Changes to the narrative and characters in episode 8 of The Last of Us actually improved the story.
Season 1 of The Last of Us made some changes from the game to the show. This writer is on record saying that the altered scenes have been an improvement. As great as it would be to have everything be exactly like the source material, that wouldn’t work. Some things won’t transfer well over from the video game to the HBO program.
Now we come to episode 8. Fans of the game must have been anticipating this episode since the show was announced. How was the creative team going to use David and his community of cannibals and make it work in the show? Some of the scenes in the video game are too graphic. Even for a show involving infected people eating humans.
Here is the good and the bad of what was adjusted for the HBO adaptation.
The Last of Us: Cannibals
The biggest parts of this story was David and his community being cannibals. In the video game, Ellie discovered what they were up to when she saw a body get chopped up on a table. That was one of the scenes modified for the series. The Last of Us has remained violent, but not overly gruesome. That may have been too much.
How Ellie figured out that David was serving his cult people was a nice change. The severed ear wasn’t a dead giveaway. She still had to piece things together from the few clues in the room. Also, this took away from the unnecessary brutality. Viewers don’t need to see a chopped up body to understand that people are being eaten. Sometimes subtly works just as well as being blatantly obvious.
David is more unhinged in the show
If you played The Last of Us video game, you wouldn’t think it was possible to make David more deplorable. Well, it happened. The creative team took away David’s savagery in the beginning and gave him something scarier. They made him a manipulator. In the game, he was in charge as well. However, in the show, David admits that the group he’s in charge of is like a cult. He calls himself their father and uses people’s faith in a Christian God to control them. Honestly, he’s more dangerous this way.
It’s one thing to fight and be physically ruthless. But being a person who controls the minds of others is one of the most terrifying things in the world. It can have a longer lasting effect on people. What’s worse is David believes his own nonsense. He said that cordyceps showed him the way. That it’s fruitful, multiplies, and, “secures its future with violence if necessary.” This is another example of how the apocalypse can change people. Although, David admitted that he’s always been a violent person, he was chilling when he was calm as well. Scott Shepherd deserves to be acknowledged for the fantastic job he did playing this character.
Ellie and Joel
Ellie and Joel’s roles in this episode didn’t change much. The altercations between Ellie and David kept the moments that mattered. For example, Ellie brutally killing David had to happen. It’s a moment that carries into the rest of her story. Ellie’s killed people before, but never so emotionally. Joel coming to her aid after killing David was important as well. This was the moment where it was clear how much he loved Ellie like a daughter. All he wanted to do was take her away from the madness she just experienced.
Joel interrogating the two guys from David’s cult was also adapted perfectly. Lines and actions from The Last of Us game were used exactly like they were supposed. Viewers also saw the lengths that Joel would go to protect Ellie. Pedro Pascal really showed his range in these scenes.
Everything that happened between Joel and Ellie is going to come into play in the season finale. Get ready for that and for a possibly divisive episode.
Stay tuned to Bam Smack Pow for more news on The Last of Us including the season finale and the future of the show.
Did you like the improvements to the recent episode of The Last of Us on HBO? Let us know in the comments below.