work in the video game is the fact that he spends a lot of time trying to appear reasonable to Ellie and comforting when she’s not been able to communicate with Joel for months. He talks to Ellie like an adult, helps her get the medicine for Joel, and seems like he could really turn out to be another friend in the wilderness. Then, of course, we slowly have it revealed that he’s part of the group that’s been hunting Joel this entire time.
Here, David’s creepy cult is terrifying in its implications from the get go and we understand Davis is a bad person. Oddly, the cannibalism is downplayed as it’s made clear that this is a desperation choice on the part of the cultists. They don’t want to be reduced to eating their fellow humans and are hiding it from the others but starvation is a looming possibility. Still, it’s been twenty years and you have to wonder what exactly they’ve been doing to make sustainable agriculture.
On the other hand, I have to give Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal credit for their acting during this episode. From a pure action movie-post apocalypse adventure perspective, this episode works excellent. I’ve complained about the downplaying of the action and stealth elements of The Last of Us series but this episode is full of memorable scenes straight out of the game. Ellie’s final confrontation with David in the burning restaurant is especially well realized.
One of the things I do love about the game adaptation, though, is that Joel is show to be a guy who is pretty dented and beaten up by his years of violence. Like a professional football player, all the hits he’s taken over the years have added up. In the game, you can duct tape yourself up to full fighting order but this Joel is on his last years as a warrior even with how badass he is. It makes his thoughts of retirement more believable.
In conclusion, this is a good episode and excellent as an adaptation of the events toward the end of the game. However, I also think they should have made it a two parter with David having a whole episode of being helpful as well as beyond suspicion. The “post apocalypse religious community of freaks and murderers” is also a badly overused trope.