The one with the cult
Each week, we recap the biggest moments from HBO’s The Last of Us before placing bets on the odds of our favorite characters surviving – like the sick, twisted, soulless monsters that we are.
The penultimate episode of The last of us has a bit of everything. cults. Cannibalism. Fake Religion. That thing that has Pedro Pascal muttering the words “baby girl” and making men and women go weak at the knees everywhere.
We’re not sure how this narrative diversion adds to the overall season other than proving that humans are far more dangerous than mushrooms – what, duh – and that Bella Ramsey deserves some sort of credit for the things she does on this show, specifically in this episode. But we don’t complain, not when we see bad men die and ugly designed resort lodges burn.
You are in a cult. Call your father.
We explored many facets of human behavior in the first season of this series, from romantic love to familial love, the driving nature of revenge, the duplicity of men, and the natural survival instincts some are born with… and without. So it was really only a matter of time before the appeal of cults, with their methods of psychological torture and their complex social hierarchies, was unleashed The last of us in a stranglehold. And it kind of makes sense that a cult modeled after Christianity’s sharecroppers would survive the fungal outbreak only to set up camp in a frozen tundra where no food can grow and no animals roam. After all, suffering is the highest form of worship.
However, when the show begins with a mysterious leader, who we later learned goes by the name of David, spewing out passages from the Book of Revelations, we have a feeling that this isn’t the post-apocalyptic promised land promised to those disciples. Starving, freezing, mourning the loss of a recently murdered villager, they desperately plan how to survive with just a few weeks left on their rations.
That’s not what Drake was talking about when he sang “God’s Plan”.
Well, we’ve seen enough survival movies to know that the meat they’re living off isn’t actually “venison,” but we’re putting the potential for cannibalism on the back burner because David and his men are from a game drive are affected on the hunt. Around this time, running out of food and ideas on how to cure Joel, Ellie goes in search of her own game. She’s been hand-feeding her partner beef jerky for the past few days, and while that’s a fantasy for many Pedro Pascal groupies online, we never wanted to see it in that context.
Ellie is a true survivor, not a middle-aged man pretending to be one, which is why she shoots down the deer that David and his group trip over. They are ready to snag it herself until she holds them at gunpoint and finally agrees to a drug deal for half the animal’s skin. While one of David’s henchmen makes the long journey back to town, the two sit around the fire and trade stories to while the time away. David has a great “youth pastor energy” from an early age and admits he used to be a teacher before receiving a higher calling when the world was collapsing. Since everyone’s brains were infected with fungi, we assume he’s not actually ordained, just self-taught and very righteous.
Ellie feigns interest because what else is she supposed to do? She needs medicine for Joel and a way to get out of this strange interaction without being followed home. If you are a woman who has ever been on a blind date, you can probably relate to this.
Eventually, David’s pal reappears, but not before David reveals that it was Joel who killed his man – the one everyone wept for before – and it was “God’s plan” for him to find Ellie.
Why are Christians like this?
Is that a white lotus?
David and his party return with all the deer in tow (what, greedy lot?) and instead of a warm welcome and a hot meal, he must quell his herd’s fears. It turns out that everyone now knows about Ellie and he promises them that he will seek justice by tracking down and killing Joel. When the girl whose father was killed challenges him, he throws back at her and then comforts her in quick succession, proving he’s got the handle on this whole emotional manipulation thing. As if that wasn’t enough, David’s dinner portion is obnoxiously larger than everyone else’s.
Ellie runs back to give Joel the penicillin she traded in, but the city doctor didn’t give any instructions on how to administer it, so we tear our hair out and yell, “It doesn’t work that way” while she fills it up injects syringe directly into Joel’s abdominal wound. Unfortunately, we can’t spend enough time with the pair to see if their unique method of antibiotic administration is working because the group has found their hiding spot and Ellie has to lead them away from a still bedridden Joel. She mounts her horse and taunts a handful of grown men with guns, but not before leaving Joel with a hunting knife and a stern warning to stay awake because the shit is going down and now isn’t the time to catch up on beauty sleep.
Unfortunately, Ellie and her horse get overrun and taken hostage by the cult before Joel can wake his ass up and do his damn job. (He miraculously recovers enough to interrogate and slaughter a few gunmen, and eventually tortures one long enough to learn the group is staying at a resort not on the map.)
While planning a rescue mission, Ellie wakes up in a concrete cell and learns for the first time what the term “child bride” means. David’s interest in Ellie at the beginning of the episode felt a bit unnerving, but when he locks her up with a concussion and a cage, we discover his true intentions.
Why are men like this?
The sheep and the shepherd
So here’s the truth: David is not a godly man, he’s a guy with violent tendencies who saw an opportunity when he was surrounded by a group of scared, lost people. The sociopath that he is, he feigned piety to earn her subservience and love, and now he’s bored. How really bored. Because sure, being worshiped like a god is fun for a while, but eventually you want someone to verbally compete with, someone to challenge you, someone to make life interesting again.
He believes that Ellie is that someone, and while he never says it outright, he hints at hope that she will be his equal in every way, his partner, someone to build a life with. what, um
But these weird romantic declarations, in which David claims they both have violent hearts and she reminds him of himself, a person who needs more than one father (literally or spiritually, we suspect), fall on everyone’s deaf ears because Ellie catches a glimpse of one on the floor of the kill room. It turns out that David chopped up his own herd to feed him, and while he claims to be ashamed of the fact, he’s quick to threaten Ellie with the same fate should she turn down his offer. She does it anyway, breaking his hand and being totally badass before fending off her own execution by showing her bite mark.
She tries to escape but is trapped in a cabin she accidentally set on fire with a psychotic pedophile who tricks her into making him her new father. It is very The glow remembered, except that Ellie is the one who ends up with the meat cleaver and puts it to good use by hacking into David’s skull over and over again after he attempts to sexually assault her.
The episode ends with Ellie escaping the burning building and being comforted by Joel, who arrives just in time to witness her breakdown and hug her while calling her “Baby Girl” and telling her everything will be fine now.
It’s not, but we won’t complain if Pedro Pascal says so.
chances of survival
Ellie (1 to 10 odds)
Again, these numbers tell us absolutely nothing, but we’ve been told that we’ve been getting the odds percentage wrong all along. So, to make it seem like we care about things like math and statistical probability, let’s toggle it. The bottom line is: Ellie doesn’t need anyone but herself to survive this hellscape. Sure, having Joel around is nice and comforting, but she’s grown from a smuggled child into a young woman capable of burning down a cult and cutting through a few fanatical cannibals on her way out. Ellie is now a mother.
Joel (7 to 1 odds)
We know Joel woke up and started cutting open his kneecaps, but let’s be honest, we’re not sure how much penicillin it takes to cure a stomach infection. And that’s when it was properly administered, which we all know it wasn’t. Maybe he has a robust immune system, or maybe he just walks on adrenaline fumes. We will see.
https://uproxx.com/tv/the-last-of-us-episode-8-recap/ The one with the cult